In one of four films Barbara Stanwyck made in 1950, she plays a pregnant woman mistaken for the person whose wedding ring she happens to be wearing during a train crash. Taken in by that woman’s in-laws, she’s blackmailed by the father of her child who threatens to reveal her identity.
The barmy premise is grounded by a brilliant performance by Stanwyck, who specialises in playing women at the end of their wick; often people shunned by pre-feminist society for being divorced or a single mother. Her genius is in making these characters sympathetic and empowering, even in a film called No Man of Her Own that features lines like: “Women are always hungry!”
That the protagonist’s predicament is of her own making puts brakes on proceedings, exacerbated by her tendency to accidentally incriminate herself almost as often as Donald Trump – the funniest example being the scene where she unthinkingly signs her real name. But the strong performances and noir direction keep you guessing, while the train crash still looks impressive.
No Man of Her Own isn’t the finest misunderstanding-gets-out-of-hand movie of its era, but should satisfy even the hungriest of women.