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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film bombed at the box office, resulting in a loss to RKO of $610,000 ($7.3M in 2019) according to studio records. 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

Peggy: We used to - drink a lot. We lived in a sort of strange state of excitement, always off balance, high pitched, tense, always just at the breaking point.
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

Referenced in Nocturne (1946) See more »

User Reviews

 
uneven Renoir noir
17 August 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Joan Bennett is "The Woman on the Beach" in this off-center 1947 film also starring Robert Ryan and Charles Bickford. Directed by Jean Renoir, it apparently was badly edited by RKO; thus, it sometimes felt to this viewer as if large sections were omitted.

Robert Ryan plays Scott, a Coast Guard officer with post-traumatic stress from the war. Psychologically, he's a little off balance. I suppose saying "Robert Ryan" and "a little off balance" is saying the same thing, given the roles he played, but there we are. He's set to be married to a lovely woman, Eve, (Nan Leslie), and in fact, urges her to marry him even sooner than planned in an early scene. A few minutes later, he's madly in love with Peggy (Bennett), whom he sees collecting driftwood on the beach near an old wreck. Her husband Tod, it turns out, is a great artist, now blind from a fight with his wife. The two of them have a fairly sick relationship, with Tod apparently tempting Peggy with good-looking young guys to see if she'll cheat on him. At one point during dinner with the couple, Scott passes a lighter across to Peggy and Tod head turns as the flame passes him. When Peggy walks Scott out of the house she says, "No, Scott, you're wrong." So Scott, somewhere in a cut out section, became convinced that Tod can see, tells Peggy, and feels that Tod failed the test. But you have to fill that in because it's not in the movie. It doesn't occur to him, I suppose, that Tod felt the heat of the light. Finally, Scott takes Tod for a walk along the cliffs, determined to find out for once and for all if he can see or not.

The film holds one's interest because of the direction, atmosphere, and performances, but things seem to happen very quickly. Eve complains to Scott that he didn't stop by the night before - which she considers a sign that they are drifting apart - and he tells her that he shouldn't be married. In the film it seems like that happens within 24 hours from the time he wants to get married immediately. Fickle. One suspects another cut.

This is a film about becoming free of obsession, and though some found the end ambiguous, it did seem clear to me that there was some resolution. The three leads are excellent - Bennett and Bickford play a couple with a strong history that has led to a love/hate "Virginia Woolf" type of relationship along with infidelity on her part; Ryan, looking quite young here, is handsome, sincere and gullible as a man who, while trying to break free of his demons, walks into a situation that feeds on them rather than resolves them.

With a more judicious cutting, "The Woman on the Beach" could have been a really fantastic film, with its psychological underpinnings being far ahead of their time. As it is, it's still worth watching, though if I'd been Renoir, I would have been plenty angry at RKO for what was done to this movie.


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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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