My True Story
Cast & Crew
After serving two years of a five-year jail sentence for a robbery conviction, Ann Martin learns that an old friend of her mother, Ed Praskins, has offered to help her win parole. Praskins proposes to give Ann a job in his candy store in the small town of Linwood and provide the necessary weekly reports on her activities and progress. Prison officials approve of the suggestion and soon after Ann arrives in Linwood where she encounters Bill Phillips, a friendly drugstore owner who cheerfully invites her to go fishing. Upon meeting Praskins at his store, Ann is surprised when he confesses to fronting for George Trent, Ann's former crime partner, in order to get her paroled. When Trent reunites with an uneasy Ann, he explains that he has developed a scheme dependent upon Ann becoming the companion and part-time nurse for aging wealthy widow Madame Rousseau, an American who married a Frenchman during World War II. Trent reveals that, Madame Rousseau retains control of the last of her husband's supply of myrrh oil based on his secret formula that is essential to the best-selling perfume, "Captivating." Trent adds that although Madame Rousseau's husband took his formula to the grave, there is enough oil remaining to sell on the market for a considerable profit. Trent wants Ann to find out where Madame Rousseau stores the valuable oil. When Ann worries about her situation with the parole board, Praskins assures her he will write the weekly reports as promised as long as she fulfills her part in Trent's plan. Ann agrees, but in order to establish a cover, works in Praskins' store for several days. Eager to get to know Ann, Bill anonymously places a large order of chocolate to be delivered, in order to trick her into spending an afternoon fishing with him. Under Bill's affable questioning, Ann confides that she moved to a small town after growing weary of big city living. The following day, at Trent's orders, Ann goes to Madame Rousseau's to interview as her new companion. Another of Trent's henchmen, Mark Foster, is already working there as the chauffeur and has supplied Trent information on Madame Rousseau's situation. After presenting the older woman with the falsified documents provided by Trent, Ann wins Madame Rousseau's confidence and is hired. Over the following weeks, Ann takes up her new duties, which include driving Madame Rousseau around town, writing numerous letters for her and attending to the older woman's minor physical ailments. Puzzled by Ann's abrupt change of jobs, Bill is disappointed when Ann is often too busy to see him. Ann searches Madame Rousseau's diligently for any indication of the myrrh oil's hiding place, but comes up empty-handed. One day, Madame Rousseau informs Ann that she has invited an old friend, Alexis Delios, the head of the "Captivating" perfumery, for dinner. That evening, Madame Rousseau sells Alexis the customary small amount of myrrh oil, but Ann is still unable to find the oil's location. Some days later, Madame Rousseau confesses to Ann she has grown as fond of her as a daughter and presents her with some of her own jewelry as a gift, then arranges to invite Bill for dinner. That evening in private, Bill admits to Ann that he met Madame Rousseau and her husband in France when Bill was a member of the secret service O. S. S. A few days afterward, Trent learns that Mark has confided part of their plan to Madame Rousseau's gardener, Buzz Edwards, a small-time crook. Trent threatens Edwards and frightens him into leaving town, then later takes Mark to a deserted area and shoots him for his betrayal. When the police report finding Mark's body to Madame Rousseau, Ann is stunned and frightened. A few days later, Ann learns that Madame Rousseau has received a letter from Alexis explaining that the myrrh oil was accidentally spilled in the lab and he is returning to Linwood to make an emergency purchase. Ann tells Trent, who arranges with Praskins to intercept Alexis when he flies into a nearby airport. Meanwhile, Carlyle, a prison parole officer, arrives in Linwood and when he is unable to locate Praskins, speaks with Bill. Before Alexis arrives, Madame Rousseau sends Ann to the drugstore for an order of eye drops and Ann recalls retrieving drops the same night of Alexis' original visit. Realizing that Bill is hiding the myrrh oil for Madame Rousseau, Ann is torn about telling Trent. Distressed, Ann returns to Madame Rousseau's and writes a letter of confession to Bill, explaining her involvement with Trent. That night Trent arrives at Madame Rousseau's pretending to be an emissary for Alexis. When Madame Rousseau hesitates about giving Trent the oil, he threatens the old woman. Ann begs Trent not to hurt Madame Rousseau and confesses that she knows where the oil is stored. Ann takes Trent to Bill's store, where Bill attacks Trent, then lures him into the cellar where he holds him until the arrival of the police. Praskins is later captured and Alexis freed. Bill relates to Ann that he learned of her true identity from Carlyle and was suspicious of her arrival at the drugstore with Trent. Knowing that she must return to prison to serve the remainder of her sentence, Ann is heartened when Madame Rousseau forgives her and Bill promises to wait for her return.
Fred F. Sears
According to the Hollywood Reporter review, My True Story was the first of two Columbia productions based on topics in True Story Magazine. According to the Variety review, Margit Mantica was the author of the short story on which the film was based. Although My True Story marked the first released film of Aldo Ray, who at the time was known as Aldo DaRe, Ray's film Saturday's Hero (see below) was produced prior to My True Story. My True Story marked the directoral debut of longtime actor Mickey Rooney and was Rooney's only solo directing credit. In 1961 he co-directed and starred in The Private Lives of Adam and Eve. For more information on that film, please see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70.