Noirvember 2017, Episode 12: Repeat Performance (1947)


Repeat Performance (1947) Alfred L. Werker
Ok Ru (1:32)

Repeat Performance asks a question we’ve probably all asked at some point: What if I could live part of my life over and change the outcome? This happens to Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) on New Year’s Eve as she finds herself holding a gun, standing over her dead husband Barney (Louis Hayward). In a panic, she flees the scene and seeks out her friend, a poet named William Williams (Richard Basehart in his first film). During this frantic moment, Sheila wishes she could go back and live 1946 all over again, but with a different outcome.


And she gets her wish. It takes Sheila several moments before she understands what’s happened but she wastes no time in trying to change the events that led to her husband’s death. She’s not going to make the same mistakes this time, yet she knows information she’s not supposed to know, things that her friends can’t know since they haven’t been given this gift (or maybe it’s a curse?). The entire film is something of a precursor to the type of stories that were common to shows like The Twilight Zone and for the most part, Repeat Performance works quite well (but with a bit too much melodrama for my taste). Leslie was allowed to bring more range to this Eagle-Lion production than she usually was in her previous Warner Bros. films. The movie also features Tom Conway and a young Natalie Schafer, about 20 years before she embarked on a three-hour boat tour on Gilligan’s Island as Mrs. Howell.


The film has been notoriously difficult to see unless you could see it at a film festival or on cable TV. Thankfully the Film Noir Foundation, in conjunction with the Packard Humanities Institute, restored the film a few years ago. I hope we see a nice Blu-ray release of this one in the near future.


Next: Alaskan Noir

Photos: Streamline, Classic Film Aficionados, IMDb

6 thoughts on “Noirvember 2017, Episode 12: Repeat Performance (1947)

  1. Pingback: Noirvember 2017: 30 Films in 30 Days | Journeys in Darkness and Light

  2. You make some great points, especially about the actors. I enjoyed the film and am interested in seeing if I like it more upon a second viewing in a year or two.


  3. I saw this one for the first time when I was a kid on one of the UHF channels and always remembered it. I did manage to see it again a few years ago on YouTube in an indifferent print but I’d love to see it in the restored view.

    This is one of Joan Leslie’s better films, for someone that Warners was giving the big push for a while they certainly didn’t select her properties that well, and she is good in the film. This going to sound like I don’t like her which is wrong I do and I know it was a loanout but it’s too bad this wasn’t tackled by one of the more forceful actresses of the period, Ida Lupino or Barbara Stanwyck could have made quite a meal of it. Then there’s Louis Hayward whose allure more or less blows right by me, though he’s a rather slimy jerk here and he does that well but Kirk Douglas would have worked better.

    Still I love the premise, Richard Basehart does very well and it has two actresses I’ll watch in anything-Natalie Schafer of course and Virginia Field. So even though its full potential wasn’t realized I do really enjoy the film.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Noirvember 2017: Week 2 Recap | Journeys in Darkness and Light

  5. It’s been a few years since the Film Noir Foundation restored it, but I don’t know what the process is for each film and how long it takes… Hopefully soon!


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