The Columbia Film Noir Classic III boxed set includes five movies. The first of these movies is Joseph H. Lewis’s My Name is Julia Ross, made in 1945. I haven’t the faintest idea why this movie has ever been considered to be a film noir. These isn’t a single element of film noir present in the movie. My Name is Julia Ross is a gothic melodrama, and it’s a very good one.
This movie has much more in common with other gothic melodramas of the 1940s, such as Dragonwyck, Gaslight and Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Unfortunately film noir is very fashionable and very marketable, while gothic melodrama is not. Melodrama remains a despised genre, for no good reason.
Like other directors of the period Lewis made movies in the style that seemed to suit the material. The script for My Name is Julia Ross was clearly in the established genre…
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