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278 Ratings

The Bigamist

Directed by Ida Lupino
United States, 1953


San Francisco businessman Harry Graham and his wife and business partner, Eve, are in the process of adopting a child when private investigator Jordan uncovers the fact that Graham has another wife…

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The Bigamist Directed by Ida Lupino

Critics reviews

Lupino once again takes a sensationalistic premise and scales it down to the level of recognizable, relatable behavior. Eve and Phyllis are designed as opposites who appeal to different sides of Harry’s personality, but the movie doesn’t reduce them to types; they remain fully rounded characters.
November 12, 2018
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The movies Lupino directed for Filmakers included socially conscious melodramas such as Outrage (1950) and lean noirs like The Hitch-Hiker (1953). The Bigamist, remarkably complex and deeply sympathetic to all three of its protagonists, is a hybrid of both genres—call it a melo-noir.
November 09, 2018
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What are people saying?

  • josé neves's rating of the film The Bigamist

    35mm, rewatched. Two moments, linked to Joan Fontaine, are magnificent: when she knows by telephone her husband's bigamy situation and the end in court. In both, the camera does a backward traveling, delivering the character to a spatiality of (her) anguish. The rest is a classic film about an unusual theme in the time of Hays code, made by an alternative studio. Ida Lupino is my favorite actress of this period.

  • I.Camera's rating of the film The Bigamist

    While Ida Lupino is rightly celebrated as a pioneering director, a female voice within a very male genre, this film does not hold up as well as The Hitch-Hiker. The tone is uneven, veering from the overly moralistic (backed by booming orchestral noise) to a more poignant drama. Joan Fontaine and Lupino are both great, but O'Brien was not one of the period's best leading men - it's hard to see the (double) attraction.

  • Eric Rucker's rating of the film The Bigamist

    It’s not surprising to me that this gets a lukewarm response here: movie buffs, film fanboys, hip and old school auteur kool-aid drinkers, everybody is overinvested in genre, and this implodes the whole structure to fabulous moral effect. Thank you, MUBI, for bravely showing something important in film history yet so likely to be “misunderestimated.”

  • Michael Rozek's rating of the film The Bigamist

    Taut, relentless in pitch, and, in the end, deeply thought-provoking--even meditative--about a little-understood phenomenon called "human nature." Don't let its noirish hue and meant-to-shock-in-its-time title mislead: the film is as nuanced as the day is long, marked by Lupino's always-steely direction and acting--she's its spine. Far beyond the sum of its apparent parts, and with a brilliant Leith Stevens score.

  • knockkneed's rating of the film The Bigamist

    However touching, Lupino's prodigal compassion for interpersonal weakness is really slippery. Her empathy normalizes the tragic relationship dynamics and communication failures that lead Harry to foul up. Worse, a tinge of contrition suggests she finds the feminine heart cumbersome by nature; she's so focused on defending Harry's right to clemency, the women are pushed to the periphery of the narrative.

  • Mtume Gant's rating of the film The Bigamist

    What’s clear about Lupino was that not only was she attempting to break the gender barrier in cinema from a who gets to do what, she also was interested in subverting the melodramatic form. In the hands of other Directors this film would end much differently, not as complicated with the central character not redeemed and everything seemingly unsolvable, it is what it is.

  • Renton47's rating of the film The Bigamist

    It seems telling that the broad moments drawing laughter in my screening were all linked to the movie explicating bigamy as bad. Though reading as a PSA there is equal sentiment that social structures are what’s keeping Harry in shame. Both romances are compelling thanks to the performers, and the bizarre structure means we are consistently surprised. The compromise it suggests is still rich today.

  • Loz Loory's rating of the film The Bigamist

    Great actors but a terrible script. We see O'Brien is a bigamist within 10 minutes of the opening, so any suspense that might have existed in the film is gone. It's a credit to the acting prowess of Lupino and Fontaine that the female characters are interesting enough to keep watching. O'Brien walks around like he's in a deep freeze. Lots of 3-strand pearl necklaces to symbolize the love triangle.

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