My Name is Julia Ross Blu-ray Review

Identity Thieves of the ’40s

The gentle British village of My Name is Julia Ross seems so quaint. Cobblestone roads and an idyllic town square play host to a traditional life. The men work. The women don’t.

Enter Julia Ross (Nina Foch), brought to this seaside vista against her will, and trapped by her kidnappers. She only wanted a secretarial job, after all, in the end a mere scheme to keep Julia in the villain’s plot. Most of My Name is Julia Ross is spent with Julia trying to squirm her way out, back to a progressive modern life.

My Name is Julia Ross approaches things from a dual perspective. There’s the busy city life in London where Julia struggles to pay rent from a brash landlord. Hectic, stressful, but free in allowing a woman of the late ‘40s to find her own way – and single, without a man to cover for her.

Then the kidnappers, headed by a brutish male killer (George Macready) who does provide Julia’s necessities, but keeps her down and trapped. It’s a clever dichotomy, keeping a woman stuck in the old ways, with the story covered by a deliberate (too deliberate, even) murder mystery.

My Name is Julia Ross manages to capture a certain zeitgeist of the time

Julia is presented as a psychotic to this small village. She only wants to escape a “perfect” life, after all. What woman wouldn’t want such an existence? Clearly, Julia is insane for not wanting to conform to gender roles. It’s willpower to change that breaks her free.

So too is My Name is Julia Ross a story of abusiveness. While limited in its suggestion, Macready plays his role as a sinister pseudo-husband with ire and hate, as if born from a stint in WWII. His obsession with knives gives him a cold and leering presence. The use of noir-ish shadows help too.

For a small, B-tier studio production, lavish only in sense of its European setting, My Name is Julia Ross manages to capture a certain zeitgeist of the time. Its murder mystery and identify theft is passe thriller material, all too cleanly sorted in the end. A jubilant Julia, excited by the prospect of marriage, dims the overarching theme, but she’s still intent on working.

What matters here is thematic, an engaging representative fantasy with a potent early feminist slant. Julia’s fight is against her captors as much as social standards. At barely over an hour long, there’s little wasted time, leaving My Name is Julia Ross especially spunky. How appropriate.

Video

Sensational work from Arrow here, delivering a pinpoint, precise vintage transfer. Standout grain sits over the image, resolved to perfection. Behind that, high-resolution imagery streams in unopposed. Consistent sharpness maintains image integrity.

This adds up to detail, gobs of it. My Name is Julia Ross contains marvelous texture, even in close, odd for the era. Facial definition jumps out along with detail and stitching in various cloth. A few shots of an ocean shoreline dazzle thanks to the rock’s definition. Inside Julia’s room, all of the fancy wood and silver teapots create detailed surroundings.

Further helping is gray scale. That’s dazzling. The stretch from black to white keeps dimension high and without faltering. Consistency hangs over every aspect of this presentation.

My Name is Julia Ross comes from the ‘40s and that does show. An errant hair sticking in the frame, the occasional dirt, and visible scratch clean-up do leave their residue behind. For a studio cheapie though, this is A-class restoration and scanning.

Audio

From the opening moments of the score, the PCM mono handles highs and lows with equal care. While not too rich in terms of range, that’s expected. Clarity matters. My Name is Julia Ross doesn’t fend off any problematic elements.

Distortion, hiss, and static disappear behind this veil of naturally aged audio. Crisp dialog never wavers. A noisy finish with waves crashing and shouting keeps itself together.

Extras

The film-knowledgeable Alan K. Rode provides a commentary track, with the fine 21-minute essay/history lesson Identity Crisis (primarily concerning director Joeseph H. Lewis) provided by Nora Fiore coming up next.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

My Name is Julia Ross
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A feisty, feminine thriller, My Name is Julia Ross finds star Nina Foch trying to escape captors as much as the day’s dated social standards.

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