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Conflict 1945 Movie: Reason Why You’d Kill Your Own Wife?

Monday, October 17, 2016
(*Warning for possible spoilers for Conflict, a black-and-white suspense film noir made by Warner Brothers)

Conflict (1945) is about Richard Mason (played by Humphrey Bogart), an engineer, who kills his own wife, Kathryn Mason (played by Rose Hobart). Aside from wondering if the engineer was able to commit the perfect crime, the audience might also find themselves wondering exactly what Richard hoped to achieve by killing his wife.

The reason why you’d kill your own wife?

conflict 1945, murder mystery movie, richard mason, kathryn mason
The question isn’t why Richard would kill Kathryn because there’s a readily available answer to that.

The engineer is actually in love with Evelyn Turner (played by Alexis Smith), Kathryn’s younger sister. To get Kathryn out of the way, he chose to murder her.

What should happen after you killed your wife?

But one has to wonder exactly what Richard thought was going to happen after he killed his wife.

This isn’t in terms of whether or not he would get caught because he believed that he was able to commit the perfect crime. Rather, this is in terms of what will happen between Evelyn and him.

Does he think that he’ll be able to get Evelyn Turner once Kathryn is out of the way? But why? Just because his wife died, why would that automatically mean that Turner would fall for him? Was Richard so sure that he could get Evelyn to fall for him? Did he really believe that she was already in love with him?

Can Richard and Evelyn get together after Kathryn’s death in Conflict?

In the first place, Kathryn and Evelyn are sisters. It’s only natural for Evelyn to be worried about her sister and to care about her. Even if she didn’t know that it was Richard who killed her older sister, would she really willingly get into a relationship with her sister’s husband just because Kathryn is now dead? Wouldn’t she perceive that as somehow betraying her sister?

Who is Evelyn in love with?

Furthermore, it seemed that she actually likes and is in love with Professor Norman Holdsworth (played by Charles Drake), the colleague of Doctor Mark Hamilton (played by Sydney Greenstreet. He’s a psychologist and family friend of the Masons), even though she might not be ready to settle down or get married yet.

This can be one possible reason why she turned down his marriage proposal; that and Richard confused her with him going on about how he loves her and how she is apparently in love with him too.

Pointless murder in Conflict?

Looking at it in this way, it does seem pretty pointless and useless to kill Kathryn, but maybe Richard did it anyway because he was so consumed with the thought of loving Evelyn and wanting to be with her that he believed that the only way to achieve that was to get rid of his wife. What do you think?

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki based on the image by Rusembell (CC:BY) from deviantArt
- Image is meant to symbolize how Richard killed Kathryn
- YouTube video features the trailer for the Conflict film

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