In London, Julia Ross (Nina Foch) goes to a new employment agency, desperate for work. When Mrs. Sparkes (Anita Sharp-Bolster) learns that she has no near relations, she recommends Julia for a job as a live-in personal secretary to a wealthy widow, Mrs. Hughes (Dame May Whitty). Mrs. Hughes approves and insists that she move that very night into her house. Two days later, Julia awakens a prisoner at an isolated seaside estate in Cornwall.

All her possessions have disappeared and Julia is told she is really Marion, the wife of Ralph Hughes (George Macready), Mrs. Hughes' son. The staff has been told that she has suffered a nervous breakdown; as a result, they ignore her seemingly wild claims and her attempts to escape are all foiled.

Julia writes a letter to her only close friend and admirer, Dennis Bruce (Roland Varno), and cleverly leaves it where it can be found. The Hughes substitute a blank sheet of paper and allow her to post it, unaware that Julia has anticipated them and written a second letter. Even so, when a "doctor" comes in response to a fake poisoning attempt, she blurts out her plan to him, only to discover that he, along with Mrs. Sparkes the housekeeper, is in on the scheme. He is dispatched to London to intercept the letter. When the real doctor shows up, Julia refuses to see him. The doctor recommends she be taken to a hospital immediately, but Mrs. Hughes persuades him to come back in the morning.

That night, Julia discovers a secret passage to her room and overhears Ralph admit to his mother that he murdered his real wife in a fit of rage and disposed of her body in the sea. Julia's captors have to make it appear that Julia has committed suicide before the doctor can take her away.

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“My Name Is Julia Ross” shows just how beautifully the old studio system sometimes worked. This throwaway B Picture was shot in 10 days for less than $200 thousand. Yet somehow the stars aligned just right, for the end result was one great movie.

With a running time of only 65 minutes, this mystery thriller has taut direction and plot. It moves like gangbusters and never lets up until the final shot. With sincere respect to Alfred Hitchcock, director Joseph H. Lewis seems to be imitating him in terms of content and style. And that is a compliment in the truest form. The fact that it is set in England and costars Dame May Whitty of “The Lady Vanishes” fame, only adds to the Hitchcock feel. Lewis certainly made the most of his shoestring budget by using many close-ups to avoid showing the sets, or lack thereof.

The stunning Nina Foch has what was probably the best role of her career and she makes the most of it. She carries the movie and is in nearly every scene. George Macready plays a stab-happy psychopath. Audiences may be familiar with him from the movie “Gilda” where he also played the heavy. Dame May Whitty is chilling as his oh-so-civilized, yet equally cold-blooded mother.

As I have repeatedly said, technology has spoiled modern audiences in terms of being spoon fed every visual horrific detail. What today's movies don't do nearly as well as the old ones is pacing and dialogue. “My Name Is Julia Ross” is a perfect example. There isn't a wasted shot in the entire movie and the dialogue snaps, crackles and pops. The added suspense of ‘what’s behind the door’ as it creeks open without ever really seeing what is, is priceless. We don’t need to see… it’s all about the imagination.

England’s Channel 4 film review lauded the work of director Lewis, and wrote, "Think of this as the 1945 equivalent of the modern-day US indie hit. This ultra low-budget B-movie thriller set new standards in small-scale film-making and so impressed makers at Columbia Pictures that Lewis's shooting schedule was almost doubled."

The film was remade in 1987 as “Dead of Winter”, directed by Arthur Penn, with Mary Steenburgen, Roddy McDowall and Jan Rubes. While “Dead of Winter” can stand on its own remake merits, there is nothing like the original ever-suspenseful “My Name Is Julia Ross”.

But then again, has there ever been a remake better than the original?