- 1 hr 54 min
Madeleine is a 1950 British drama film directed by David Lean and starring Ann Todd, Norman Wooland, and Ivan Desny. The movie is set in Scotland and is based on the true story of Madeleine Smith, a young Scottish woman who in 1857 was accused of poisoning her lover Emile L'Angelier. The movie follows Madeleine's trial and her attempts to clear her name. The movie is atmospheric, with moody cinematography that captures the dreary Scottish landscapes and adds a sense of foreboding to the proceedings. The performances are top-notch, particularly Ann Todd as Madeleine, who delivers a nuanced and complex portrayal of a woman who is both sympathetic and morally ambiguous. Norman Wooland is also excellent as Madeleine's suitor, William Minnoch, and Ivan Desny is suitably smarmy as her lover, Emile L'Angelier. The story itself is a gripping tale of love, betrayal, and murder. Madeleine is a young woman from a well-to-do family who falls in love with Emile L'Angelier, a Frenchman who is working as a clerk in Glasgow. Their relationship is complicated by class differences and the disapproval of Madeleine's family, who see Emile as beneath their social standing. As their relationship becomes more serious, Madeleine realizes that Emile is not the man she thought he was and tries to break things off with him. Emile, however, is not willing to let go and becomes increasingly desperate and obsessive. When Emile is found dead from arsenic poisoning, suspicion falls on Madeleine, who had been seen purchasing the poison. The movie then follows her trial, which becomes a media circus, with the public fascinated by the young woman accused of murdering her lover. Madeleine's guilt or innocence is left ambiguous, and the movie never fully resolves the question of whether she was a victim of circumstance or a calculating murderer. One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is its depiction of the social mores and class structures of the time. Madeleine is a young woman who chafes against the restrictions placed on her by her family and society, but ultimately finds herself hemmed in by those same forces. The movie also explores the idea of justice and the ways in which the legal system can be influenced by public opinion and politics. Overall, Madeleine is a well-crafted and emotionally engaging movie that offers a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era. It is a story that still resonates today, with its exploration of gender, class, and power. The movie is a testament to the skill of its director and the performances of its actors, and deserves to be better known.