This silent film is an early Alfred Hitchcock classic. It is set in the 1920's which was a time of strict moral values.
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The simple act of having a portrait painted caused Larita Filton more grief than she could ever imagine. As she innocently sat for the portrait, her husband (Frank Dyall) continuously drank himself into an angry stupor. After a particularly bad night, Larita confesses abuse to the artist, Claude Robson (Eric Bransby Williams). He is indignant at the truth of Larita's bruises. He is also hiding the secret that he has fallen in love with her. Knowing her pain, he cannot deny his feelings any longer and tries to take the unsuspecting wife into his arms. She resists his charms but during this course of events, her jealous husband walks in. He accuses the woman of being unfaithful and begins to beat the artist about the head with his cane. The frightened Claude pulls a gun, shoots and Mr. Filton goes down. Claude is aghast believing that he has killed the angered husband. The landlady attracts the police to the commotion and before they arrive, Claude commits suicide. Larita is shocked by the whole episode.
The next scene finds her in divorce court accused of a sordid affair. Proving her innocence is impossible as the co-defendant Claude is dead therefore unable to testify. To make matters worse, Claude has left the lovely lady his extensive fortune. The question the jury poses is why he would do that if they weren't involved. Poor Larita is publicly convicted before she even went to court. As she exits the courtroom she is hounded by merciless press and now branded a woman of easy virtue. She flees to South France in an attempt to escape.
France is a refreshing change for a while at least. No one here knows her or her past and she can try to emotionally heal from the whole bad scene she left behind. One fateful afternoon finds her sitting near the tennis courts enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Two men are carelessly playing tennis and hit her with the ball. A handsome English chap by the name of John Whittaker (Robin Irvine) rushes to her aid and attempts to comfort her bruise. He is obviously taken with her and requests to see her again. They continue the romance for sometime and eventually John begins to push Larita for marriage. She valiantly resists but gives in when John decides to return to England. She does not wish to loose the new love she has found and they book passage for home.
The happy couple are quite content and looking forward to being back at the family manor, Moat House. It is a large but humble abode and the family appears to be very comfortable there. They are pleased to see their son returns, however, they are not so pleased when they meet the glamorous new bride. John's mother (Violet Farebrother) and two sisters immediately begin to harass Larita and make her feel as unwelcome as possible. This soon begins to strain Larita's nerves. Especially when she is told to stay in her room during the big party. She decides instead to fight back and embarrass Mrs. Whittaker unforgivably. The nasty of woman vows revenge and is determined to find the truth of who her new daughter-in-law really is. Once again, luck isn't kind to Larita as the chirping sisters discover her photo in a tabloid and rush to show mother. The family confronts her and calls John in to tell him the news. Will he stand behind Larita or will she end up in divorce court again?
The review of this Movie prepared by Talea