When Strangers Marry

When Strangers Marry (re-release title Betrayed) is a 1944 suspense film directed by William Castle and starring Dean Jagger, Kim Hunter, and Robert Mitchum.[3][4]

When Strangers Marry aka Betrayed
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Castle
Produced byFrank King
Maurice King
Screenplay byPhilip Yordan
Dennis J. Cooper
Story byGeorge Moskov
StarringDean Jagger
Kim Hunter
Music byDimitri Tiomkin
CinematographyIra H. Morgan
Edited byMartin G. Cohn
King Brothers Productions
Distributed byMonogram Pictures
Release date
  • August 21, 1944 (1944-08-21) (United States)
Running time
67 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$75,000[1] or $50,000[2]


Millie Baxter, a naive woman, comes to New York City to meet her salesman husband Paul whom she only met months before, and discovers that he may be a murderer.



The film was originally known as Love from a Stranger then I Married a Stranger.

Director William Castle was under contract to Columbia Pictures. The King Brothers liked a film he had made, The Whistler, and borrowed him from the studio. Castle says the script they originally offered him was "horrible", the story of a gangster who is killed and sent back to earth. The King Brothers introduced Castle to the writer Philip Yordan. Castle says he and Yodan came up with the new story.[5]

Philip Yordan says he gave the story to Dennis Cooper, an aspiring novelist who worked as a bookstore clerk, to write up, but that Yordan then had to rewrite it.[6]

Filming took place in June 1944. Neil Hamilton and Kim Hunter were borrowed from Selznick International.[7] Castle persuaded the leads to rehearse beforehand for free in their own time.

Rhonda Fleming made her film debut in a small role; she later claimed she was cast after being spotted by the director walking through the backlot. He said "you'll do" and put her in the film. She says she was not paid for her role.[8]

It was an early film for Robert Mitchum who had previously made Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore for the King Brothers. The brothers later claimed they had the actor under a multi-picture contract and tried to enforce it but he made no further films for the brothers.[9]


Critical response

When the film was released, Variety's review was positive, writing, "Only thing wrong with this film is its misleading title. Tag, When Strangers Marry, suggests another of the problem plays of newlyweds when in reality pic is a taught (sic) psychological thriller about a murderer and a manhunt full of suspense and excitement."[10]

Orson Welles wrote a contemporary review of the film which said , "It isn't as slick as Double Indemnity or as glossy as Laura, but it's better acted and better directed ... than either."[11] (He and Castle later worked together on The Lady from Shanghai/)

James Agee later wrote "The story has locomotor ataxia at several of its joints and the intensity of the telling slackens off toward the end; but taking it as a whole, I have seldom, for years now, seen one hour so energetically and sensibly used in a film".[6]


The film was adapted for an episode of Lux Video Theatre as "I Married a Stranger".[12]


  1. Hedda Hopper: LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD Los Angeles Times 8 Oct 1946: A3.
  2. Castle p 83
  3. When Strangers Marry at the TCM Movie Database.
  4. When Strangers Marry Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 12, Iss. 133, (Jan 1, 1945): 22.
  5. Castle p 80-85
  6. McGilligan, Patrick. Backstory 2: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1991. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft0z09n7m0/
  7. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Warners Will Remake 'Sweet Adeline' -- 'Attack!', Army Film, Due Next Month Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES 16 May 1944: 18.
  8. Rhonda Fleming... Lucky Star!: RHONDA FLEMING Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 15 June 1952: g6.
  9. Controversy Looms Over Robert Mitchum Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 17 Oct 1946: A3.
  10. Variety, film review, 1943. Accessed: July 6, 2013.
  11. Callow, Simon (2006), Orson Welles: Hello Americans, Jonathan Cape, ISBN 978-0-224-03853-9
  12. Grant Takes KMPC for New Contract; Cotten Hosts'On Trial' Series Ames, Walter. Los Angeles Times 13 Apr 1956: B6.


  • Castle, William (1976). Step right up! : ... I'm gonna scare the pants off America. Putnm.
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