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Shadow of a Woman

Shadow of a Woman(1946)

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Remind Me

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In a San Francisco police station, Brook Gifford Ryder is questioned about the death of her husband, Dr. Eric Ryder: Four weeks earlier in Monterey, where she has gone after the death of her parents, Brook meets the charming and solicitous Eric, and a week later they are married. That night, while celebrating in a restaurant, the couple have their palms read by a fortune teller, who predicts happiness for Brook, but grimly states that nothing can be said about Eric's future. This so upsets Brook that the following day when Eric is almost killed by a falling boulder, she is sure that it was not an accident. Eric makes light of her fears, but when he sees two men loitering outside their hotel, he suggests that they leave for his country home in Ben Lomond. The first person they meet there is Freeman, whose dead wife had been one of Eric's patients. When Brook remarks on Freeman's hostility toward her husband, Eric, who professes that illness can be cured by a combination of correct diet and proper living, explains that Freeman's ailing wife died on the operating table after Freeman took her to a surgeon against Eric's advice. Later that evening, Freeman shoots at Eric, and flees after missing his target. As Eric comforts Brook, they are startled by other intruders, whom Brook recognizes as the men they evaded in Monterey. Eric explains that one of them, lawyer David MacKellar, is representing his ex-wife Louise in a lawsuit over the custody of their son Philip. Brook is stunned to learn that Eric is divorced and has a son, but loyally agrees to support his bid for the child. In San Francisco, where Eric lives with his sister Emma and her son Carl in a big, gloomy house on Nob Hill, Brook is surprised at first by her in-laws' bitterness, but soon learns that Carl's painfully maimed leg is the result of Eric's refusal to have a surgeon set it after it was broken. She also discovers that five-year-old Philip has been placed on a juice diet and is slowly starving to death. Brook's rising doubts about Eric are temporarily quelled after she accompanies him on a visit to his patient, Mrs. Calvin, and sees him ease her pain by simply talking to her. When Mrs. Calvin's daughter Genevieve exchanges harsh words with Eric, however, he removes himself from the case. The following morning, when Genevieve telephones to beg Eric to help her mother, Brook reminds her that Eric has dropped the case, but recommends her family doctor, Nelson Norris. Later, Brook encounters Norris, who tells her that Mrs. Calvin died on the operating table because her disease was too advanced to be helped. Then, not knowing that Brook is married to Eric, Norris accuses him of quackery. That night at dinner, while Eric tends to the distraught Genevieve, Carl and Emma attempt to drug Brook. Alerted to the plot by the bitter taste of her coffee, Brook pretends to be affected, and then, fighting off sleep, sneaks off to a café. MacKellar, who has been waiting outside, delivers a subpoena to Brook. Back at the house, Emma and Carl reveal that they drugged Brook so that Louise could visit her son. After Brook advises Carl to see Norris about his leg, she visits MacKellar's office, where she discovers that Philip has a million-dollar legacy from his grandfather, and that Louise's lies during the divorce trial convinced Eric that he is not the boy's father. Then, after both Freeman and Genevieve apparently commit suicide, Brook becomes convinced that Philip is in great danger. She plots to remove him from Eric's house, but before she can implement her plans, Eric returns home and attempts to kill her. Hearing the struggle, Carl intervenes, and after a fierce fight, Eric falls from a balcony to his death. As Brook finishes her story, the police inspector is skeptical at first, but when MacKellar vouches for her, he finally declares that Eric's death will be ruled an accident.