AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Woman on the Beach
Alternate Title: None So Blind
Director: Jean Renoir (Dir)
Release Date:   Jun 1947
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 7 Jun 1947
Production Date:   late Jan--late Mar 1946; addl seq began mid-Dec 1946
Duration (in mins):   70-71
Duration (in feet):   6,371
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Cast:   Joan Bennett (Peggy [Butler])  
    Robert Ryan [1909-1973] ([Lieutenant] Scott [Burnett])  
    Charles Bickford (Tod [Butler])  
    Nan Leslie (Eve [Geddes])  
    Walter Sande (Otto Wernecke)  
    Irene Ryan (Mrs. Wernecke)  
    Glenn Vernon (Kirk)  
    Frank Darien (Lars)  
    Jay Norris (Jimmy)  
    Hugh Chapman (Young fisherman)  
    Carl Faulkner (Old fisherman)  
    Maria Dodd (Nurse)  
    Harry Harvey (Dr. Smith)  
    Charles Pawley (Barton)  
    Robert Andersen (Coast guardsman)  
    Drew Miller (Coast guardsman)  
    Robert Manning (Coast guardsman)  
    Bill Shannon (Coast guardsman)  
    Harry Tyler (Blacksmith)  
    Donald Gordon (Donnie)  
    Jackie Jackson (Johnnie)  
    Carl Armstrong (Lenny)  
    John Elliott (Old workman)  
    Bonnie Blair (Partygoer)  
    Carol Donell (Partygoer)  
    Kay Christopher (Partygoer)  
    Nancy Saunders (Partygoer)  
    Martha Hyer (Mrs. Barton)  

Summary: After waking up from a battle-inspired nightmare, Lieutenant Scott Burnett, a mounted patrolman in the United States Coast Guard, confides to his friend, Otto Wernecke, that his naval war experiences have left him deeply disturbed. Scott also fears his attraction to Peggy Butler, a beautiful married woman he sees during his daily patrol and who is part of his recurring nightmare. Scott asks his girl friend, Eve Geddes, to marry him that night, and though she agrees at first, she later convinces Scott to wait another two weeks. Scott then sees Peggy on the beach collecting wood from an abandoned shipwreck, and stops to talk with her. When a tense Scott tells Peggy not to take the wood, she surmises that he is haunted by memories of a torpedoed ship and invites him to her house. There Peggy advises Scott to rid himself of his "ghosts" by not fighting them and impresses him with her understanding and compassion. Peggy and Scott's tender exchange is interrupted by the arrival of Peggy's husband Tod, a blind, renowned artist. Sensing Peggy's excitement, Tod invites Scott to stay, but he is anxious to go and returns to his station. Later that night, Tod shows up at the station and insists that Scott have dinner at his house, and Scott, who is supposed to meet Eve in town, agrees. During dinner, Scott and Tod discuss Tod's blindness, which has robbed him of his livelihood and forced him into an isolated, embittered existence with Peggy. Later, Peggy confesses to Scott that she stays with Tod because she accidentally cut his optic nerve during a drunken fight and therefore feels responsible for him. Scott, however, doubts Tod's blindness is genuine and kisses Peggy. The next day, when Eve drops by Scott's station to ask him about the previous night, he becomes angry and tells her that he is too sick to marry her. Scott then finds Peggy at the shipwreck and shares another passionate kiss with her. When Tod wanders by the wreck, seemingly aware of their presence, Scott insists that he can see and asks Peggy to leave Tod if he proves that he is not blind. After Peggy agrees, Scott invites Tod to walk with him to the cliffs and deliberately abandons him at the edge. Tod tumbles over, but only suffers bad bruises. From Tod's doctor, Scott learns that Peggy had once been involved with Eve's deceased brother and confronts her about it. Her cavalier admission of guilt convinces Scott to tell Tod the truth about the cliff incident, and Tod accepts his apologies and offers to show him some of his paintings. When Tod realizes that Peggy, who wants him to sell his valuable paintings so that they can live better, has removed her portrait, he demands that she return it immediately. As he leaves, Scott hears Tod slapping Peggy repeatedly and later finds her waiting for him at the shipwreck. Determined to rid Peggy of Tod, Scott invites him to go deep sea fishing as a fierce storm approaches, and Tod accepts. Once at sea, Scott confronts Tod about Peggy and hits him. In the ensuing fight, Scott falls overboard, but is rescued by the Coast Guard, who have been alerted by Peggy. Although Tod is furious at Scott's attack, he realizes that Peggy loves him and decides to "free" her by setting their house on fire. After his paintings go up in flames, Tod gives Peggy and Scott his blessing and heads for New York. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Jean Renoir (Dir)
  Paula Walling (Dial dir)
  James Casey (Asst dir)
  John Pommer (Asst dir)
Producer: Jack J. Gross (Exec prod)
  Will Price Assoc prod (Prod)
Writer: Frank Davis (Scr)
  Jean Renoir (Scr)
  Michael Hogan (Adpt)
Photography: Leo Tover (Dir of photog)
  Harry Wild (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Walter E. Keller (Art dir)
Film Editor: Roland Gross (Film ed)
  Lyle Boyer (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  John Sturtevant (Set dec)
Costumes: Edward Stevenson (Gowns)
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
  Hanns Eisler (Mus)
  Gil Grau (Orch arr)
Sound: Jean L. Speak (Sd)
  Clem Portman (Sd)
Special Effects: Russell A. Cully (Spec eff)
  Harold Palmer (Mont)
Production Misc: Charles H. Gardiner Lt. Comm., U.S.C.G.R. (Tech adv)
  Leonard Shannon (Unit pub wrt)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel None So Blind by Mitchell Wilson (New York, 1945).
Authors: Mitchell Wilson

