EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|UNFAITHFUL, THE (director: Vincent Sherman; screenwriters: David Goodis/James Gunn/based on the play by W. Somerset Maugham; cinematographer: Ernest Haller; editor: Alan Crosland; music: Max Steiner; cast: Ann Sheridan (Chris Hunter), Lew Ayres (Larry Hannaford), Zachary Scott (Bob Hunter), Eve Arden (Paula), Jerome Cowan (Prosecuting Attorney), Steven Geray (Martin Barrow), John Hoyt (Det. Lt. Reynolds), Peggy Knudsen (Claire), Marta Mitrovich (Mrs. Tanner), Douglas Kennedy (Roger), Claire Meade (Martha), Frances Morris (Agnes), Jane Harker (Joan); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jerry Wald; Warner Bros.; 1947)|
|"A satisfactory glossy remake of
Wyler's The Letter."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A satisfactory glossy remake of Wyler's The Letter, that
Bette Davis. It's loosely based on the play "The Letter" by W.
Somerset Maugham (that created a more tense situation because race was
involved), and is written by David Goodis and James
Gunn. Director Vincent Sherman ("The Return of Doctor X"/"Mr.
Skeffington"/"Ice Palace") does a
good job directing as he changes
location from a Malaysian
rubber plantation to the
booming postwar high-end suburbs of LA, but keeps the story similar. Lew Ayres, one of the costars, was a Conscientious Objector during World
War II, refusing to kill but
served in the medical corps, and surprisingly Hollywood forgave him and
his career did not suffer unduly after the war.
While socialite Chris
Hunter's (Ann Sheridan) wealthy builder husband, Bob (Zachary
Scott), is in Oregon on business, she attends the party of her
obnoxious loudmouth gossipy neighbor Paula (Eve Arden) who is celebrating her divorce.
Returning home late at night Chris struggles with an intruder and kills
him in self-defense. The intruder it turns out was a struggling married
sculptor, Michael Tanner, someone Chris had an affair with while she
was lonely as her hubby was overseas in the military and when hubby
returned ten months ago the volatile Tanner refused to leave her alone
after she broke it off. Instead of telling the truth to her hubby, her
dear friend and noted divorce lawyer Larry Hannaford (Lew Ayres), and
the homicide investigating detective Lt. Reynolds (John Hoyt), the frightened woman, not wanting her
loving hubby to be hurt about her infidelity, lies and says she didn't
know the intruder and that his motive was robbery. This story comes
apart when slimy art dealer, Barrow (Steven Geray), reveals he has in his art gallery a bust
of Chris done by Tanner that he bought for $75 and blackmails her
lawyer to cough up $10,000 to retrieve it or else he will go to the
police with the incriminating evidence. When the honest lawyer refuses
to pay and advises his client to tell the police the truth, she instead
tries to buy it from Barrow. But he handed it over to the embittered
widow, Mrs. Tanner (Marta
Mitrovich), who wants revenge
and tells Mr. Hunter about the bust. When the police discover the bust,
they charge Mrs. Hunter with murder and Larry defends her while the
Prosecutor (Jerome Cowan) puts
on a vigorous argument to get her convicted and hubby, now knowing the
facts, decides to stand by her side during the trial but to seek a
The well-acted and
well-executed melodrama had some bite, and its few flaws (it had some
confusing moments in keeping track of what its supporting characters
were saying about the accused socialite and the blackmailer in real
life would have most likely by-passed the lawyer and put the squeeze
directly on Mrs. Hunter) didn't come back to bite the pic that badly.
REVIEWED ON 8/19/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