Unfaithful, The (1947): Sherman’s Noir Melodrama Starring Ann Sheridan, Remake of Bette davis Movie

The Unfaithful, Vincent Sherman’s noir melodrama is a loose remake of “The Letter,” based on Somerset Maugham’s novel and made into film twice before.

The second version of 1940, directed by William Wyler and starring Bette Davis in an Oscar-nominated role, is still the best.

Ann Sheridan, Warner contract player usually cast as a “good” girl, plays the femme fatale, Chris Hunter, a guilt-ridden wife who had had an affair while her husband was in the military.

Chris Hunter stabs a man in her home one night while her husband is out of town. The dead man’s name is Tanner and she claims to have never met him.

A blackmailer, Martin Barrow, shows up with a bust of Chris’s head signed by Tanner, who was a sculptor. Larry Hannaford (Lew Ayres), her lawyer and good friend, soon realizes that Chris is lying about not knowing the man she had killed.

Barrow double-crosses her by taking the artwork to Tanner’s wife, who is now convinced Chris had an affair with her husband. She relays this information to Bob Hunter, who demands a divorce after Chris admits to having an affair with Tanner during the war.

Chris is charged with murder and tried. However, Hannaford persuades the jury that while Chris was indeed guilty of adultery, she stabbed Tanner in self-defense.

Cast

Ann Sheridan as Chris Hunter

Lew Ayres as Larry Hannaford

Zachary Scott as Bob Hunter

Eve Arden as Paula

Jerome Cowan as Prosecuting Attorney

Steven Geray as Martin Barrow

John Hoyt as Det. Lt. Reynolds

Peggy Knudsen as Claire

Marta Mitrovich as Mrs. Tanner

Douglas Kennedy as Roger

Claire Meade as Martha

Frances Morris as Agnes

Jane Harker as Joan

 

Credits

Released: June 5, 1947 Wide

DVD: July 7, 2009

Running time:109 minutes.

Warner