Trap for a Solitary Man

This 1960s film was seen on TV in the early 1970s. It is one of several film versions of the 1960s French play Trap for a Lonely Man.

First of all, the exclusions:

It is not Stranger in the House (1955).

It is not Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958).

It is not Trap for a Solitary Man (1963) (unproduced).

It is not Honeymoon With A Stranger (1969).

It is not One of my Wives is Missing (1976).

It is not Vanishing Act (1986).

A villa in a sunny coastal area, possibly Europe. A woman appears, claiming to be a man’s wife but the man does not know her. The police are called and a detective arrives but when the man gets his wedding picture it is the same woman that is in the photo not his wife. The man’s uncle arrives and there is hushed dialogue as the uncle confirms he has never seen this woman before either. The man is relieved that someone can back his story. But when the detective comes back to the villa the uncle now recognises the woman as being the man’s wife. What the hell is going on? At the end of the movie the man cries out that the woman can’t be his wife…

“Why not?” asks the detective.

“Because… I killed her…” he sobs.

Seen one afternoon in the mid 1970s, probably a film from the 1960s, I believe it was in b&w. There were several film versions of this story but other versions have a priest as a support character rather than the uncle, and some versions have swapped roles so that the man plays the imposter.

This is such a well filmed story I can’t understand why I can’t discover any mention of the particular version that I saw on TV in the seventies. Surely I wasn’t the only person to see it?



8 thoughts on “Trap for a Solitary Man

  1. As far as I know you listed all the English language versions. I don’t believe there is another in English. There’s also an earlier radio version of Stranger in the House, both half hour episodes of The Whistler, where this basic plot seems to have originated. The French play appears to have been a plagarism of Chase a Crooked Shadow.

    1. Thanks for your comments Will. I was wondering if I may have seen a dubbed European version and I am trying to check this out on YouTube. The other option is to to go through all the weekend TV listings from the archived library newspapers of the time but that would take a while. I am also aware that human memory can be so fickle and flawed so my absolute clear recollection of this could be a complete lie!

      1. Black and white, uncle shows up, the murderer finally confesses, sounds like Chase a Crooked Shadow, but that is a brother, not a wife.

        Could you have seen that and One of My Wives is Missing?and mixed the two together?

        1. Hi Will thanks for the comments. The movie I saw appeared European to me and the final confession was done indoors. I watched One Of My Wives Is Missing recently on YouTube and that particular movie is distinctly American; the Uncle has been swapped for a Priest; and the final confession is done outside by a car half in the water. I wouldn’t have said that I had seen that version before.
          The film I remember seeing ends like this:
          “This woman can’t possibly be my wife!” cries the man.
          “Why can’t this woman be your wife?” shouts the detective.
          “Because I killed her,” says my Dad.
          “Because… I killed her…” sobs the man.
          “Have you seen this before?” asks my Mum.
          “No,” retorts my Dad. “It was obvious.”
          Well, it might have been obvious to my Dad but I was certainly impressed by the plot twist and hadn’t seem it coming. I would have been about 14 at the time.

          1. Have you recently watched Chase a Crooked Shadow? Except for the gender switch that is what you describe sounds like. It is a British film set and filmed in Spain. That is the only version where you hear the murderer confess in a way similar to what you quote. In the other versions they only incriminate themselves.

  2. I remember just the same sentence.
    I live in Europe, and I was very young (around 10-12 years old). But this sentence remains marked in my brain.

    “She can’t be my wife…….because I killed her”

    The movie was in B/W. I am absolutely sure of this.

    I remember also another curious detail:
    At the end of the film, a scene was added. One man, that said he was the producer, ask to the people NOT to tell the final of the movie to anyone. That way, the “surprise” would remained.

  3. I’m almost sure that the film we are looking for is not from USA.
    It is european: maybe british,maybe french,…

    I don’t find any movie from UK with this argument, but there are another two that maybe could be the right one.

    -La maison des Renard (France,1975)
    Director: Michel Hermant
    Based in the french play “Trap for a Lonely Man”

    -Die Falle (Germany, 1960)
    Director: Herbert Fuchs
    Based in the french play “Trap for a Lonely Man”

    Unfortunately, I am not able to find the whole movies, not even a trailer.
    If you are luckier, please tell us.

  4. I checked French Wikipedia , it said the French play Trap For A Lonely Man strongly plagiarised the 1945 American B&W movie Conflict, maybe it’s that one.

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