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The Unfaithful

The Unfaithful

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The Unfaithful is a 1947 film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

 based on the W. Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham
William Somerset Maugham , CH was an English playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and, reputedly, the highest paid author during the 1930s.-Childhood and education:...

 penned 1940 Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional...

 movie The Letter. The film was directed by Vincent Sherman
Vincent Sherman
Vincent Sherman was an American director, and actor, who worked in Hollywood. His movies include Mr. Skeffington , Nora Prentiss , and The Young Philadelphians ....



Chris Hunter stabs a man in her home one night while her husband Bob is out of town. The dead man's name is Tanner and she claims not to know him.

A blackmailer, Martin Barrow, shows up with a bust of Chris Hunter's head signed by Tanner, who was a sculptor. Larry Hannaford, her lawyer and a good friend, realizes that Chris is lying about not knowing the man she 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 having an affair with Tanner while her husband was away during the war.

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


  • Ann Sheridan
    Ann Sheridan
    -Life and career:Born Clara Lou Sheridan in Denton, Texas on February 21, 1915, she was a student at the University of North Texas when her sister sent a photograph of her to Paramount Pictures. She subsequently entered and won a beauty contest, with part of her prize being a bit part in a...

     as Chris Hunter
  • Lew Ayres
    Lew Ayres
    Lew Ayres was an American actor, best known for starring as Paul in All Quiet on the Western Front and for playing Dr...

     as Larry Hannaford
  • Zachary Scott
    Zachary Scott
    Zachary Scott was an American actor, most notable for his roles as villains and "mystery men".-Life and career:...

     as Bob Hunter
  • Eve Arden
    Eve Arden
    Eve Arden was an American actress. Her almost 60-year career crossed most media frontiers with supporting and leading roles, but she may be best-remembered for playing the sardonic but engaging title character, a high school teacher, on Our Miss Brooks, and as the Rydell High School principal in...

     as Paula
  • Jerome Cowan
    Jerome Cowan
    Jerome Palmer Cowan was an American film and television actor. At eighteen he joined a travelling stock company, shortly afterwards enlisting in the navy in World War I. After the war he returned to the stage and became a vaudeville headliner, then gained success on the New York stage...

     as Prosecuting Attorney
  • Steven Geray
    Steven Geray
    Steven Geray, born Istvan Gyergyay on November 10, 1904 and died aged 69 on December 26, 1973 in Los Angeles, California. He was a film actor who appeared in over 100 films and dozens of television programs...

     as Martin Barrow
  • John Hoyt
    John Hoyt
    John Hoyt was an American film, stage, and television actor.-Early life:Hoyt was born John McArthur Hoysradt. Before becoming an actor with Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre, the Yale University graduate worked as a history instructor, acting teacher and even a nightclub comedian...

     as Det. Lt. Reynolds
  • Peggy Knudsen
    Peggy Knudsen
    Peggy Knudsen was an American character actress.-Biography:Born Margaret Ann Knudsen in Duluth, Minnesota, she made her Broadway debut in My Sister Eileen. She began her film career in 1946 in A Stolen Life opposite Bette Davis...

     as Claire
  • Marta Mitrovich as Mrs. Tanner
  • Douglas Kennedy
    Douglas Kennedy (actor)
    Douglas Richards Kennedy was an American supporting actor who appeared in over 190 films between 1935 and 1973. He was born in New York City.-Career:...

     as Roger
  • Claire Meade as Martha
  • Frances Morris as Agnes
  • Jane Harker as Joan

Critical reception

The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

gave the film a mixed review, "The Warner Brothers have turned out a better than average murder mystery in The Unfaithful, but they have badly over-weighted with melodramatics the things they obviously wanted to say about a pressing social problem. The new picture at the Strand stabs and jabs like a hit-and-run prizefighter at the subject of hasty divorces and the dangerous consequences to society of this ill conceived cure all for marital difficulties, but it never gets across a telling dramatic punch. However, through some uncommonly persuasive acting and skillful direction the patently artificial plot stands up surprisingly well."

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