The Accused (1949)

101 mins | Mystery | 14 January 1949

Director:

William Dieterle

Writer:

Ketti Frings

Producer:

Hal B. Wallis

Cinematographer:

Milton Krasner

Editor:

Warren Low

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Earl Hedrick

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

June Truesdell's novel was first serialized in Today's Woman magazine in May 1947. The working titles of this film were Be Still My Love and Strange Deception . Information in the Hal Wallis Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that actor Henry Travers was initially cast as "Dr. Romley," but withdrew from the role. In addition, Lewis Allen was originally slated to direct the film as part of Paramount's 1947 production schedule, but heithdrew when Paulette Goddard refused to appear in the film. HR reported the following information about the production: Wallis initially purchased the rights to the June Truesdell novel as a vehicle for Barbara Stanwyck, but was unable to secure Stanwyck's services. Rosalind Russell was also considered for the lead role in this film. Director Byron Haskin was to replace Allen, but when Wallis postponed production due to casting difficulties, Haskin dropped out. This film was shot on location in and around Los Angeles, CA. Some specific locations include the UCLA campus, the Civic Center and the Malibu coastline. Although reviews claimed that French actress Suzanne Dalbert made her debut in this film, she had previously appeared in a bit part in Sorry, Wrong Number (see below). Loretta Young and Robert Cummings reprised their roles in a 28 Mar 1949 Lux Radio Theatre ... More Less

June Truesdell's novel was first serialized in Today's Woman magazine in May 1947. The working titles of this film were Be Still My Love and Strange Deception . Information in the Hal Wallis Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that actor Henry Travers was initially cast as "Dr. Romley," but withdrew from the role. In addition, Lewis Allen was originally slated to direct the film as part of Paramount's 1947 production schedule, but heithdrew when Paulette Goddard refused to appear in the film. HR reported the following information about the production: Wallis initially purchased the rights to the June Truesdell novel as a vehicle for Barbara Stanwyck, but was unable to secure Stanwyck's services. Rosalind Russell was also considered for the lead role in this film. Director Byron Haskin was to replace Allen, but when Wallis postponed production due to casting difficulties, Haskin dropped out. This film was shot on location in and around Los Angeles, CA. Some specific locations include the UCLA campus, the Civic Center and the Malibu coastline. Although reviews claimed that French actress Suzanne Dalbert made her debut in this film, she had previously appeared in a bit part in Sorry, Wrong Number (see below). Loretta Young and Robert Cummings reprised their roles in a 28 Mar 1949 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Nov 1948.
---
Daily Variety
17 Nov 48
p. 3, 11
Film Daily
17 Nov 48
p. 5.
Hollywood Citizen-News
10 Dec 1948.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1946.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 47
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 47
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 48
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 49
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Nov 48
pp. 4389-90.
New York Times
13 Jan 49
p. 26.
Variety
11 Jun 1946.
---
Variety
17 Nov 48
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Hal Wallis' Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Asst to prod
WRITERS
Contr to scr constr
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed supv
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Props
Props
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Asst prod mgr
Dial coach
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Stage eng
Cableman
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Be Still My Love by June Truesdell (New York, 1947).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Be Still My Love
Strange Deception
Release Date:
14 January 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 12 January 1949
Production Date:
12 April--25 May 1948
added scenes and retakes: 26 May and 28 May 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 January 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2069
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
101
Length(in feet):
9,055
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Late one night, psychology professor Wilma Tuttle is picked up on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu by Jack Hunter, a kind truck driver. Hunter presumes from Wilma's behavior that she has been stranded because of the unwelcome advances of a date. When Wilma gets home, she shudders, and recalls the day leading up to the evening's events: Wilma gives her university students a written examination on the conditioned reflexes of humans, asking them to describe an unnamed person by his reflexes. After student Bill Perry mercilessly mimics Wilma, she makes an appointment to see him, but then cancels and leaves him a note to consult the dean. Wilma encounters the flirtatious Bill as she is leaving, however, and after he causes her to miss her bus, he offers her a ride, then insists on dinner. As they drive to Malibu, Bill asks Wilma to analyze him, and she tells him that his brilliance and charm conceal a dangerously erratic and poorly controlled personality. Wilma's theory is soon proved correct when Bill drives to an isolated cliffside spot along the coast, changes into his bathing suit to go diving, and then sexually assaults Wilma, who unintentionally kills him while desperately fending off his attack with a tire iron. The next morning, Wilma awakens feeling ill and is obsessed with covering up Bill's death to protect her career. By coincidence, Bill's guardian, lawyer Warren Ford, calls on her and asks her to talk to Susan Duval, a female student who is infatuated with Bill and claims that she is pregnant by him. Shortly afterward, Wilma collapses from pneumonia and awakens a few days later in the university hospital, where ... +


