Sleep, My Love (1948) Douglas Sirk
Olive DVD (library)
Alison Courtland (Claudette Colbert, above) finds herself on a passenger train bound for Boston, with no memory of how she got there or the gun in her purse. She’s aided by fellow passenger Bruce Elcott (Robert Cummings, second picture below, left), who makes sure she gets home to her husband Richard Courtland (Don Ameche, below left), where she’ll be safe and taken care of. She’ll be taken care of, all right, just not in way Elcott thinks.
Once his wife is back, Courtland continues what he’s already started: drugging her in order to make her mind susceptible to his whispered somnambulist suggestions. If he can hypnotize Alison into suicide, Courtland can snag her money and be free to pursue a life of carnal bliss with his sultry mistress Daphne (Hazel Brooks, below center).
Sleep, My Love is a fun noir thriller that obviously owes much to Gaslight (1944), a much better film about a husband slowly trying to drive his wife insane (with superb performances by Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman; you must see it). Most of the logic of Sleep, My Love dissipates quickly, but as long as you can come to grips with that, you’ll probably enjoy the film. Ameche is good as the smug, devious husband, and although Colbert gets a bit tiresome, the supporting cast provides lots of interest, including Raymond Burr as a police detective, George Coulouris as a creepy charlatan psychiatrist (above left), and the aforementioned Hazel Brooks.
I’m not sure why Brooks didn’t make more films. (Perhaps someone reading this can give us the full story.) She only made a few films, most of them with uncredited appearances, her biggest film being Body and Soul (1947).
Sleep, My Love isn’t a bad way to spend an evening. Just be sure you know what’s in the drink your spouse is giving you and try to avoid balconies.