Credit: <i>Her Sister's Secret</i>

Director Edgar G. Ulmer takes a tawdry, melodramatic script and realizes it with tremendous feeling and craftsmanship (1946). A young, single woman in New Orleans has an affair with a soldier on leave; he gets her pregnant but ships out before hearing the news, and she doesn’t know how to reach him. The prospect of having a child out of wedlock doesn’t frighten her, though, since she knows her rich older sister in New York can help her out of any problem. Ulmer takes the characters’ emotions seriously, illustrating them with a rich visual language rooted in subtle camera movements and reflections within shots. The opening scenes, which depict the couple’s affair, are swooningly romantic, while the moments of intimacy between the two sisters (as well as those between the heroine and her historian father) recall Frank Borzage’s films in their sincerity.