Julia Ross has, through an employment agency, been placed to work for a very rich widow named Mrs. Hughes. Julia will live in Mrs. Hughes’ home while working for her.
A few days after getting the job, Julia wakes up in an unfamiliar place, with different clothes and a new identity — as the daughter-in-law of Mrs. Hughes. She’s told that she has suffered a nervous breakdown.
Julia knows that all is not as it seems in the Hughes home, becoming suspicious of both Mrs. Hughes herself and of her son, Ralph.
Joseph H. Lewis directs My Name is Julia Ross, from a screenplay by Muriel Roy Bolton. Bolton’s screenplay is based on a novel by Anthony Gilbert. This mystery/drama was released on November 8, 1945 by Columbia.
My Name is Julia Ross has a great, spooky atmosphere from the opening. Fantastic black and white cinematography feed the viewer’s eyes while creepy conversations about dead ladies and other equally morbid subjects are had by Mrs. Hughes and her family.
As a result of the visual atmospheric building in combination with the wonderful score, the film has a pretty great level of suspense.
The plot on its own is very intriguing. Nothing is certain for the viewer or for Julia, and the progression of events opens up even more questions for the viewer as the film moves along. Though we see Julia become somewhat of a part of the family after her long “sleep,” she reacts to the situation in such an illogical way that we become somewhat suspicious of her. The Hugheses are a very fishy family and the audience is equally suspicious of them, but Julia’s wacky behavior makes the viewer question her perspective.
This intrigue is bolstered by the wonderful performance of Nina Foch and the equally great supporting performances.
Elements of mystery and melodrama are wrapped up into a fast-paced and exciting film. Not a minute of its short running time is wasted, and everything gets wrapped up nicely. Though the ending gets a bit corny, most of the viewer’s questions are answered.
My Name is Julia Ross makes for a very enjoyable watch. I’d recommend it for fans of mystery or melodrama. The score: 4/5