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A Stolen Life (1946)

 -  Drama  -  6 July 1946 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,602 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 5 critic

When a woman's twin sister is drowned, she assumes her identity in order to be close to the man she feels her sister took from her years before.



(screen play), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Title: A Stolen Life (1946)

A Stolen Life (1946) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
Kate Bosworth / Patricia Bosworth
Bill Emerson
Eben Folger
Freddie Linley (as Charlie Ruggles)
Jack R. Talbot
Peggy Knudsen ...
Esther Dale ...
Mrs. Johnson
Clara Blandick ...
Joan Winfield ...


Kate Bosworth and her twin sister Patricia fall in love with Nantucket lighthouse inspector Bill Emerson. Patricia and Bill are married. To forget, Kate returns to painting. Bill goes to Chile; Kate and Patricia go sailing; Patricia is washed overboard and drowned. Kate's boat capsizes and, when she recovers consciousness ashore, she (believed to be Patricia) is told that Bill is returning from Chile. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 July 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Stolen Life  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on August 25, 1947 with Bette Davis and Glenn Ford reprising their film roles. See more »


Featured in Okay for Sound (1946) See more »


The Sailor's Hornpipe
See more »

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User Reviews

Masterpiece of unbelievable quality
27 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was compelled to write a review after taking note of how many reviews (including Leonard Maltin's) which managed to underrate, or not fully understand, this remarkable film (although do check the appropriately high IMDb rating).

It seems we are living in an era which looks at all things "melodramatic" or "sentimental" condescendingly. We really shouldn't. There is an art to the melodrama, commonly degraded as a "women's picture," as there is to any art. And make no mistake, this is the best kind of art. Ripe with symbolism, A Stolen Life suggests much more than it tells, makes us feel much more than if we were simply to react upon what we saw on the screen.

The film really isn't about twins, one good and one bad, at all. That's not what this film is about, so forget that silly plot summary. The film is deep, complex, lushly romantic, incredibly intelligent. Just little things the average viewer may overlook, like during the drowning scene when the wedding ring comes off in Davis's hand as she tries so desperately to save her sister from drowning.. Or the way the artist sister is shy, introspective, and told she must fight for her man (but she doesn't, she has too much pride, so she waits for him--telling her artist friend she won't settle for something less, how she wants the "grand passion"). He looks at her bewildered, but also with respect, because maybe love really is about grand passion. He was just too cynical for her. Then we have that MARVELOUS ending--I won't give it away. All I will say is in 1946, at least, the hope of grand passion in love was not considered being "too optimistic, too sappy" as it may appear to modern, cynical audiences.

Look at this film in awe. It is that amazing. Consider all the thoughtful little touches throughout the film. How it consistently and cleverly surprises us and avoids clichés (to the point we don't even anticipate a cliché...everything is fresh).

The cinematography, the gorgeous closeups of Bette (never lovelier), the extremely high production values (makes Humoresque look like a B picture--Now Voyager, too). Glenn Ford, young, handsome, and giving a great performance, as does Bette.

I cried when I saw this film. Rarely does that happen--I almost forgot I could cry. Things like that sometimes happen. You see a great film and you don't even think about it--the tears just fall. This is not a film to be scrutinized, perhaps not even a film to be respected. There are lots of films out there for that--we are just supposed to appreciate and respect their quality. We may not truly love them. A Stolen Life, well, this is a film to love.

So what is it really about? It's about wanting to be someone you aren't, wanting someone to love you for who you really are, trying to find out what's wrong with you that makes the person you love want someone else. The heroine learns in the end she doesn't have to change. She was shy, inward, reserved, but that was no crime. And when the man learns the truth about her, how much she hurt seeing him hurt by her sister, he loves her. We knew from the beginning he always did. We just came to doubt it, through the insecurity, loneliness, and sense of inferiority Davis played so well as the shy sister. These themes are the timeless ones. People still read Jane Austen, don't they? And the most vivid thing I remember throughout the film was how Davis, as the shy sister, truly believed (and was told by others), how the man she loved did not love her. And how wrong they all were. Sometimes nobody knows what is in a person's heart but themselves.

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