Dishonored Lady

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Dishonored Lady
Dishonored Lady poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Produced by
Screenplay by Edmund H. North
Based onDishonored Lady
1930 play
by Edward Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes
Music by Carmen Dragon
Cinematography Lucien N. Andriot
Edited byJohn M. Foley
Hunt Stromberg Productions
Mars Film Corporation
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • May 16, 1947 (1947-05-16)(United States)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.2 million (original) [1]
Hedy Lamarr and Nicholas Joy Hedy Lamarr-Nicholas Joy in Dishonored Lady.jpg
Hedy Lamarr and Nicholas Joy

Dishonored Lady is a 1947 American film noir crime film directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Hedy Lamarr, Dennis O'Keefe, and John Loder. It is based on the 1930 play Dishonored Lady by Edward Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes. The film is also known as Sins of Madeleine. Hedy Lamarr and John Loder were married when they made this film; they divorced before the year was out. [2]


It is the story of a beautiful art department editor at a high-profile Manhattan fashion magazine who becomes a lively party girl at night. With the pressures of her work and her disappointing love life driving her to a breakdown, she seeks out the help of a psychiatrist, who recommends that she leave her job and her lifestyle behind and move into a smaller apartment under another name. Following his advice, she takes an interest in painting and meets a handsome neighbor.

Dishonored Lady was released by United Artists in the United States on May 16, 1947.


Madeleine Damien (Hedy Lamarr) is the fashion editor of a slick Manhattan magazine called Boulevard. Men are attracted to her, including boss Victor Kranish (Paul Cavanagh), wealthy advertiser Felix Courtland (John Loder) and a former assistant, Jack Garet (William Lundigan), who is now working for Courtland and blackmailing her about events from her past.

Madeleine makes a suicide attempt and is headed toward a breakdown. She crashes her car near the home of Dr. Richard Caleb (Morris Carnovsky) a psychiatrist, then, while under his care, quits her job and moves into a smaller flat under a new identity. She becomes interested in painting and in David Cousins (Dennis O'Keefe), a handsome neighbor.

After having marriage proposed to her by David, who knows nothing of her past, Madeleine is confronted by Courtland, who is still interested in her. After she slips away from his home, Garet arrives. Accused of a home burglary by Courtland, Garet bludgeons him with a table lighter. Madeleine is charged with the murder and is too depressed to defend herself. David realizes the truth, confronts Garet and manages to save Madeleine just in time.



Production was supposed to begin no later than January 1945. However, problems with the Hays Office caused a delay. The Hays Office insisted that two affairs - one in Mexico and the other in New York - might be "overloading" the picture, and also objected to the "night of sordid passion." A memo dated April 25, 1946, stated that, despite revisions, the script was unacceptable because of its gratuitous sex and its references to Madeleine's unsavory family secrets. In the released version of the story, references to Madeleine's parents were omitted completely. The character of Moreno and the affair in Mexico City were completely excised, and the "night of sordid passion" was not shown. All suggestions that Madeleine was a murderer, or had even contemplated murder, were also removed from the film. In a final studio synopsis in the Code file, Madeleine goes away on a trip hoping the time will come when David and she can be together; the reunion at the film's closing was added later. It was in production from early May to late July 1946 at California Studios.

The film went over budget by $1.2 million and was a failure at the box office. [3]

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  1. "Indies $70,000,000 Pix Output". Variety: 18. 3 November 1944. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN   978-0-299-23004-3. p203