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The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry FilmPoster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Siodmak
Screenplay byStephen Longstreet
Keith Winter (adaptation)
Based onUncle Harry
1942 play
by Thomas Job
Produced byJoan Harrison
StarringGeorge Sanders
Geraldine Fitzgerald
Ella Raines
CinematographyPaul Ivano
Edited byArthur Hilton
Color processBlack and white
Charles K. Feldman Group
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • August 17, 1945 (1945-08-17) (United States)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry is a 1945 American film noir drama film directed by Robert Siodmak and starring George Sanders as an aging bachelor who looks after his two sisters, one of whom tries to sabotage his romance with his co-worker. It is based on the play Uncle Harry by Thomas Job.


Harry Quincy (Sanders) is an amiable middle-aged man working as a designer in a fabric mill in the small New England town of Corinth. Younger people in the factory call him "Uncle Harry". He lives as a bachelor in a large house with his two sisters; Lettie (Fitzgerald) and Hester (MacGill). Lettie is pretty but spoiled, and idles days away in bed, feigning numerous ailments. Hester is a widow and is harder working. It is made clear that although the family was rich, the money was lost in the Depression.

Everything is disrupted by the arrival of a new young female designer at the mill. Deborah (Raines) comes from New York City and is slim, elegant, and very well-dressed. She clearly likes Harry and he falls in love. When Deborah tells him she will be taking an extended trip to Europe with a male co-worker, he finally declares his love for her. They plan to get married and both live in the big family house, but this involves the sisters finding a new home. While this is not an issue for Hester, Lettie is very resistant.

After several months of having their plans sabotaged, Deborah persuades Harry to run off to New York and just get married that evening. However, their plan is thwarted when Lettie collapses and is taken to hospital. Deborah makes Harry choose: Lettie or her. He chooses his sister and Deborah leaves, seemingly forever. Later he hears that she is marrying the other man from work.

In Lettie's desk, Harry finds some poison. He learns she bought it just before their dog died, in case euthanasia was needed. One night, he slips the poison into Lettie's hot chocolate. Unfortunately, the cups get mixed up and it is Hester who drops dead. The housekeeper enters and, since the sisters were always arguing, assumes Lettie poisoned Hester. Harry allows the accusation to stand and, after a trial, Lettie is sentenced to hang.

Harry has a change of heart and brings a written confession to the prison governor. However, he thinks Harry is just a nice man trying to save his wicked sister. He says it does not make sense: Harry wanted her dead, but now wants to save her. Lettie sees him and seems happy to hang and leave him with the guilt on his shoulders.

However, the entire sequence starting with Harry using the poison has been imaginary—Harry contemplating using it. As he pours it into a wastebasket, Deborah bursts in and says she did not go through with the wedding: it is Harry she loves, and they will go away and marry as they planned before.



The final "it was all imaginary" plot twist was introduced because the Motion Picture Production Code would not allow murder to go unpunished.


External links

Streaming audio

This page was last edited on 24 August 2022, at 05:36
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