Repeat Performance (1947)

Film Review


Release Date: 22 May, 1947

Studio: Aubrey Schenck Productions

Director: Alfred L. Werker

Starring: Louis Hayward, Joan Leslie, Tom Conway, Richard Basehart


On New Year's Eve, stage star Sheila Page shoots Barney, her husband. Leaving Barney dead on the floor, she rushes out, and, finding her friend, William Williams, she tells him what she has done. He suggests she ask the advice of her producer, John Friday. As they climb the stairs to John's apartment, she wishes that she could have the year over and avoid her mistakes. She turns to speak to William, but he is gone, and she soon learns that she has gotten her wish. Time has rewound, and the year is starting over. Despite her foreknowledge and attempts to change things, events continue to occur that lead toward the same end. On New Year's Eve, a crazed Barney attempts to kill Sheila. As Sheila backs away from him, Barney is suddenly shot and killed. The killer is William, the only other person who knows about the repeating year; he has come to save Sheila. He comments that the details of destiny may change, but the results remain the same.


This film can be described as a fantasy noir. The characters are controlled by their destinies, which cannot be altered. Despite Sheila's foreknowledge and her efforts to change the events of the prior year, the same unwanted events still occur and lead toward the end she wanted to avoid, the shooting death of Barney on New Year's Eve. Only the identity of the killer is different. The women are fine in their roles. Joan Leslie is pretty and sincere as the actress. Virginia Field, a rather obscure British actress, has a nice part as the self-centered and catty playwright. However, the men are more interesting. Louis Hayward specialized in charming characters, either a romantic hero or an unstable conniver and philanderer. Here, he is definitely in unhinged and philandering mode. Tom Conway frequently played upright, loyal, and earnest, as he does here. Richard Basehart, in his first film, is young, vulnerable, intense, and slightly unbalanced.