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Not as a Stranger

Year: 1955
Studio: United Artists
Director: Stanley Kramer
Cast:
Olivia De Havilland ... Kristina Hedvigson
Robert Mitchum ... Lucas Marsh
Frank Sinatra ... Alfred Boone
Gloria Grahame ... Harriet Lang
Broderick Crawford ... Dr. Aarons
Charles Bickford ... Dr. Runkleman
Lee Marvin ... Brundage

Plot synopsis: Ambitious doctor Lucas Marsh tries to rise about his poor beginnings, losing his scruples in the process. He marries unsuspecting Swedish nurse Kristina for her money and romances socialite Harriet instead. A tragedy (but of course!) forces him to rethink his choices in life.

Verdict: Looking back on Mitchum's output in 1955, this then-prestigious film is not the first thing that comes to mind, but rather that curious flop-turned-classic The Night of the Hunter. Still, at the time, Stranger's source novel was a best-seller and the film itself was a box office hit. But critics even then agreed that Mitchum was miscast as the driven doctor, perhaps because it's hard for this legendarily laidback fellow to play "ambition." And De Havilland's Swedish accent doesn't help distinguish the proceedings.

Behind the Scenes: Taking a glance at the roster of male actors is a pretty good clue about what this set was like. As one wag said, "That's not a cast, that's a brewery!" After Mitchum fixed up a hangover remedy for the ailing Sinatra, Ol' Blue Eyes began calling him "Mother," and even sent him a Mother's Day card for several years after. For more behind the scenes shenanigans, see The Original Bad Boy page and items on Olivia De Havilland and Gloria Grahame.

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