6.4/10
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37 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:

Men loved her... At their own Risk! 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 original working title "Desirable Woman" was changed to "The Woman on the Beach" in order to cash in on the success of the similarly titled The Woman in the Window (1944), which also starred Joan Bennett. See more »

Goofs

Peggy says her husband's "optic nerve was cut," which is why he's blind. But, although she refers to the optic nerve in the singular, people have two optic nerves - one for each eye. See more »

Quotes

Scott: Answer me Peggy, was there anything between you and Bill?
Peggy: Oh, for heaven's sake, Scott, what of it? You're not my husband.
Scott: Peggy, you're nothing but a...
Peggy: Go on. Say it - I'm a tramp. You're just finding that out?
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

 
Striving for psychological depth, and getting halfway there
2 May 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Woman on the Beach (1947)

An interesting psycho-drama. The plot is a contrivance, limited to one general scene on an ocean beach, where a soldier (Robert Ryan) is struggling with terrible memories of the war. He is apparently in love with one woman but then he meets a far more beguiling and mysterious woman (Joan Bennett), already married to a man who has recently gone blind.

So there are the four characters. Each is loaded with qualities that are plain to see and that guide their decisions in extreme ways. Ryan, as an actor, is not to everyone's taste, but he has grown on me over the years. The stiff posture and equally stiff verbal delivery is laced with feeling, like he's constantly wound up too tight. That's perfect here for a man still tormented by violent dreams and uncertainty in his lonely life.

Bennett plays a kind of woman who isn't quite femme fatale because she isn't quite manipulating Ryan without his knowing, but she has a sinister look and tone to her voice that's terrific. It turns out she hates her husband, not having to do with his blindness, but because he's cruel to her. So it naturally occurs to both Ryan and Bennett in different ways that the blind husband might be dispensable somehow, even if neither is quite prepared for murder.

The husband is given an earthy, almost admirable quality that is wonderfully at odds with how he treats Bennett. And the fourth leading character, the sweet woman who is slowly seeing Ryan slip out of her future, is the one symbol of straight forward simplicity and honesty.

There are scenes along the cliffs, on the stormy waters, at night in the grasses, and in a shipwrecked hull. You feel sometimes that it's almost a play, scripted tightly (too tightly) and staged in a limited physical world (with even the ocean scene seeming constrained in space). But this works, in a way, because you know it's a study of sorts, not a slice of real life. The one real flaw is having the blind man just too able to walk and do things without his eyes, never stumbling, never missing by an inch something he's reaching for.

This movie was a surprise in many ways. I haven't seen one quite like it, and Ryan and Bennett are really both vivid and strangely deep. If the end leaves you unsatisfied, you're not alone. It's too easy, and it shows no psychological insight after all the probing and groping prior. Even so, it's strong enough to work as a stylized piece, an artifice with bits of truth tucked in the edges.


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