The Accused (1949 film)

The Accused

Theatrical release poster
Directed by William Dieterle
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay by Ketti Frings
Based on the novel Be Still, My Love
by June Truesdell
Starring Loretta Young
Robert Cummings
Wendell Corey
Sam Jaffe
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography Milton R. Krasner
Edited by Warren Low
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • January 14, 1949 (1949-01-14) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Accused is a 1949 American film noir directed by William Dieterle and written by Ketti Frings, based on Be Still, My Love, a 1947 novel written by June Truesdell. The drama features Loretta Young, Robert Cummings, Wendell Corey and Sam Jaffe.[1]


Wilma Tuttle (Young) is a college professor who arouses the sexual interest of her student Bill Perry (Douglas Dick). When Perry tries to rape Tuttle, she beats him to death with a tire iron. She covers up her crime by making it seem as though Perry was killed while diving into the sea from a precipitous cliff. As she follows the police investigation of Perry's death, Wilma realizes that she'll never be able to escape her conscience, especially when she falls in love with Warren Ford (Cummings), the dead boy's guardian.



Critical response

The New York Times gave the film a positive review: "Murder is a common and salable screen commodity...The Accused, a super-duper psychological job, well spiced with terminology which sounds impressive, if not always crystal clear in meaning, and the performers go about their business with an earnestness which commands attention. Under William Dieterle's assured direction, the story flows smoothly and methodically builds up suspense to a punchy climax which leaves it to the audience to determine whether the defendant should be punished or go free."[2]

Variety magazine also praised it: "The Accused exploits fear and emotional violence into a high grade melodrama...Director William Dieterle, with a solid story foundation and an ace cast upon which to build, marches the melodrama along with a touch that keeps punching continually at audience emotions...Loretta Young's portrayal of the distraught professor plays strongly for sympathy. It's an intelligent delineation, gifting the role with life. She gets under the skin in bringing out the mental processes of an intelligent woman who knows she has done wrong but believes that her trail is so covered that murder will never out."[3]


  1. The Accused at the Internet Movie Database.
  2. The New York Times. Film review, "Psychological Murder Drama at Paramount", January 13, 1949. Last accessed: January 7, 2008.
  3. Variety. Film review, January 13, 1949. Last accessed: January 7, 2008.
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