Madeleine (1950)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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David Lean's Madeleine was inspired by a true story that rocked the English legal system to its foundations in the mid-19th century. Told in flashback, the film explains why aristocratic young Scotswoman Madeleine Smith (Ann Todd, then the wife of director Lean) is on trial for murder. The audience is apprised of Madeleine's illicit romance with deceptively charming Frenchman Emile L'Angelier (Ivan Desny), her futile attempts to break off the relationship, her "proper" betrothal to Englishman William Minnoch (Norman Wooland), and the murder by poison of the now-inconvenient L'Angelier. The jury's verdict was as controversial in 1950 as it had been a century earlier. David Lean and scenarists Stanley Haynes and Nicholas Phipps refuse to take sides, permitting the viewers to draw their own conclusions about the notorious Madeleine.
Classics , Drama
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Written By:
In Theaters:
Universal Pictures

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Ann Todd
as Madeleine Smith
Ivan Desny
as Emile L'Anglier
Norman Wooland
as William Minnoch
Leslie Banks
as James Smith
Edward Chapman
as Dr. Thompson
Barbara Everest
as Mrs. Smith
André Morell
as Dean of Faculty
Barry Jones
as Lord Advocate
Susan Stranks
as Janet Smith
Elizabeth Sellars
as Christina
Jean Cadell
as Mrs. Jenkins
Ivor Barnard
as Mr. Murdoch
David Morne
as Lord Justice
Patricia Raine
as Bessie Smith
Eugene Deckers
as Mr. Thau
Amy Veness
as Miss Aiken
John Laurie
as Scots Divine
Irene Browne
as Miss Grant
Henry Edwards
as Clerk of the Court
Moyra Fraser
as Dancer
Kynaston Reeves
as Dr. Penny
Cameron Hall
as Dr. Yeoman
Doug Barr
as William the Boot Boy
James McKechnie
as Commentator
Anthony Newley
as Chemist's Assistant
Eva Bartok
as Girl
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Critic Reviews for Madeleine

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

One of three films Lean made virtually as star vehicles for his wife Ann Todd. Here she manages to extend the range of her semi-hysterical screen personality into a flimsily forceful character who pits her amoral deviousness against... rigid hypocrisy.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

This compelling character study is one of the three films David Lean made with his then wife Ann Todd.

Full Review… | April 19, 2011

Murder underneath patrician façades

Full Review… | March 13, 2010

The script and direction are handled with amazing restraint, cleverly and carefully constructed, heightened by Todd's inherently enigmatic image.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
TV Guide

Well-made courtroom drama.

Full Review… | March 25, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Madeleine

Another piece of Lean excellence as he handles a story of dark romance and accusations of murder. It's a rare ambiguous story as we see what the court is told and yet nothing more. Whether she is guilty or not is entirely in our hands as the audience. We're not spoon fed and it works tremendously well. The romantic 1st half is well plotted and we can understand perfectly how Madeleine's affections change. It's a good old fashioned romance where love isn't enough. Other things such as respect, class and social standing must be considered. It's also great to see a film in which the man the parents approve of isn't some slimy arrogant social misfit. It intrigues and entertains but you can't expect much less from a Lean picture.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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