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Dishonored Lady

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dishonored Lady
Dishonored Lady poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Stevenson
Produced by
Screenplay byEdmund H. North
Based onDishonored Lady
1930 play
by Edward Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes
Music byCarmen Dragon
CinematographyLucien N. Andriot
Edited byJohn M. Foley
Hunt Stromberg Productions
Mars Film Corporation
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • May 16, 1947 (1947-05-16) (United States)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.2 million (original)[1]
Hedy Lamarr and Nicholas Joy
Hedy Lamarr and Nicholas Joy

Dishonored Lady is a 1947 American film noir crime film directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Hedy Lamarr, Dennis O'Keefe, and John Loder. It is based on the 1930 play Dishonored Lady by Edward Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes. The film is also known as Sins of Madeleine. Hedy Lamarr and John Loder were married when they made this film; they divorced before the year was out.[2]

It is the story of Madeleine Damien, a beautiful art department editor at a high-profile Manhattan fashion magazine who becomes a lively party girl at night. With the pressures of her work and her disappointing love life driving her to a suicide attempt, she seeks out the help of a psychiatrist, who recommends that she think about who she really is and find happiness her own way. Madeleine decides to leave her job and lifestyle behind and move into a smaller apartment under another name. Following his advice, she takes an interest in painting and meets a handsome neighbor. However, her old life returns to haunt her, and she is accused of murder.

Dishonored Lady was released by United Artists in the United States on May 16, 1947.


Madeleine Damien (Hedy Lamarr) is the fashion editor of a slick Manhattan magazine called Boulevard. Men are attracted to her, including boss Victor Kranish (Paul Cavanagh), wealthy advertiser Felix Courtland (John Loder) and a former assistant, Jack Garet (William Lundigan), who is now working for Courtland and blackmailing her about events from her past.

Madeleine makes a suicide attempt and is headed toward a breakdown. She crashes her car near the home of Dr. Richard Caleb (Morris Carnovsky) a psychiatrist, who discovers her unconscious and cares for her. Then, thanks to his professional care, she realizes she is running away from herself just as her popular artist father who committed suicide may have been doing. As she is being put upon by her job's demands, she suddenly decides to quit her job and disappear from the fashion scene. Under another name she moves into a smaller walk-up apartment where she goes back to her earlier love, painting. By catching a lab mouse without the stereotypical female fear for such animals she meets and impresses her downstairs neighbor. He is a handsome medical researcher, David Cousins (Dennis O'Keefe), who just happens to need someone to draw the cells he studies under the microscope. They work together intensely, resulting in an excellent paper that David is invited to present at a conference. Before he leaves David proposes marriage. Madeleine clearly wants this too, but feels too uncomfortable to say yes because she has never told David about her somewhat checkered love life.

In the meantime, Madeleine's whereabouts ceases to be a secret to her previous colleagues, and to Felix Courtland who even manages to get a key to her apartment and surprises her there, but sho shows him the door. Then, just when David is away, a colleague at Boulevard magazine contacts her seemingly for some technical advice, but Madeleine wants to have nothing to do with the magazine. Still, she consents to meet her colleague at one of their old haunts, where everyone still knows her and where, surprise, her erstwhile boss and the former assistant happen to meet her as well. As was her custom earlier, she drinks too much and, for want of a taxi, accepts a ride in Courtland's chauffeur-driven car and, as happened earlier, ends up at Courtland's mansion by default. There, Courtland kisses her, but is interrupted by Jack Garet on a return visit. It so happens that Garet had stolen a precious stone out of Courtland's home safe, and he wants to talk to Courtland to dissuade him from going to the police for the second time. Courtland refuses and kicks him out, with much noise. Madeleine wakes up from the shouts, realizes that she can leave Courtland and slips away from his home through the rain. Garet comes back again, Courtland refuses to leave the police out of the burglary, and while he is calling the police Garet fatally bludgeons him with a table cigarette lighter.

The next day David comes home early from a successful conference that has even made the newspaper. But, the same issue has the sensational news about Courtland's murder. Madeleine sees this news, and realizes she is in trouble. Shortly thereafter the police come to arrest her, and it comes out that Madeleine has lived under a false name. David is completely blown over by what he now hears about Madeleine's past for the first time. In his shock he refuses to marry this unknown person. Madeleine is charged with the murder. Later on, during the trial, she is catatonic, completely uninterested in the proceedings and refuses to let her lawyer defend her until David, as a witness, is asked if he still loves her. He does: the response that Dr. Caleb may have suggested would be important to Madeleine. Indeed, now she becomes a cooperating witness. In the process, Courtland's home safe is discovered as is the theft, in part by David who notices that Garet may be hiding something. David confronts Garet, subdues him in a fight, and Garet is arrested. He confesses, and Madeleine is declared innocent. In the end, Madeleine leaves David a letter explaining that she can not marry him until she is sure she can really be the person he once thought she was. David hears that she's gone to the airport, where Madeleine is waiting for the plane with Dr. Caleb who tells her she is making a mistake to go away. But David comes just in time to grab Madeleine on the tarmac, waves the plane away, and they are finally in each other's arms.



Production was supposed to begin no later than January 1945. However, problems with the Hays Office caused a delay. The Hays Office insisted that two affairs - one in Mexico and the other in New York - might be "overloading" the picture, and also objected to the "night of sordid passion." A memo dated April 25, 1946, stated that, despite revisions, the script was unacceptable because of its gratuitous sex and its references to Madeleine's unsavory family secrets. In the released version of the story, references to Madeleine's parents were omitted completely. The character of Moreno and the affair in Mexico City were completely excised, and the "night of sordid passion" was not shown. All suggestions that Madeleine was a murderer, or had even contemplated murder, were also removed from the film. In a final studio synopsis in the Code file, Madeleine goes away on a trip hoping the time will come when David and she can be together; the reunion at the film's closing was added later. It was in production from early May to late July 1946 at California Studios. The film's sets were designed by the art director Nicolai Remisoff.

The film went over budget by $1.2 million and was a failure at the box office.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Indies $70,000,000 Pix Output". Variety: 18. 3 November 1944. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-23004-3. p203

External links

This page was last edited on 25 February 2021, at 07:10
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