My Name is Julia Ross is a 1945 film based on Anthony Gilbert's novel The Woman in Red, published four years earlier. The story does not features Arthur Crook, the solicitor who usually crops up in Gilbert's novels, and the film is a "woman in jeopardy" story that I found a cut above the average. Joseph H. Lewis directs, and the screenplay is by Muriel Roy Bolton, and between them they fashioned something short, snappy, and suspenseful.
NIna Foch plays Julia Ross, an attractive young woman who has struggled to find work since recovering from ill health. She rents a room in an unlovely London house, and the man she fancies has just gone off to marry someone else. She answers an advert placed by a new employment agency, and they put her in touch immediately with a prospective employer and her son. She is offered a live-in secretarial job with suspicious rapidity, and duly accepts. When she goes back home to pack her things, she finds that the man she cared for has decided not to get married after all. They arrange to meet - but Julia doesn't show up.
In fact, Julia has been kidnapped, and finds herself the victim of a monstrous conspiracy which involves taking her off to an eerie house in Cornwall and giving her a new identity. What on earth can be going on? The answer doesn't take long to emerge, but it's fun to follow the twists and turns of the plot. The old lady is played by Liverpool-born Dame May Whitty, surely one of the more unlikely Scousers, who is best known to crime fans as Miss Froy in Hitchcock's version of another "woman in jeopardy" film, The Lady Vanishes.
Apart from Dame May, the cast members are mainly unfamiliar to modern viewers,and the acting of the chap who played the weird son struck me as less than convincing. But overall, the film is well made,and I liked the way it raced along. Apparently, it was loosely remade by Arthur Penn in 1987 as Dead of Winter, but I haven't seen that. Whether or not you're not an Anthony Gilbert fan, I think this film is well worth a look, a period piece that is a nice blend of Gothic and British noir, and anyone seeking a more in-depth analysis might like to take a look at the excellent review by John Norris..