Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sleep, My Love

I never heard of this movie before I went in search of period dramas to watch for the challenge.  Sleep, My Love stars Claudette Colbert as Alice Courtland, Don Ameche as Richard Courtland, Robert Cummings as Bruce Elcott, and Hazel Brooks as Daphne.  The movie was directed by Douglas Sirk and released on February 18, 1948.

Sleep, My Love is one of the strangest movies I have ever seen.  This may seem like a spoiler, but quite frankly you can easily guess from the beginning of this movie that the wife is being framed and that the husband is trying to kill her.

Alice Courtland wakes up on a train headed for Boston.  She has no idea how she got onto the train when she specifically remembers going to bed in her own home on Sutton Place in New York City.  Not only is Alice on a train bound for Boston, but she has a gun in her pocketbook.  As I said, it is easy to guess from the start that Alice is being framed.  

Back at Alice's home her husband Richard Courtland calls the police to report Alice missing.  Detective Sgt. Strake is played by none other then Raymond Burr who years later makes it big as Perry Mason.  Mr. Burr's role in Sleep, My Love is a small one though.  Sgt. Strake is not even the one who solves the mystery.  While Sgt. Strake is going over everything with Richard, Alice calls.  While Richard is talking to Alice Sgt. Strake hears Richard tell Alice that his gun is missing. 

I love this screenshot because I am familiar with Sutton Place in New York City.  It is a very well to do area and the homes are huge and luxurious.  The character of Alice Courtland is very wealthy and she lives in a home that has been in her family for a long time.  There is a maid and a butler who work for the Courtlands.  

On the way home Alice runs into a good friend of hers and is introduced to Bruce Elcott.  Bruce is immediately attracted to Alice and he is disappointed to learn that she is already married.  

When Alice returns home her husband pretends to be happy to see her home safe.  Richard convinces Alice that she needs to see a psychiatrist and calls in Doctor Rhinehart who is a fake doctor.  Richard is working with a cast of characters who are trying to drive Alice crazy and cause her to kill herself.  

"Doctor" Rhinehart is really creepy and scares Alice.  The "doctor" arrives very early for his appointment with Alice.  After the doctor psychs Alice out she passes out on the top of the stairs. 

One evening Alice is expected to attend a function with her husband, but Richard manages to get out of it by saying that he has an important meeting.  Alice is very disappointed, but she is then invited to go with Bruce to a friend's wedding.  Alice is glad that she accompanied Bruce to the wedding and both of them have a great time.     

Bruce really cares about Alice and senses that she is not really happy. 

While Alice is at the wedding with Bruce, Richard has a rendezvous with a woman named Daphne that he is madly in love with.  Bruce wants Daphne so badly that he can hardly think and see straight.  Daphne wants Alice's house and everything that belongs to her.  Richard has been promising Daphne that he will get rid of his wife, but Daphne is getting impatient.  Richard bought her an expensive bracelet that costs 12 thousand dollars to placate Daphne, but she tells Richard that she is tired of waiting and wants him to get rid of his wife immediately.    

Robert Cummings and Claudette Colbert on the set.  In this scene Bruce is dropping Alice back home after enjoying the wedding festivities.  After Alice enters her house the lights go on in her drawing room and she thinks that Richard is in there, but when she opens the pocket doors the creepy man with thick glasses is in there instead.  Alice screams and calls Bruce to come back and help her.  Richard comes out of his bedroom and Bruce searches the premises for the creepy man but he is not found.  Bruce begins to suspect that something is wrong and that Alice is not losing her mind.  

Richard sees his wife off to bed but drugs her first.  Richard puts a drug in Alice's hot drink that puts you in a trance hypnotic state. 

Once Alice is sleeping Richard carefully wakes her up and tells her to go to her window and jump off the balcony.  

Alice gets out of bed and walks towards to the window to jump off but she is not aware of what she is doing.  

In a complete trance Alice climbs up onto the balcony.  Bruce arrives back to the house just in time to see Alice about to jump.  Bruce keeps calling out her name and Alice snaps out of the trance, falling backwards onto the floor of the balcony.  

Bruce is even more suspicious than ever and warns Alice to be careful around her husband.  

Richard goes to see Daphne.  Daphne doesn't want to share Alice's wealth with the other cast of characters that have been involved in the plot to get rid of Alice Courtland.  Richard has no intentions of sharing it and plans to get rid of "Doctor" Rhinehart as well.  


With the help of his good friend who just got married, Bruce conducts his own investigation and discovers that Richard is having an affair with the woman named Daphne.  Bruce pretends to need a passport photo taken right away.  While in the photography studio Bruce learns who the creepy man is that Alice keeps seeing.  He also finds a book in the studio about hypnotic drugs.

Richard drugs Alice one more time and while she is in a trance tells her to go and shoot the creepy man who is in the house in the drawing room.

The creepy man figures out that Richard is double crossing him and a fight breaks out.  Richard is shot and creepy "Doctor" Rhinehart ends up killing himself when he accidentally falls through the skylight.

It is safe to assume that Alice and Bruce lived happily ever after.

Old-Fashioned Charm


Hamlette said...

Sounds like a cross between "Gaslight" and "Dial M for Murder." I do like Claudette Colbert a lot, but I'd never heard of this before. Hmm.

Collar City Brownstone said...

You made a very good observation Hamlette. Sleep, My Love is very much like those two movies you mentioned.