Wealthy vintner Paul Hochen meets blonde bombshell Phyllis in a bar...and marries her. In due course, Phyllis is bored by Paul, and finds an exciting new lover in rodeo rider San. To adjust... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Phyllis Hochen
Paul Hochen
San Sanders
Emma Hochen
Father Stephen Hochen
Luis Van Rooten ...
Ezra Benton
Joe De Santis ...
Gino Verdugo
Deputy Bob Watkins
Douglas Spencer ...
Gary Hunley ...
James Burke ...
Sheriff Tom Watling
Tol Avery ...
Dist. Atty. Carl Kramer


Wealthy vintner Paul Hochen meets blonde bombshell Phyllis in a bar...and marries her. In due course, Phyllis is bored by Paul, and finds an exciting new lover in rodeo rider San. To adjust matters, she forms a murderous scheme, which seems to be going wrong...or is it? Will irony intervene in time to thwart a seemingly perfect crime? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HALF-ANGEL......HALF-DEVIL, she made him HALF-A-MAN! ...she flaunted his hopes, taunted his dreams, turned his peaceful valley into a volcano of seething passions that even murder could not stem!


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


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Release Date:

October 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lady and the Prowler  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Two of the leads (Tom Tryon and Diana Dors) died of stomach cancer. See more »


Music by Daniele Amfitheatrof
Used instrumentally
See more »

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User Reviews

In Lurid Technicolor
13 July 2001 | by (Out there in the dark) – See all my reviews

"The Unholy Wife" is not quite as sensational as a plot summary might make it sound. The femme fatale lead character does perpetrate a nasty little scheme, but it does not add up to a great deal. John Farrow's matter-of-fact directing style is partly responsible. A larger problem is in the impersonation by Diana Dors. Not a bad actress, really, sex goddess Dors just never seems as selfishly malevolent as her character is supposed to be. Things seem to happen around her, and she gets ideas from others as well.

There is definite camp appeal in watching Dors swivel down the ludicrously shadowy hallways of her husband's mansion, her impossibly complicated hairdo cascading around a Monroe-esquire facial expression. This is the kind of picture in which the viewer cannot wait for the heroine to do something evil. But, as indicated, Dors never really delivers. Considering her one violent act, she is probably merely stupid.

Rod Steiger does an early one of his 'nearly crazy' types here, mercurial but volatile. Beulah Bondi is non-stop hysterical. And the unfortunate Tom Tryon serves little purpose than to look good.

Yet, the whole thing has a luridly Technicolor, tabloid quality that is not without a certain appeal. It's interesting as the kind of B movie that--in a rather mild way--reflects an era (1957) of whispered sexuality and sensationalized scandal.

24 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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