|Directed by||David Lean|
|Written by|| Stanley Haynes |
|Produced by||Stanley Haynes|
|Starring|| Ann Todd |
|Edited by|| Clive Donner |
|Music by||William Alwyn|
|Distributed by||The Rank Organization|
Madeleine is a 1950 British film noir directed by David Lean, based on a true story of Madeleine Smith, a young Glasgow woman from a wealthy family who was tried in 1857 for the murder of her lover, Emile L'Angelier. The trial was much publicised in the newspapers of the day and labelled "the trial of the century". Lean's adaptation of the story starred his wife, Ann Todd, with Ivan Desny as her character's French lover. Norman Wooland played the respectable suitor and Leslie Banks the authoritarian father, both of whom are unaware of Madeleine's secret life. Lean made the film primarily as a "wedding present" to Todd, who had previously played the role onstage. He was never satisfied with the film and cited it as his least favourite feature-length movie.
The film begins at 7 Blythswood Square, Glasgow, in a contemporary setting, then jumps back to the past in the early 19th century.
The film dramatises events leading up to the 1857 trial of an otherwise-respectable young woman, Madeleine Smith (Ann Todd), for the murder of her draper's-assistant and lover, Frenchman Emile L'Angelier (Ivan Desny). The trial produced the uniquely Scottish verdict of "not proven", which left Madeleine a free woman. The film begins with the purchase of a house in Glasgow by an upper middle-class Victorian family. Their eldest daughter Madeleine claims the basement bedroom so she will have easy access to the servants' entrance and be able to entertain her lover, without her family's knowledge.
The relationship continues and the couple becomes secretly engaged, but L'Angelier begins to press Madeleine to reveal his existence to her father, so they can marry. Frightened of her authoritarian father, Madeleine is reluctant to do so. Eventually, she visits L'Angelier in his room and says she will elope with him, rather than face telling her father. L'Angelier says he could never marry her this way. Madeleine now realises that he loves her not for herself, but only as a means to recover his position in society. She says their relationship is over and demands all her letters be returned.
During the time that Madeleine has been seeing L'Angelier, her father has been encouraging her to accept the attentions of a wealthy society gentleman, William Minnoch (Norman Wooland). After breaking her engagement with L'Angelier, Madeleine tells Mr. Minnoch that she will accept his marriage proposal. Her family is happy, but L'Angelier shows up threatening to show her father the compromising letters in his possession, unless she continues to see him. Saying nothing of her new engagement, Madeleine reluctantly agrees.
Some weeks later, L'Angelier becomes very ill. He recovers, but later suffers a fatal relapse. When the cause of death is proven to be arsenic poisoning, a friend of L'Angelier points the finger of suspicion at Madeleine, who is found to have had arsenic in her possession at the time of L'Angelier's death. The remainder of the film covers the court case, finishing with the verdict of "not proven", a uniquely Scottish verdict which releases Madeleine from custody as neither guilty nor not guilty.
Charles Bennett wrote a version of the story, meaning to direct but his script was not used because David Lean wanted to make a version starring his wife Ann Todd.
Strong Poison is a 1930 mystery novel by Dorothy L. Sayers, her fifth featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and the first in which Harriet Vane appears.
The Paradine Case is a 1947 American film noir courtroom drama film, set in England, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by David O. Selznick. The screenplay was written by Selznick and an uncredited Ben Hecht, from an adaptation by Alma Reville and James Bridie of the 1933 novel of the same title by Robert Smythe Hichens. The film stars Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Alida Valli, Charles Laughton, Charles Coburn, Ethel Barrymore, and Louis Jourdan. It tells of an English barrister who falls in love with a woman who is accused of murder, and how it affects his relationship with his wife.
Not proven is a verdict available to a court of law in Scotland. Under Scots law, a criminal trial may end in one of three verdicts, one of conviction ("guilty") and two of acquittal.