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 3/1/1947 dd/mm/yyyy LP1073

PCA NO: 11459
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Artists
  Post-traumatic stress disorder
  Romantic rivalry
  United States. Coast Guard
Subjects (Minor): Battered women
  Falls from heights
  Sea rescues

Note: The working titles of this film were None So Blind and Desirable Woman . HR news items add the following information about the production: George Brent was announced in Aug 1945 as the film's star, and in Jan 1946, HR announced that Virginia Huston, who is listed in the CBCS in the role of "Eve," would be making her screen debut in the film. Nan Leslie, however, who is credited in the CBCS as playing "Alice," appeared as Eve. Exteriors were shot at Sequit Point in Southern California. Added scenes were filmed at RKO's Culver City lot. According to files in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, PCA director Joseph I. Breen deemed the film's story to be "unacceptable under the provisions of the Production Code, in that it is a story of adultery without any compensating moral values." Despite Breen's repeated objections concerning the story's love triangle and his admonitions that "Scott" not be shown kissing married "Peggy," the film was eventually approved with little alteration.
       In his autobiography, director Jean Renoir recalls that he was supposed to co-write the screenplay with executive producer Jack J. Gross, but that Gross died before the script's completion. Gross, however, did not die until 1964. The producer to whom Renoir was referring could have been Charles Koerner, the head of production at RKO, who died on 2 Feb 1946 after a bout with leukemia, or to producer Val Lewton, who did not die but, according to HR , was fired from the picture during pre-production. Renoir notes that the film was "the sort of avant-garde film which would have found its niche a quarter of a century earlier...but it had no success with American audiences. Worse still, it thoroughly displeased the RKO bosses. I was under contract to make two films for that company. A few days after the premiere I had a visit from my agent...who reported that they were ready to buy me out for a fixed sum....I never made another film in an American studio." Modern sources note that Joan Bennett requested that Renoir direct the picture, and that, following a disastrous preview in Santa Barbara, RKO executives brought in another screenwriter and demanded that Renoir reshoot half of the film. According to HR , additional shooting was done in Dec 1946. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   17 May 1947.   
Daily Variety   14 May 1947.   
Film Daily   15 May 47   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   11 May 45   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Aug 45   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Aug 45   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Jan 46   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Jan 46   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Jan 46   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jan 46   p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Mar 46   p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Dec 46   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   14 May 47   p. 3
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   24 May 47   p. 3643.
New York Times   9 Jun 47   p. 26.
Variety   23 Apr 47   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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