253. The Bigamist (1953)
Directed By Ida Lupino
A travelling salesman spends his life half in San Francisco and the other half in LA. He is married to a wife that he loves but who is quite aloof and they are in the process of adopting a child, while his background is being investigated, it is discovered that he has another wife in LA, who after a brief affair became pregnant with his child and trying to do the right thing he married her as well. In the end he gives himself up to the authorities.
This is a very interesting film for the time in which it was made. When you think of films with this type of subjects you always think of deeply moralising ones like Reefer Madness for example. This, however, is a case of a film that even if it has some moralistic content coming from the mouth of the judge at the end, manages to avoid being a lecture on the evils of bigamy.
In fact watching the film you get the sensation that the bigamist did the best he could not to hurt or damage any of the two women. And you also get the sense they they actually appreciated his actions, in fact at the end they both smile at him and then at each other raising the possibility of a big happy family in the future...
In fact I think that that is the end they were going for here, the chances of adopting a child with the first wife are completely ruined after this but not the chances of bringing up his son with his second wife. His first wife states earlier in the film that she would have no problem raising another's child. Maybe I am seeing too much in to the open ending, but then that is the point of open endings. This is a weird one for a time when the Production Code was in full force.
That said, while the film has plenty of food for thought and an interesting presentation of human drama, it doesn't really blow you away technically, the soundtrack is quite good and the acting competent, but the storytelling could be better, more than simply raising interesting moral mazes.
This would be the last feature film directed by Ida Lupino for more than 12 years until The Trouble with Angels (1966).
During the tour of the Hollywood stars, the driver points out the home of Edmund Gwenn, the star of Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Gwenn is in fact also in the film, playing Mr Jordan.
Meeting his second wife: