The Bigamist

Ida LupinoUSA78 minutes195314AB&WEnglish

Sep 2
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Hoping to grow their family through adoption, travelling salesman Harry Graham (Edmond O'Brien) and his wife Eve (Joan Fontaine) apply to a kindly but thorough agency worker (Edmund Gwenn), who, in the course of his background checks, stumbles across Harry's secret: a second life with a second wife (Ida Lupino) in Los Angeles. Tackling a taboo subject that would be ripe material for an exploitative melodrama, Lupino instead shows much sympathy for the well-meaning but deluded Harry as she reveals what led him to this bizarre deception. Acting opposite her good friend Fontaine (who, in an odd refraction of the film's story, was at this point married to Lupino's ex-husband and producing partner Collier Young), Lupino once again shows her trademark toughness and vulnerability in front of the camera while displaying a sure and steady hand behind it. The last feature that Lupino directed for her independent production company The Filmakers before moving into television for most of the rest of her career, The Bigamist is "an oddball gem[:] a woman-made 'woman's picture' that avoids sentimentality and obvious emotion, a low-budget film that eschews genre convention and revels in top-drawer acting talent" (David Kalat, Turner Classic Movies).

35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Preservation funding provided by The Film Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.