|The Unfaithful (1947)
Run time: 109 min
Genres: Crime | Drama | Mystery
Director: Vincent Sherman
Writers: David Goodis, James Gunn
Stars: Ann Sheridan, Lew Ayres, Zachary Scott
Chris Hunter kills an intruder and tells her husband and lawyer it was an act of self-defense. It’s later revealed that he was actually her lover and she had posed for an incriminating statue he created. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Release Date: 5 June 1947 (USA)
THE UNFAITHFUL (1947), is director Vincent Sherman’s 1947 loose remake of the 1940 William Wyler/Bette Davis classic, THE LETTER.
Glamorous Ann Sheridan stars as a woman who kills an intruder in her home, and then tries to hide the fact that the man had once been her lover from her husband and the police. There’s one problem; the dead man had been a sculptor, and his widow has possession of a bust he had sculpted which Sheridan had obviously modeled for.
Sheridan is excellent as the loving wife who, out of loneliness during her husbands tour of duty in WWII, gave into temptation and an adulterous affair, then with her attorney (Lew Ayers) makes a desperate effort to retrieve the incriminating object before her husband (Zachary Scott) finds out the truth.
Neither Ayers or Scott have ever set the screen on fire for me, and that holds true here as well. But they’re both always competent actors, and they give fine support to Miss Sheridan’s gutsy performance in one of her better Warner Brothers star vehicles.
Eve Arden also has several memorable scenes as a gossiping relative.
It’s not the classic film that THE LETTER is, but still a well made and highly entertaining Hollywood drama worth seeing.
Strange that the credits make no mention of the fact that this Warner Bros. melodrama is based on "The Letter"–instead proclaiming to be an original screenplay. The smart performances of Ann Sheridan, Lew Ayres and Zachary Scott make this a fashionable enough, updated remark with Sheridan’s unfaithfulness being blamed on her loneliness during World War II.
Her character is much softer and less intense than the one Davis played and she is not quite as impressive despite Vincent Sherman’s firm hand on the direction. Lew Ayres as a lawyer friend and Zachary Scott as her husband are quite effective. Marta Mitrovich is good as the wronged wife of the man Sheridan kills, but not nearly as compelling or strong in her portrayal as Gale Sondergaard was in the original film.
Steven Geray is excellent as an art dealer who owns a piece of sculpture he knows the police might be interested in. Eva Arden delivers her tart dialogue with her usual skill as a gossipy friend, very good in her final scene with Scott where she gets serious and tries to steer him into making the right decision.
A very watchable melodrama–just don’t expect another triumph like "The Letter".
Ann Sheridan is in fine form here as a woman whose past not only catches up with her, it threatens to ruin her life.
Sheridan portrays Chris Hunter, a woman who, while her husband was serving in World War II, gives in to her loneliness with a meaningless one night stand, hence the title of the film. While she tries desperately to keep this from her husband you get the sense that she knows it is only a matter of time before he finds out.
Ann Sheridan manages to evoke sympathy even though her character she did something that even she admits is unforgivable. You can’t condone what she did but at least you can understand why she did it.
Lew Ayres and Zachary Scott turn in solid supporting roles in a film worth catching.
While her husband is away, Chris Hunter returns home to be accosted by an intruder whom she kills in self defence. However, she can not tell the police the whole story because the intruder was a married man whom she once had an affair with. Fearing what her husband might do if he discovers she had an affair, she tells police that the man was a total stranger and that he demanded her jewelry. A suspicious policeman suspects she is not telling the truth, and the dead mans widow and a crooked art dealer try to blackmail her. When police discover she had not told them the truth, she is brought to trial for murder.
THE UNFAITHFUL is a decent, first class production from Warner Brothers, with top notch performances from leads Sheridan, Scott, and Ayers. Eve Arden gives a memorable performance as Sheridan’s gossipy cousin inlaw. Direction by Vincent Sherman is done with his usual skill and flair. The film runs at 119 mins, but it held my interest through out.