Madame Bovary (1949)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  23 January 1950 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,733 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 15 critic

A provincial doctor's wife's romantic illusions about life and social status lead her to betray her naive husband, take on lovers and run up ruinous debts.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alf Kjellin ...
Leon Dupuis (as Christopher Kent)
Frank Allenby ...
Mayor Tuvache
Hyppolite (as Henry Morgan)
George Zucco ...
Henri Letondal ...
Esther Somers ...


French author Gustave Flaubert is on trial for writing the "indecent" novel "Madame Bovary." To prove that he wrote a moral tale, Flaubert narrates the story of beautiful Emma Bovary, an adulteress who destroyed the lives of everyone she came in contact with. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Whatever it is that French women have ... Madame Bovary had more of it! See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 January 1950 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Madame Bovary und ihre Liebhaber  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Vincente Minnelli wanted Lana Turner for the role of Emma, but Turner found the script dull and flat, refusing to accept the role; she was also pregnant at the time, another reason for her turning it down. Jennifer Jones was cast instead. See more »


Emma Bovary: Is it a crime to want things to be beautiful?
See more »


Featured in Private Screenings: Liza Minnelli (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Incorporating the Author
3 May 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Though I'm sure that the various French dramatizations of Madame Bovary are probably superior to this film, this English language version that MGM did in 1949 is as good as any we would have gotten from Hollywood. of that era. Jennifer Jones, Van Heflin, Louis Jourdan, and James Mason were unfortunately hampered by the Code in this version.

MGM's version incorporates the author right into his story. James Mason plays Gustave Flaubert and the film opens with him on trial for authoring indecent material as the French censors of the day saw Madame Bovary. While on the witness stand defending his work, he tells the story of his creation Emma Bovary, a girl with silly romantic notions who brings tragedy all around because of them.

Jennifer Jones is Emma and imagine Bernadette Soubirous who instead of having a divine experience has the misfortune to have other things peak her interest as an adolescent. She reads a whole lot of romantic novels who give her exaggerated notions about the nature of love.

She lives in a pretty dull town in Normandy which was also where Flaubert himself hailed from and which he satirizes in acid in this work. She marries solid, dependable Van Heflin who's a doctor and who she hopes will give her a better life.

It's in Heflin's character that the Code watered down what Flaubert was trying to say. Here he's an upright guy, a lot on the dull side, but dependable. In the novel he's as much desiring of social climbing as Jones is. In fact in the film he refuses to perform an operation that might gain him fame and success because he knows he's not qualified to do it. In the novel he does the operation and it ends in disaster all around.

Jones takes lovers Louis Jourdan and Alf Kjellin and runs up bills that put Heflin into financial disaster. All the while refusing to face the truth about life and herself.

Given the Code restrictions director Vincente Minnelli does as best as he can with his cast. James Mason makes a brilliant and erudite Flaubert on the stand. But considering he was on trial for indecency by not showing the alleged indecency to the fullest the Code defeated what could have been a classic.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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What a supremely selfish woman!!!! SusanJL
why make the novel into a film? phil_manic
Emma Bovary's ball gown boudica10
Is Jennifer Jones in the court scene at the end? JB-36
Anyone Notice? xQUIETxBLUESx
Hippolyte's faux operation ahall-3
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