No Man of Her Own

In his book on Mitchell Leisen, David Chirecheti notes that this was the best of Leisen's final three films for Paramount, and that the plot “is the most ingenious Leisen ever tackled”:
“Barbara Stanwyck, pregnant and unmarried, is on a cross country train where she is befriended by another pregnant woman who is going with her husband to meet his wealthy parents, who have never met her or even seen a photograph. The two women are in the ladies' room when the train crashes, and when Stanwyck regains consciousness, she discovers herself in a hospital, having given birth and been wrongly identified as the wealthy woman. The woman and her husband are both dead, and Stanwyck decides to continue the ruse. Assuming the other woman's identity and passing her son off as the grandchild of the wealthy parents she moves into their mansion.
“No Man of Her Own was Leisen's only venture into the realm of Film Noir.... The brief moments on the train and in the hospital are the only high key scenes in the film; all of the others are black, enveloped in dense shadows....
“The narrative structure is also very much that of Film Noir. By using the flashback device, Leisen emphasized the fatalism of the story, opening the film with John Lund and Barbara Stanwyck sitting in their living room, awaiting the arrival of the police....
“Leisen had freely interpolated humor and music into the thrillers he made in the 30's, but in No Man of Her Own, the terror and despair are unrelenting. Leisen opens the flashback with the most brutal scene he ever shot. The pregnant and no longer young Stanwyck is in the hall of a shabby rooming house, hysterically pounding at the door of Lyle Bettger, who is the father of her child. After an interminable pause, Bettger shoves an envelope at her under the door. She rips it open and finds a transcontinental train ticket, and in her panic, does not notice a large stack of bills fluttering to the floor.”

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