AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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So Evil My Love
Director: Lewis Allen (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Aug 1948
Premiere Information:   London, England premiere: 27 May 1948
Production Date:   6 May--12 Aug 1947 at D. & P. Studios Ltd., England
Duration (in mins):   109 or 112
Duration (in feet):   9,799
Duration (in reels):   12
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Cast:   Ray Milland (Mark Bellis)  
    Ann Todd (Olivia Harwood)  
    Geraldine Fitzgerald (Susan Courtney)  
    Leo G. Carroll (Jarvis)  
    Raymond Huntley (Henry Courtney)  
    Raymond Lovell (Edgar [Bellamy])  
    Martita Hunt (Mrs. Courtney, Sr.)  
    Moira Lister (Kitty Feathers)  
    Roderick Lovell (Sir John Curle)  
    Muriel Aked (Miss [Hattie] Shoebridge)  
    Finlay Currie (Dr. Krylie)  
    Maureen Delany (Curtis)  
    Ivor Barnard (Mr. Watson)  
    Ernest Jay (Smathers)  
    Hugh Griffith (Coroner)  
    Zena Marshall (Lizette)  
    Eliot Makeham (Mr. Helliwell)  
    Guy Le Feuvre (Dr. Pound)  
    Vincent Holman (Rogers)  
    Chris Halward (Alice)  
    John Wilder (Footman)  
    Leonie Lamartine (Proprietress)  
    Clarence Bigge (Dr. Cunningham)  
    Jack Leslie    

Summary: In the late nineteenth century, while sailing from Jamaica to Liverpool, England, missionary widow Olivia Harwood nurses artist Mark Bellis, who is suffering from malaria, the same disease that claimed her husband. Mark survives his illness and after returning to England, visits Olivia in the humble home she has inherited. Mark, a thief and murderer who is being hunted by Scotland Yard, flatters Olivia and plays on her vulnerability until she agrees to take him in as a boarder, even though she finds the idea of an unmarried man living with her scandalous. Soon after, Mark and his partner in crime, