6.5/10
1,739
36 user 23 critic

The Woman on the Beach (1947)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance | July 1947 (USA)
A Coast Guardsman suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress becomes involved with a beautiful and enigmatic seductress married to a blind painter.

Director:

Jean Renoir

Writers:

Frank Davis (screenplay), Jean Renoir (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Bennett ... Peggy
Robert Ryan ... Scott
Charles Bickford ... Tod
Nan Leslie ... Eve
Walter Sande ... Otto Wernecke
Irene Ryan ... Mrs. Wernecke
Glen Vernon ... Kirk (as Glenn Vernon)
Frank Darien Frank Darien ... Lars
Jay Norris Jay Norris ... Jimmy
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Storyline

Scott, a troubled Coast Guardsman assigned to a fog-bound station on a remote stretch of beach, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress when he survives a mine explosion that sinks his ship. Although he is engaged to a beautiful young woman who loves him, he becomes involved with an enigmatic femme fatale whom he meets near the beached wreckage of a torpedoed ship. She is married to a renowned painter who was blinded in a traumatic, but mysterious incident, details of which are very hazy. Although they only live in a small cottage, the couple have an ambivalent relationship especially in regards to his priceless cache of unsold paintings, a relationship that evolves into a romantic triangle as Scott falls under her seductive spell. Written by dule1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Go ahead and say it...I'm no good! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

July 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desirable Woman See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The last film that Jean Renoir directed in Hollywood, and a very painful experience for him as it was severely compromised. See more »

Goofs

Toward the end of the movie, Peggy is talking to Otto on the phone to warn about her husband and the Lt. It is the same phone they are each talking on. See more »

Quotes

Tod: Nice young fellow. Don't you think so?
Peggy: Yes, he is. I like him.
Tod: A little dull though.
Peggy: Strong outdoor type.
Tod: You like that, don't you Peg? You always admired virility.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, the waves wash away one set of names before the next set is displayed. See more »

Connections

Featured in Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Leonard Maltin HATES HATES HATES this movie...
15 March 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

... and only gives it 1.5/4. Well Mr. Maltin is like any other critic - a useful tool as to what might be good or bad, but in this case I strongly disagree. It walks on the wild side where most American films did not tread in 1947 unless you were making a full-out noir with people who lived on the underbelly of life.

But this film has an American coast guard officer suffering from PTSD from his wartime experiences as a protagonist (Robert Ryan as Scott), back before they knew what PTSD was and just called it shell shocked. Scott is engaged to marry machinist Eve (Nan Leslie), but then he runs into Peggy (Joan Bennett), who is collecting fire wood near a beached wrecked vessel while he is riding his horse on the beach one day.

He goes back to her beach house where she lives with her blinded husband, Tod (Charles Bickford), a great artist before his blindness, which was caused by some rough sex and broken glass??? with Peggy, so Peggy feels responsible and trapped and Tod likes it that way. Exactly HOW Peggy could accidentally do what she did is unexplained but insinuated, and I assume is completely explained in the novel from which the screenplay is adapted.

The point is, Tod knows Peggy is attracted to Scott, and he seems to enjoy toying with both of them at dinner, yet invites Scott to return to visit them. Peggy and Scott share their unhealthy obsession with past demons, and to Scott this is more attractive than healthy all American Eve. In fact, he fails to show up for their wedding with no explanation, no apology. She has to come to him to get anything close to "Gee whiz I'm sorry".

On top of Scott's PTSD, he becomes obsessed both with Peggy, who understands him and doesn't try to "fix" him and his belief that Tod is really not blind. You see, Scott knows Peggy will leave Tod if it can be proved Tod can see. Tod does seem to follow light, is adventurous in where he is willing to wander alone, and seems to be looking people in the eye when he could not if blind. Can Tod see, and how far is Scott willing to go to prove he can? Watch and find out.

Ryan is always good as the troubled complex soul - you'll never see him play Santa Claus in these old films, but at least you can understand his character. As for Charles Bickford? He was always a giant talent who let his bluntness and temper get in the way of his career. Here he uses that bluntness and temper in his performance. This is probably the biggest role he is in this late in his career, and his characterization of the enigmatic painter is terrific.

I recommend this experimental and odd little film.


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