Dishonored Lady is a 1947 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.
It is the story of 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 breakdown, she seeks out the help of a psychiatrist, who recommends that she leave her job and her 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.
Dishonored Lady was released by United Artists in the United States on May 16, 1947.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Stevenson|
|Screenplay by||Edmund H. North|
|Based on||Dishonored Lady|
by Edward Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes
|Music by||Carmen Dragon|
|Cinematography||Lucien N. Andriot|
|Edited by||John M. Foley|
Hunt Stromberg Productions
Mars Film Corporation
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Budget||$1.2 million (original)|
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, then, while under his care, quits her job and moves into a smaller flat under a new identity. She becomes interested in painting and in David Cousins (Dennis O'Keefe), a handsome neighbor.
After having marriage proposed to her by David, who knows nothing of her past, Madeleine is confronted by Courtland, who is still interested in her. After she slips away from his home, Garet arrives. Accused of a home burglary by Courtland, Garet bludgeons him with a table lighter. Madeleine is charged with the murder and is too depressed to defend herself. David realizes the truth, confronts Garet and manages to save Madeleine just in time.
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 went over budget by $1.2 million and was a failure at the box office.
Dennis O'Keefe (born Edward Vanes Flanagan, Jr., March 29, 1908 – August 31, 1968) was an American actor and writer,Edmund H. North
Edmund Hall North (March 12, 1911 – August 28, 1990), was an American screenwriter who shared an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay with Francis Ford Coppola in 1970 for their script for Patton.
North wrote the screenplay for the 1951 science-fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still and is credited for creating the famous line from the film, "Klaatu barada nikto".
He was a son of Bobby North and Stella Maury who performed in vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies. North began writing plays while attending Culver Military Academy in Indiana and at Stanford University. As a major in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II he made training and educational films.
North was a president of the screen branch of the Writers Guild of America in which he served on more than 40 committees, including the contract-bargaining panel.
North and his wife, Collette had two daughters. He lived in Brentwood, Los Angeles, and was 79 when he died.Edward Sheldon
Edward Brewster (Ned) Sheldon (Chicago, Illinois, February 4, 1886 – April 1, 1946, New York City) was an American dramatist. His plays include Salvation Nell (1908) and Romance (1913), which was made into a motion picture with Greta Garbo.
After becoming ill at age 29 with crippling rheumatoid arthritis, which eventually claimed his sight (around 1930), Sheldon became a source of emotional and creative support for his many friends, including such luminaries of the literary and theatrical world as Minnie Maddern Fiske (he wrote Salvation Nell for her), Julia Marlowe, John Barrymore, Thornton Wilder, Alexander Woollcott, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Ruth Gordon, Helen Hayes and many others. While in hospital his advice was received by those in the theatrical profession as gospel.
In May 1915 Sheldon narrowly missed sailing on the Lusitania's infamous last voyage. He had been asked by theater impresario Charles Frohman to accompany him to England. A Harvard classmate of Sheldon's was getting married on May 11 and asked Sheldon to be best man. Sheldon then declined Frohman's offer.
A 1936 lawsuit against Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for copyright infringement claimed that the script MGM used for the 1932 motion picture Letty Lynton plagiarized material from the play Dishonored Lady by Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes. The film is still unavailable today because of this lawsuit.
His life is detailed in The Man Who Lived Twice by Eric Wollencott Barnes. In this biography Barnes states that Sheldon was in love all his adult life with Doris Keane, the actress who starred in Romance in 1913. Before marrying the painter Willard Metcalf in 1911, Henrietta McCrea was in a sentimental relationship with SheldonElois Jenssen
Elois Jenssen (November 5, 1922 – February 14, 2004) was an American film and television costume designer. She earned Academy Awards nominations for design work in the Cecil B. DeMille production Samson and Delilah (1949) and for her work on the Walt Disney Studios film Tron (1982).Guthrie McClintic
Guthrie McClintic (August 6, 1893 – October 29, 1961) was a successful theatre director, film director, and producer based in New York.Harold Huth
Harold Huth (20 January 1892 – 26 October 1967) was a British actor, film director and producer.Harvey Stephens
Harvey Stephens (August 21, 1901 – December 22, 1986) was an American actor, known initially for his performances in Broadway productions, and thereafter for his work in film and on television. He was most active in film beginning in the 1930s and through the mid-1940s. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he transitioned to television and enjoyed success there through the 1960s.
