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The Accused (1949)

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A beautiful psychology professor tries to hide a self-defense killing.



(screenplay), (novel), 6 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Lt. Ted Dorgan
Dr. Romley
Bill Perry
Suzanne Dalbert ...
Susan Duval
Mrs. Conner
Mickey Knox ...
Jack Hunter
George Spaulding ...
Dean Rhodes
Francis Pierlot ...
Dr. Vinson
Miss Rice - Nurse
Carole Mathews ...
Billy Mauch ...
Harry Brice (as Bill Mauch)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The standout suspense triumph of the year! See more »


See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 January 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Strange Deception  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


[last lines]
Dorgan's colleague: Don't look so gloomy. We haven't lost yet.
[Dorgan looks at Wilma's innocent facial expression]
Lt. Ted Dorgan: Oh we have.
See more »


Referenced in Choose Me (1984) See more »


Latin Rhythm
Music by Victor Young
See more »

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User Reviews

Structural flaws mar suspense in Loretta Young vehicle
14 February 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

The twist on what we now call sexual harassment lingers as the most interesting aspect of The Accused, an innocuous suspense story with some effective moments. Another lingering aftertaste is the midcentury stereotype of the female academic that's foisted on star Loretta Young -- and the viewer.

Psychology professor Young (!), guarded and old-maidish (she's even saddled with the glamourproof name Wilma Tuttle), becomes the object of the unhealthy attentions of one of her students (Douglas Dick). On the pretext of diving for abalone shells off Malibu, he spirits her off to a secluded lover's lane one night and forces himself on her. She bashes in his skull and fakes his death to look accidental.

Then she begins to attract more attention -- from Robert Cummings, a lawyer friend of the dead boy's family (he falls for her), and Wendell Corey, a dogged homicide cop. In the acting department, there's no contest; Cummings stays his usual namby-pamby self, while Corey delivers a strong, unsentimental performance, among his best.

Much of William Dieterle's direction shows a practiced hand. Especially well handled are the opening sequence of Young fleeing the crime scene, a boxing match where she suffers a flashback, and the ghoulish reconstructions of the murder by forensic pathologist Sam Jaffe.

But a glaring structural flaw keeps The Accused lukewarm. We know from the outset that Young acted in self-defense, which pretty well leeches all the suspense out of Corey's implacable pursuit; the tightening case against her packs no impact because it's safe to assume she won't be spending any time with those harpies from Caged. Consequently the film focuses more on her emergence from a cocoon of droopy skirts, a bun in her hair, sleeping pills and swooning spells into a seductive butterfly flitting into Cummings' net.

Dick, as the young narcissist, calls to mind such amoral charmers as Robert Walker in Strangers On A Train and John Dall in Rope (a film in which Dick also appeared). It's he -- not young nor Cummings -- who supplies what faint erotic spark this movie, about a sexually-based murder, dares to kindle.

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