Unfaithful, The: Sherman’s Loose, Inferior Remake of The Letter, Starring Ann Sheridan in the Bette Davis Role

Vincent Sherman directed The Unfaithful, a film noir starring Ann Sheridan, based on the W. Somerset Maugham 1927 play and William Wyler 1940 superior film, “The Letter.”

Our Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

Chris Hunter (Ann Sheridan) stabs a man in her home one night while her husband Bob is out of town.  She claims not to know the man (named Tanner) and to have acted in self-defense.

Art shop owner, Martin Barrow (Steven Geray), contacts Chris’ lawyer and good friend Larry Hannaford (Lew Ayres). Barrow shows Hannaford a bust of Chris Hunter’s head, signed by Tanner, and attempts blackmail.  Tanner had been a sculptor, and it is now evident that Chris has lied.

Chris goes to Barrow to try to get the bust, but Barrow has taken the piece to Tanner’s wife (Marta Mitrovich), who is convinced Chris had an affair with her husband and wants Chris punished for murder.

Barrow convinces her to create more anguish for Chris by relaying this information to Bob Hunter (Zachary Scott), thinking also that the wronged husband would pay to avoid scandal. When Bob learns about the affair and sees the bust, he confronts Chris at home. After she admits, he demands a divorce.

Chris is charged with murder and tried, but Hannaford persuades the jury that while Chris was guilty of adultery, she did stab Tanner in self-defense. Hannaford then convinces Bob, who has softened on divorce after talking to his cousin, Paula.

In the (unconvincing) ending, Chris decides to try and save their marriage, rather than rush into divorce.

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


Produced by Jerry Wald
Screenplay by David Goodis, James Gunn
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography: Ernest Haller
Edited by Alan Crosland Jr.
Warner Bros.
Release date: July 5, 1947
Running time: 109 minutes


TCM showed the movie on June 16, 2020.