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Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film)

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Director  King Vidor
Music director  Max Steiner
Country  United States
6.6/10 IMDb

Genre  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Language  English
Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) movie poster
Release date  March 10, 1951 (1951-03-10) (United States)
Based on  A Man Without Friends 1940 novel  by Margaret Echard
Writer  Lenore J. Coffee, Margaret Echard (novel)
Production  Warner Bros. Entertainment
Cast  Richard Todd (Richard Trevelyan), Ruth Roman (Shelley Carnes), Mercedes McCambridge (Liza McStringer), Zachary Scott (Harvey Fortescue Turner), Darryl Hickman (String), Frank Conroy (J.D. Nolan)
Similar movies  The Mark of the Whistler, The Whistler, The Night of the Hunter, Double Indemnity, The Third Man, Detour
Tagline  Would you have the nerve to do what she did on her wedding day?

Lightning Strikes Twice is a 1951 film drama starring Ruth Roman and Richard Todd.


Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) movie scenes


Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters37032p37032

Once a rancher, Richard Trevelyan (Richard Todd) is now on a Texas prison's death row. But he wins a new trial, then a complete acquittal when a lone juror holds out.

Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) Lightning Strikes Twice 1951 King Vidor Richard Todd Ruth Roman

Actress Shelley Carnes (Ruth Roman) is on her way to a Texas dude ranch for a rest. Along the way, she meets ranchers J.D. (Frank Conroy) and Myra Nolan (Kathryn Givney) and ends up borrowing their car. Lost in a storm, she encounters Trevelyan by chance. It turns out he knows J.D. and Myra.

Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) Lightning Strikes Twice 1951 Film Noir Ruth Roman Zachary Scott

The dude ranch is closed when Shelley gets there. Liza McStringer (Mercedes McCambridge), who runs it with a younger brother nicknamed String (Darryl Hickman), explains that she was the juror who let Trevelyan go free. And now she's being shunned by neighbors and friends.

Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) Lightning Strikes Twice 1951

Shelley bonds with the troubled String, so she is invited to stay a while. She learns that Loraine, the late wife of Trevelyan and murder victim, was a rather wicked woman, loathed by many. There is reason to believe Loraine once had an affair with J.D.

Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) Lightning Strikes Twice DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video

Returning the car, Shelley spends a night with the Nolans and is introduced to Harvey Turner (Zachary Scott), a neighbor who is immediately attracted to her. Harvey, too, speaks ill of the late Loraine and describes himself as lucky to have escaped her clutches.

Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) Movie Review LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE 1951

Shelley again meets Trevelyan and the two cannot resist each other. A jealous and spiteful Liza turns out to be the one who murdered Loraine, and now she nearly does likewise to Shelley before a last-minute rescue. Liza and String flee in their car, but don't get very far.


Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) Lightning Strikes Twice 1951 King Vidor Richard Todd Ruth Roman
  • Ruth Roman as Shelley Carnes
  • Richard Todd as Richard Trevelyan
  • Mercedes McCambridge as Liza McStringer
  • Zachary Scott as Harvey Turner
  • Frank Conroy as J. D. Nolan
  • Kathryn Givney as Myra Nolan
  • Rhys Williams as Father Paul
  • Darryl Hickman as String
  • Nacho Galindo as Pedro
  • Franklin Parker as Guard
  • Production

    Warner Bros had owned the rights to the book since 1945.

    Virginia Mayo was originally cast in the female lead.

    Critical response

    Film critic Glenn Erickson discussed the director's film style in his review:

    As the 1950s rolled in director King Vidor's brilliant but eccentric pictures became much more eccentric than brilliant. The Fountainhead and Ruby Gentry break down into interesting patterns of dynamic visuals, even as their overheated dramatics are impossible to take seriously. 1951's Lightning Strikes Twice forms a link between King Vidor and Douglas Sirk's delirious women's pictures. Faced with a gimmicky, far-fetched storyline and inconsistent characters, Vidor still manages to make the movie highly watchable, even enjoyable ... But get ready to smile at the overcooked, sometimes hysterical acting and the big fuss made over a fairly simple mystery ... the picture is a camp hoot from one end to the other.


    Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) Wikipedia
    Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film) IMDb Lightning Strikes Twice (1951 film)