Stephens was also an avid competitive glider pilot. He was inducted into the Soaring Hall of Fame in 1966 for his contributions to the sport.Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr (; born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, November 9, 1914 – January 19, 2000) was an Austrian-born American film actress and inventor.After a brief early film career in Czechoslovakia, including the controversial Ecstasy (1933), she fled from her husband, a wealthy Austrian ammunition manufacturer, and secretly moved to Paris. Traveling to London, she met Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio head Louis B. Mayer, who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood. She became a film star with her performance in Algiers (1938). Her MGM films include Lady of the Tropics (1939), Boom Town (1940), H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), and White Cargo (1942). Her greatest success was as Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949). She also acted on television before the release of her final film, The Female Animal (1958). She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.At the beginning of World War II, she and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. Although the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, the principles of their work are incorporated into Bluetooth technology and are similar to methods used in legacy versions of CDMA and Wi-Fi. This work led to their induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.Jimmie Daniels
James "Jimmie" Lesley Daniels (1908 – June 29, 1984) was a cabaret performer, actor, model, nightclub owner, and he was part of the Harlem Renaissance.John Loder (actor)
John Loder (born William John Muir Lowe; 3 January 1898 – 26 December 1988) was a British actor who later became an American citizen (1947).Letty Lynton
Letty Lynton is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film starring Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery and Nils Asther. The film was directed by Clarence Brown and based on the 1931 novel of the same name by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes (this novel itself based on a historical alleged murder committed by Madeleine Smith). Crawford plays the title character, who gets away with murder in a tale of love and blackmail.
The film has since become famous due to its unavailability. It is also remembered for the "Letty Lynton dress", designed by Adrian – a white cotton organdy gown with large ruffled sleeves, puffed at the shoulder. Macy's department store copied the dress in 1932, and it sold over 50,000 replicas nationwide.Lucien Andriot
Lucien Andriot ASC (1892-1979) was a prolific French-American cinematographer. He shot more than 200 films and television programs over the course of his career.Margaret Ayer Barnes
Margaret Ayer Barnes (April 8, 1886, Chicago, Illinois – October 25, 1967, Cambridge, Massachusetts) was an American playwright, novelist, and short-story writer. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.Natalie Schafer
Natalie Schafer (November 5, 1900 – April 10, 1991) was an American actress of film, stage and television, known for her role as Lovey Howell on the sitcom Gilligan's Island (1964–67).Omar Kiam
Omar Kiam (1894-1954) was an American fashion designer and costume designer.Paul Cavanagh
Paul Cavanagh (8 December 1888 – 15 March 1964) was an English film actor. He appeared in more than 100 films between 1928 and 1959.Robert Stevenson (director)
Robert Edward Stevenson (31 March 1905 – 30 April 1986) was an English film writer and director.
After directing a number of British films, including King Solomon's Mines (1937), he was given a contract by David O. Selznick and moved to Hollywood in the 1940s. He ended up directing 19 films for the Walt Disney Company in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, becoming the most commercially successful director in the history of film. Stevenson is best remembered for directing the Julie Andrews musical Mary Poppins (1964), for which Andrews won the Academy Award for Best Actress and Stevenson was nominated for Best Director. With Disney, he also directed the first two Herbie films, The Love Bug (1968) and Herbie Rides Again (1974), as well as Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). Three of his films featured English actor David Tomlinson.William Lundigan
William Lundigan (June 12, 1914 – December 20, 1975) was an American film actor. His more than 125 films include Dodge City (1939), The Fighting 69th (1940), The Sea Hawk (1940), Santa Fe Trail (1940), Dishonored Lady (1947), Pinky (1949), Love Nest (1951) with Marilyn Monroe, The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951) and Inferno (1953).Years of Grace
Years of Grace is a 1930 novel by Margaret Ayer Barnes. It won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1931. Despite this, it is not her most well-known work; that honor belongs to Dishonored Lady, a play she co-wrote with Edward Sheldon, which was adapted twice into film (first as Letty Lynton and later with its actual title).
Barnes' alma mater, Bryn Mawr College, along with the characters of college presidents M. Carey Thomas and Marion Park figure prominently in this work. The story, beginning in the 1890s and continuing into the 1930s, chronicles the life of Jane Ward Carver from her teens to age fifty-four. This novel follows many of the same themes as Barnes' other works. Centering on the social manners of upper middle class society, her female protagonists are often traditionalists, struggling to uphold conventional morality in the face of changing social climates.