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This film is certified

U rating
  • Contains occasional scenes of mild threat
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Madeleine

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Madeleine U rating

David Lean’s film of an infamous 19th-century crime of passion stars his then-wife Ann Todd as the society lady on trial for murdering her lover.

Crime 1950 115 mins

Director: David Lean

Overview

David Lean’s film of an infamous 19th-century crime of passion stars his then-wife Ann Todd as the society lady on trial for murdering her lover. Todd plays Madeleine Smith, the aristocratic Glaswegian whose affair with Frenchman L'Angelier is kept secret for her family. After L'Angelier begins to pressure Madeleine into announcing their relationship, he is soon found dead from arsenic poisoning and a scandal ensues.

Lean later admitted he made the film as a “wedding present” to Todd, who’d previously had success in the same stage role. While the film wasn’t well received at the time (Lean himself was unsatisfied with the result), viewed today it stands up as a taut and accomplished court-room drama; a tenor once decried as cold and uninvolving can now be admired for its restraint and ambiguity. Restoration supported by The David Lean Foundation.