Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Charles Boyer and Ann Blyth discover “A Woman’s Vengeance”

A Woman’s Vengeance (1948) is an American film noir mystery directed by Zoltan Korda and starring Charles Boyer, Ann Blyth, and Jessica Tandy. The supporting cast includes Cedric Hardwicke and Mildred Natwick. The screenplay was written by Aldous Huxley which was based on his novelette The Gioconda Smile. The cinematography was by Russel Metty and the music was by Miklos Rozsa.

Henry Maurier’s (Boyer) marriage is not a happy one. His wife Emily (Rachel Kempson) is not in good health. Henry and Emily’s marriage is in name only. Henry is carrying on an affair with Doris Mead (Ann Blyth) who is much younger than he is. Meanwhile, another woman, Janet Spence (Tandy) is in love with Henry. When Emily dies suddenly, Henry quickly marries Doris.

Henry is accused of poisoning his wife and is put on trial for murder. Will the trial reveal that Henry poisoned his wife so he could marry Doris or did someone else have a motive to murder Emily?

Charles Boyer and Ann Blyth

Zolton Korda (1895 – 1961) was a Hungarian-born motion picture screenwriter, director, and producer. Along with his brothers Alexander and Vincent, he made films in Hungary and London before moving to Hollywood where they continued to make movies. Some of the films that Korda directed include The Four Feathers (1939), The Jungle Book (1942), The Macomber Affair (1947), and Cry, the Beloved Country (1951).

Charles Boyer (1899 - 1978) was a French-American stage and film actor. Boyer was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award four times. He became a major movie star in the late 1930s in films like The Garden of Allah (1936), Algiers (1938), and Love Affair (1939). He starred as the evil husband of Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight (1944). Boyer starred opposite most of the top female stars of the period including Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Irene Dunne, Jean Arthur, Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Joan Fontaine, Katharine Hepburn, and Olivia de Havilland. As he grew older, Boyer played supporting roles in film and also starred on Broadway in Kind Sir (1953 - 1954) and The Marriage-Go-Round (1958 - 1960).

Ann Blyth (1928 - ) is a retired American actress and singer. She is most famous for her role as Veda in Mildred Pierce (1945) where she played Joan Crawford’s ungrateful daughter. For her role in that film, Blyth was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Blyth’s first acting role was in Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine on Broadway. While on tour with the play, Blyth was offered a contract with Universal Studios. At Universal, Blyth starred alongside Donald O’Connor and Peggy Ann Ryan in a series of teen musicals. In 1952, Blyth was signed by M-G-M where she starred opposite Steward Granger, Robert Taylor, Howard Keel, Van Johnson, and Mario Lanza.

Jessica Tandy (1909 – 1994) was an English actress who had a long and successful career on the stage and screen. Tandy created the role of Blanche Du Bois in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar of Desire. She won a Tony Award for Best Actress for her performance in the Tennessee Williams classic. Tandy had supporting roles in films starting in 1944 supporting stars like Gregory Peck, Greer Garson, Gene Tierney, and Linda Darnell. In the 1980, her film career picked up. She won a Best Actress Academy Award for Driving Miss Daisy. At 80-years-old, Tandy became the oldest Oscar-winning actress.


To watch the film on YouTube, click here.


Click here to join the discussion on November 27, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Once you RSVP, you will receive an email invitation with a link to join the discussion on Zoom.


Discussion questions

  1. Would you classify this movie as a film noir? Why or why not?
  2. What did you think of the relationship between Boyer and Blyth? Was it believable? At the time of filming, Boyer was 49 and Blyth was 20.
  3. Jessica Tandy has a pivotal role in the film. What did you think of her performance?
  4. Did you suspect that someone other than Henry had a motive to kill Emily?
  5. Were you surprised by the film’s conclusion?
  6. Did this film remind you of any other film?



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