Strange Illusion

A young man has dreams of death and destruction that begin to come true. This classic film noir is directed by the great Edgar G. Ulmer.
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Format:  DVD-R
item number:  ALP 4314D
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Strange Illusion for $14.50

DVD Features:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 26 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released: January 27, 2004
  • Originally Released: 1945
  • Label: Alpha Video
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Packaging: Keep Case
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
  • Interactive Features:
    • Interactive Menus
    • Scene Access

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Performer: , , &
Directed by
Edited by
Music by
Screenwriting by
Written by
Composition by
Cinematography by
Produced by
Director of Photography: &

Entertainment Reviews:


Total Count: 7


User Ratings: 467
Hamlet on Poverty Row Full Review
Apr 2, 2010
Rating: 2/4 -- Strange Illusion marks prolific filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer's trip into Hitchcock territory, with often underwhelming results. Full Review
Reel Film Reviews
Dec 5, 2003
Rating: B- -- An engrossing premise courtesy of Mr. Shakespeare. Full Review
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Sep 19, 2004
Rating: 4/5 -- Though saddled with the script's fetish for Freud, Ulmer stylizes his thriller without sending it adrift. Like his other great films, Strange Illusion is a shaggy quickie that takes fine shape throughout.
Film Threat
Feb 18, 2011
Rating: 3/5 -- A lesser Ulmer.
San Francisco Examiner
Jan 17, 2003
Visually inventive crime thriller, with many strange sequences. Full Review
Classic Film and Television
Jan 18, 2005

Description by

Repressed erotic desire fuels eerie nightmares in visionary director Edgar G. Ulmer's stunning interpretation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Young Paul Cartwright (James Lydon) is seeking his father's killer while his mother Virginia (Sally Eillers) finds herself caught between her husband-to-be, the suave but sinister Brett Curtis (Warren William), and the memory of her noble, dead husband, Judge Albert Cartwright.

Strange Illusion was produced by PRC Studios in 1945 between the production of Ulmer's Faustian stalker movie, Bluebeard, and Club Havana. With musical score composed by long time Ulmer collaborator Leo Erdody (with a little help from the Schumann Concerto) and photographed by cinematic pioneer, Eugene Schufftan (uncredited), Edgar G. Ulmer's Strange Illusion is poverty row poetry of the first order. It is the only movie ever made that begins and ends in a dream sequence!

Product Description:

In one of the most hallucinatory openings of 1940s movies, a boy's dead father comes to him in a dream, warning him to beware of the man his mother intends to remarry. The boy, Paul Cartwright (James Lydon) wakes up from the dream, but finds it's coming true when he learns his mother (Sally Ethers) has been dating a slick charmer named Brett Curtis (Warren Williams). Paul suspects Brett's a murderer, but his mom and sister (Jayne Hazard) are too smitten to listen. It's HAMLET, American-style, as Paul gathers evidence with a can-do teen spirit the tortured Dane could never quite muster. Acclaimed "B" director Edgar G. Ulmer (DETOUR, BLUEBEARD) makes sure the proceedings are infused with enough gloomy predestination and bizarre touches to make this a favorite among fans of his unusual cinematic style. Charles Arnt plays a sinister psychiatrist who tries to get Paul to believe his visions are the result of "Oedipal jealousy." Regis Toomey plays another doctor, who has his doubts. With Jimmy Clark and Mary McLeod as Paul's teenage pals, this plays like Hitchock meets the Hardy Boys, and is worth seeking out.


This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating:
Based on 1387 ratings.
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Dreams come true Movie Lover: from MIDDLE VILLAGE, NY US -- January, 23, 2011

The teenage hero of this film (James Lydon)"solves" his late father's murder by dreaming the details. Aided by his doctor friend (Regis Toomey), they piece the case together and bring the father's killer to justice. Just how the boy developed these powers is never explained but it's a fairly fun film to watch nevertheless.

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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 22,787
  • UPC: 089218431493
  • Shipping Weight: 0.31/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.
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