Wilma Tuttle, psychology professor, lets aggressively brash student Bill Perry drive her home. Big mistake. After an attempted rape, Perry is dead; panicked, Wilma hides her traces and flees. As time passes, she watches the investigations of Homicide Lt. Dorgan with painfully concealed apprehension. Complicating matters: her budding romance with Warren Ford, Perry's guardian. How long can she stand the strain? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In The Accused, Loretta Young plays a psychology professor who kills an amorous male student in self-defense, then spends the rest of the movie covering up her crime. William Dieterle does an excellent job with the familiar material, and Miss Young gives a sympathetic performance. This is one of several crime pictures that Hal Walls produced in the late forties and early fifties, many of which fall into the noir category. Most of these films concern people with conflicted or tortured sexual urges, dysfunctional families, inadequate or just barely adequate men, with the women often hysterical or scheming. At the time this must have seemed daringly modern and contemporary. Now it just seems quaint, a waystation in the breakdown of small-town American values, with the action taking place in a netherworld between Andy Hardy and Tennessee Williams.
The movie is surprisingly sympathetic toward Miss Young, who, though on the cusp of middle age, still looks pretty damn beautiful. Robert Cummings is stronger than usual as her "suitor", while Wendell Corey is his inscrutably poker-faced self, as always, hinting between the lines, that had his character been better written he'd be more than up to the task. If this was so, I believe him. In a smaller role, Sam Jaffe is positively mephistopholean, delivering his lines as tartly as Corey, and in his lab scenes photographed to resemble a Dwight Frye hunchback from the thirties. A nice touch. The Accused is filled with nice touches, as Dieterle and most of his cast are much better than the script, breathing real life into it at times, which makes watching the movie a pleasure. There are no real surprises here, but lots of good scenes.
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