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The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945)

aka The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry

"From the Play that shocked Hollywood!"

Directed By: 
Details: 80 mins · English


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Small Harry Melville Quincey
Small Lettie Quincey
Small Deborah Brown
Small Nona
No_movie_poster Hester Quincy (as Moyna Macgill)
Small Dr. Adams
No_movie_poster Ben (as Harry VonZell)
No_movie_poster Helen
No_movie_poster Biff Wagner
No_movie_poster John Warren


Small Robert Siodmak Director
No_movie_poster Arthur Hilton Editor
No_movie_poster Paul Ivano Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Thomas Job Theatre Play
No_movie_poster Joan Harrison Producer
No_movie_poster Keith Winter Adaptation
No_movie_poster Stephen Longstreet Screenplay


"From the Play that shocked Hollywood!"


Harry Quincy (Sanders) is an amiable middle-aged man working as a designer in a fabric mill in the small town of Corinth. Younger people in the factory call him "Uncle Harry". He lives as a bachelor in a large house with his two sisters; Lettie (Fitzgerald) and Hester (MacGill). Lettie is pretty but spoiled, and idles days away in bed, feigning numerous ailments. Hester is a widow and is harder working. It is made clear that although the family was rich, the money was lost in the Depression.

Everything is disrupted by the arrival of a new young female designer at the mill. Deborah (Raines) comes from New York and is slim, elegant, and very well-dressed. She clearly likes Harry and they fall in love. Planning to get married they aim to both live in the big family house, but this involves the sisters finding a new home. Whilst this is not an issue for Hester, Lettie is very resistant. After several months of having their marriage plans sabotaged, one Sunday, Harry and Deborah plan to run off to New York and just get married that evening. However their plan is thwarted when Lettie collapses and is taken to hospital. Deborah makes Harry choose: Lettie or her. He chooses his sister and they part, seemingly forever.

To make things worse, Harry hears that Deborah is getting married in New York. Harry feels betrayed and recalls that Lettie bought some poison for the possible euthanization of their dog.

One night, he slips some of the same poison, found in Lettie's desk, into her late night hot chocolate. Unfortunately due to some confusion, Hester drinks from it instead and drops dead. When the housekeeper sees it, she says that she did not think Lettie had it in her, but was aware that the sisters were always arguing. Harry sees his chance and conspires to blame the death on Lettie, as the more obviously motivated perpetrator. The local townsfolk are all sure of Lettie's guilt. The jury agrees; Lettie is sentenced to hang.

Harry has a change of heart and brings a written confession to the prison governor. However, he thinks Harry is just a nice man trying to save his wicked sister. He says it does not make sense; Harry wanted her dead, but now wants to save her. Lettie sees him and seems happy to hang and leave him with the guilt on his shoulders.

However, to satisfy the Motion Picture Production Code, everything from the discovery of the poison bottle turns out to be imaginary. Harry pours the poison in the bin. Deborah bursts in saying she decided not to marry the other man and has come back for him.