Her Sister’s Secret (1946)

Though it was often derided as the most impoverished of Hollywood’s Poverty Row studios, Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) turned out its fair share of interesting films, particularly when working with cult favorite director Edgar G. Ulmer. Although best remembered for low-budget dramas and for the film noir Detour (1945), he also scored with this romantic drama. Nancy Coleman stars as a single mother who gives her war baby to her sister (Margaret Lindsay), only to regret her decision after a few years. PRC upped the budget for this film, advertising it as their “first million-dollar production,” and Ulmer put every penny of it on the screen. In addition to picking up top talent in the form of stars Coleman and Lindsay, he secured the services of cinematographer Franz Planer, an Austrian transplant noted for his work with F.W. Murnau. He also spared no expense with the sets and costumes. With Planer’s carefully planned camera moves and long takes and the stars’ glamorous emoting over what were then labeled “women’s issues,” the film anticipates Douglas Sirk’s melodramas for producer Ross Hunter.

Preserved by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, with funding provided by The Film Foundation and the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique partnership between the Directors Guild of America (DGA); the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA); Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (SACEM); and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW).

Dir. Edgar G. Ulmer

In attendance: Jan-Christopher Horak, Arianne Ulmer Cipes