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Loretta Young (The Stranger, The Farmer’s Daughter) and Robert Cummings (The Bride Wore Boots, Dial M for Murder) star in the film noir classic The Accused, a story about one woman’s successful self-defense during a struggle which leads to the death of her attacker. Psychology professor Wilma Tuttle (Young) allows a male student of hers to drive her home. While en route, he attempts to rape her but is killed when his teacher fights back. After fleeing the scene, Wilma is overcome with feelings of guilt while following the murder investigation by Homicide Lt. Dorgan (Wendell Corey, I Walk Alone, Rear Window) and comforting her love interest Warren Ford (Cummings), who also happens to be her attacker’s guardian. Directed by William Dieterle (I’ll Be Seeing You, Portrait of Jennie) and shot by Milton R. Krasner (All About Eve, Love with the Proper Stranger), this brilliantly acted drama dives into the psyche of a woman torn apart by emotional violence.
Special Features: -NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Eddy Von Mueller -Theatrical Trailer -Optional English Subtitles
- Language : English, English
- Product dimensions : 13.41 x 17.2 x 1.4 cm; 60 Grams
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Unbranded
- ASIN : B09FTHM5KB
- Country of origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 21,069 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- 16,087 in Movies (Movies & TV)
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The movie is highly recommended if you enjoy 1940es Film Noir-style drama. It does need to be watched with some sensitivity to the era in which it was made. Rape was a topic that could not be discussed openly, at least not in the movies; what is shown is the student aggressively grabbing the professor and attempting to force a kiss on her, but an adult audience at the time could be expected to understand the meaning behind the action. Later it is revealed that the student's girlfriend was "in trouble," a standard euphemism conveying that he had gotten her pregnant. Given the limitations on what could be expressed in polite company, the movie is surprisingly raw in its portrayal of the out-of-control student.
The haunted college professor is vividly portrayed by Loretta Young, opposite Wendell Corey in a strong performance as the police detective who coldly and meticulously works to identify and trap the killer. The story moves along at a good pace, and the tension never really drops. My only complaint is that the final resolution, after an hour and a half of brilliantly maintained suspense, seems a little too quick and convenient. But overall, a movie well worth your time.
The DVD from CineClub Channel (displaying the CineStudio "Noir" brand on the cover) has clear picture and sound, but there is a distracting problem with the digital transfer. For some reason the movie plays at 109% of its correct speed, making both image and sound run too fast, and causing the voices of some male actors in particular to sound like they have inhaled helium. It is not unwatchable, but it distracts from the full enjoyment of the movie. To watch the movie in an approximately correct presentation you will need to adjust playback speed to 90%. Some media player software will allow you to make this adjustment (e.g. VLC Media Player), but then you will be watching on your computer screen instead of your widescreen TV. I have bought a number of CineClub DVDs before and always found them to be of high quality, which makes this botched edition especially disappointing.
Without revealing too many spoilers, the basic plot concerns a college professor, played by Loretta Young, who defends herself from a violent assault by a male student. As a result, the attacker is accidentally (?) killed. The major part of the film deals with how she psychologically deals with this outcome, and also with the investigation into the death. That's the essence of the plot.
First of all, actress Loretta Young carries almost the entire movie on her capable shoulders. The whole film revolves around her character; she is basically in every scene. And I must say that she is simply amazing; her performance should have won an Oscar. She is very impressive, displaying an intense range of emotions and mental states ranging from panic, guilt, and desperation, all the way to survival, deception, and a remarkable mastery of her wits. As an actress, she must have been exhausted when filming was completed. She has to show her entire range, not just once, but again and again. Her performance is even stronger and more convincing here than it was in the excellent and suspenseful film, The Stranger (1946), directed by Orson Welles.
Supporting players Wendell Corey and Robert Cummings are strong, too. They provide effective suspense and dramatic depth. In fact, Robert Cummings is more believable and complex here than he was in Dial M For Murder (1954). There are also nice acting turns from the wonderful Sam Jaffe, and from Douglas Dick as the student assailant.
Now, I need to quickly add that many of the attitudes and themes in the film are very sexist. In fact, millennial viewers (and others) may very well be shocked by the pervasive sexism in this movie. It's ingrained into the narrative. There are frequent comments about how intelligent and talented women are unappealing and will "never attract a man". Then, when Loretta Young's character changes her clothing and hairstyle, she suddenly becomes a "lovely gal" -- just as long as her behavior is not too professional or intellectual. Yikes. It's really obvious how sexist attitudes and harsh judgments were totally commonplace back in 1949, when this movie was released.
Still, as a suspense film, this movie is exciting and tense. And there are many stand-out scenes, such as the prize-fight, where the boxer is replaced in Loretta Young's imagination by the young man she killed! The editing here is simply amazing, where they switch back and forth between the boxer and the student in a montage of bloody combat. Truly outstanding. And there is also the scene in the forensics lab, where the technicians are eerily portrayed as sinister fiends. It's just like something out of a horror movie. And there are several other moments of gruesome tension, as well as shadowy images of total fear.
In spite of the sexist elements, and the odd hostility of Wendell Corey's character, this is nonetheless a very exciting and potent movie. I was totally caught-up in the narrative, and my sympathy for Loretta Young's character (after all, she killed in self-defense) kept me completely engrossed. Kudos to director William Dieterle for his technical mastery, and his unique vision, in this powerful noir. It deserves five stars, no question.