Also known as: Sins of Madeline (US reissue title)
Release Date: May 16th, 1947
Directed by: Robert Stevenson
Written by: Edmund H. North
Based on: Dishonored Lady by Edward Sheldon, Margaret Ayer Barnes
Music by: Carmen Dragon
Cast: Hedy Lamarr, Dennis O’Keefe, John Loder, Margaret Hamilton
Hunt Stromberg Productions, Mars Film Corporation, United Artists, 85 Minutes
“I only earn $100 a week and you know I can’t live on that.” – Freddie
The high point of any Hedy Lamarr movie is Hedy Lamarr. She’s a better actress than she was given credit for during her time but at least she left behind a great legacy and has stood the test of time, as an old school starlet that is probably more beloved by film aficionados now than she was back in her heyday.
Beyond acting, she was also a film producer and an inventor. In fact, she was a genius and one of her inventions was an early version of FHSS (Frequency-hopping spread spectrum).
In Dishonored Lady, she might be at her best. Granted, I like the film The Strange Woman more but here, she really transcends the film and it is hard not to fall head over heels for her character, Madeline.
In this film, she finds herself in a terrible situation where her past comes back to haunt her after changing her identity and finding a new love. Needless to say, this is a story with a lot of layers and some pretty dastardly characters.
Overall, though, I think the picture itself is pretty weak. Lamarr’s performance is great, as is the always enjoyable Dennis O’Keefe. The narrative just feels somewhat disjointed and the pacing is a bit wonky.
Additionally, this isn’t a great looking film-noir when compared to the others from the classic era. It’s shot pretty straightforward and doesn’t have too much artistic flourish.
Still, this is a mostly enjoyable picture and it really showcases how good Lamarr was in her prime.
Also, the film features Margaret Hamilton in a supporting role and it’s always cool seeing the Wicked Witch of the West pop up in other things.
Pairs well with: other noir films of the ’40s and ’50s, specifically those with Hedy Lamarr like The Conspirators, The Strange Woman, A Lady Without Passport and The Female Animal.