Late one night, psychology professor Wilma Tuttle is picked up on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu by Jack Hunter, a kind truck driver. Hunter presumes from Wilma's behavior that she has been stranded because of the unwelcome advances of a date. When Wilma gets home, she shudders, and recalls the day leading up to the evening's events: Wilma gives her university students a written examination on the conditioned reflexes of humans, asking them to describe an unnamed person by his reflexes. After student Bill Perry mercilessly mimics Wilma, she makes an appointment to see him, but then cancels and leaves him a note to consult the dean. Wilma encounters the flirtatious Bill as she is leaving, however, and after he causes her to miss her bus, he offers her a ride, then insists on dinner. As they drive to Malibu, Bill asks Wilma to analyze him, and she tells him that his brilliance and charm conceal a dangerously erratic and poorly controlled personality. Wilma's theory is soon proved correct when Bill drives to an isolated cliffside spot along the coast, changes into his bathing suit to go diving, and then sexually assaults Wilma, who unintentionally kills him while desperately fending off his attack with a tire iron. The next morning, Wilma awakens feeling ill and is obsessed with covering up Bill's death to protect her career. By coincidence, Bill's guardian, lawyer Warren Ford, calls on her and asks her to talk to Susan Duval, a female student who is infatuated with Bill and claims that she is pregnant by him. Shortly afterward, Wilma collapses from pneumonia and awakens a few days later in the university hospital, where news of Bill's death has only recently been reported. A coroner's jury determines that Bill died from drowning and closes the case, but homicide lieutenant Ted Dorgan remains convinced that Bill was murdered. Fully recovered, Wilma attends Bill's funeral and meets Warren, who had sent her flowers while she was ill. After Susan comes under suspicion, Wilma defends her to the dean, claiming that she was only trying to get Bill's attention by saying she was pregnant. A cynical Ted roughly interrogates Susan, who recalls that Bill's last words were that he was going to meet with a "psychlothymiac cutie," a phrase from one of Wilma's exam questions on personality. Wilma becomes frightened when she realizes that Bill described her in his exam, and when she learns that the janitor threw out the note she had left for Bill about their canceled appointment, she replaces it with another, and shows the note and Bill's exam bluebook to Warren. In an effort to disassociate herself from Bill's description of her as a repressed prude, Wilma loosens her hair and dresses less conservatively, and the truck driver who picked her up fails to recognize her. However, while visiting Ted's office, Wilma becomes unnerved when forensics expert Dr. Romley reveals that he has determined that Bill died from a blow to the head, and that he has found splinters from Bill's abalone bucket in his lungs, which suggests that Bill did not drown in the ocean. Wilma becomes hysterical and later, both Romley and Ted are convinced that she is involved in Bill's death. Ted then uses Bill's analysis of Wilma to push her psychologically to the edge. While attending a boxing match with Warren, Wilma is shocked by the men's brutality and cries out, "Bill, you're hurting me." Warren suspects the worst, but nevertheless proposes to her and makes immediate plans to take her to his San Francisco home. Ted forestalls their departure with a subpoena, however, and with Romley's assistance, asks Wilma to participate in a demonstration of how Bill was killed. Wilma reveals her guilt when she picks up the murder weapon and delivers the same type of blows to a plaster cast of Bill's head that she had struck on the night of his death. After Wilma's arrest, Warren defends her at her trial, and in his closing statement insists that Wilma's only crime was concealment, as she killed Bill in self-defense. As Ted listens to Warren's convincing statement, he looks at Wilma's lovestruck face and suspects that he has lost the case. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.