Dorothy Ann Todd was an English film, television and stage actress who achieved international fame when she starred in 1945's The Seventh Veil. From 1949 to 1957 she was married to David Lean who directed her in 1949's The Passionate Friends, 1950's Madeleine and 1952's The Sound Barrier. She was a member of The Old Vic theatre company and in 1957 starred in a Broadway play. In her later years she wrote, produced and directed travel documentaries.
Humiliated and Insulted — also known in English as The Insulted and Humiliated, The Insulted and the Injured or Injury and Insult — is a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, first published in 1861 in the monthly magazine Vremya.
Madeleine Hamilton Smith was a 19th-century Glasgow socialite who was the accused in a sensational murder trial in Scotland in 1857.
Rt Hon John Inglis, Lord Glencorse FRSE DCL LLD was a Scottish politician and judge. He was Lord President of the Court of Session (1867–1891).
Blythswood Hill, crowned by the elegance of Blythswood Square, is the wealthiest part of central Glasgow, Scotland. It extends from the west edge of Buchanan Street to Gordon Street and Bothwell Street, Charing Cross, Sauchiehall Street and Garnethill. Developed as the city's wealthiest and healthiest residential area from 1800 onwards, its Georgian and Victorian architecture continues as a Conservation Area of international note. It started as the "Magnificent New Town of Blythswood" becoming an integral part of the city-centre's business and social life.
Florence Elizabeth Chandler Maybrick was an American woman convicted in the United Kingdom of murdering her husband, cotton merchant James Maybrick.
Norman Wooland was an English character actor who appeared in many major films, including several Shakespearean adaptations.
Mary Ann Cotton was an English convicted murderer who was executed for poisoning her stepson. Despite her sole conviction for murder, she is believed to have been a serial killer who killed many others including 11 of her 13 children and three of her four husbands for their insurance policies. Her preferred method of killing was poisoning with arsenic.
The Square Mile of Murder relates to an area of west-central Glasgow, Scotland. The term was first coined by the Scottish journalist and author Jack House, whose 1961 book of the same name was based on the fact that four of Scotland's most infamous murders were committed within an area of 1 square mile.
Ivan Desny was a Chinese-born actor of Russian descent.
Blythswood Square is the Georgian square on Blythswood Hill in the heart of the City of Glasgow, Scotland. The square is part of the 'Magnificent New Town of Blythswood' built in the 1800s on the rising empty ground west of a very new Buchanan Street. These open grounds were part of the vast Lands of Blythswood stretching to the River Kelvin acquired by the Douglas-Campbell family in the 17th century. The Blythswood district became a Conservation Area in 1970, because of its important architectural and historic buildings.
Events from the year 1857 in Scotland.
Killer in Close-Up was a blanket title covering four live television drama plays produced by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1957 and 1958. It could be seen as the first anthology series produced for Australian television.
John Gray Wilson QC was a Scottish advocate, writer and Liberal Party politician.
The Ramshorn Cemetery is a cemetery in Scotland and one of Glasgow's older burial grounds, located within the Merchant City district, and along with its accompanying church, is owned by the University of Strathclyde. It has had various names, both official and unofficial: North West Parish Kirkyard; St David's Kirkyard; and Ramshorn and Blackfriars. The latter name tells of its link to Blackfriars Church, linking in turn to the pre-Reformation connection to the Blackfriars Monastery in Glasgow.
Felicia Dorothea Kate Dover was an English woman who was tried for murder and convicted of manslaughter in 1882 following the death of Thomas Skinner from arsenic poisoning. She was trained as an artist at Sheffield School of Art and was skilled in drawing flowers. She was popularly known as the Queen of Heeley due to her artistic interests and her standard of dress.
Annie Hearn was the assumed but known name of an arsenic poisoner in England in the 1920s/30s. Whilst Annie was found not guilty, all modern opinion concludes the weight of coincidental would point to her having murdered at least three people.