The Bigamist

Loading the player ...

USA | 1953 | 80 minutes | Ida Lupino

Ida Lupino directs herself, along with Joan Fontaine and Edmond O’Brien, in this newly restored, incendiary potboiler about a man desperately trying to maintain his double life.

Edmond O'Brien stars as Harry Graham, a traveling salesman living an apparently idyllic life in San Francisco with his beautiful wife, Eve (Joan Fontaine). The only thing missing is a child to complete the family. As the film opens, the couple sits in an adoption-agency office, where Mr. Jordan (Edmund Gwenn), their caseworker, warns that they will have to undergo a thorough investigation before any adoption can be made final. However, something about Harry's demeanor throughout the interview troubles Jordan. At first his inquiry into the Grahams' life turns up little, until he visits Los Angeles to call on Harry's co-workers and clients. An off-the-cuff remark leads Jordan to a secluded bungalow where Graham resides while in town…with another wife (Ida Lupino) and an infant son. What follows is Harry's doleful confession of how this hidden dual life came to be. As with her previous directorial efforts Outrage and Not Wanted, director Lupino proves adept at navigating taboo subject matter and the strictures of Hollywood's production code to produce a sophisticated, compelling drama, all the while drawing out complex emotional performances from her lead performers, including herself. Presented at SIFF in a new restoration, The Bigamist is a singular achievement in 1950s filmmaking.

Dan Doody

Director Biography
Ida Lupino, born in 1918 to a showbiz family in London, England and got her first role in 1933 after coming in with her mother Connie Emerald for an audition, booking the role initially intended for her mother. Known for playing tough, hard-luck characters, she had her breakthrough in 1941 with The Sea Wolf and High Sierra and continued making a name for herself opposite such big hitters as Humphrey Bogart and Eddie G. Robinson. After leaving Warner Bros for better roles, she found herself working behind the camera after taking over for the director of 1949's Not Wanted after he fell ill. Throughout the 1950s, she directed a series of melodramas and noirs, one of the only female filmmakers working that decade in the Hollywood studio system and often being the only director willing to tackle unconventional and controversial subject matter. She would go on to work in television, behind the only female director to helm episodes of the original "Twilight Zone" series. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for her work as an actor and the other for her directorial work. She died of a stroke in 1995 at the age of 77.

Sponsored by KIXI 880 AM 

  • Director: Ida Lupino
  • Principal Cast: Joan Fontaine, Edmond O’Brien, Ida Lupino, Edmund Gwenn
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1953
  • Running Time: 80 minutes
  • Producer: Collier Young
  • Screenplay: Collier Young
  • Cinematographers: George E. Diskant
  • Editors: Stanford Tischler
  • Music: Leith Stevens
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: The Hitch-Hiker (1953); Hard, Fast, and Beautiful (1951); On Dangerous Ground (1951); Outrage (1950); Never Fear (1950); Not Wanted (1949)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Kino Lorber Repertory