Starring Hugo Haas, Cleo Moore, Mona Barrie, Karen Sharpe, Rick Vallin
Intriguing. Vague. Low-key.
Talented concert pianist, Paul Marvan (Haas), tours in the states to no little success, but once he meets beautiful but shallow Margo, his talent and his career go downhill. What is this film? Noir? Character study? Melodrama? Each attempt I made to define Strange Fascination while watching it only frustrated me, mainly because it’s ill-defined. The “femme fatale” isn’t actually very dangerous (at least, she means no harm) and the “tragic hero” never does anything wrong. He falls in love and his career suffers. That’s not to say this isn’t a good film. It grips, entertains, and lingers well after it’s done, even if I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly its point was. Rather than the plot revolving around the actions of its characters, Strange Fascination seems tethered to fate or some unseen forces, which is why the consequences sometimes feel melodramatic.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-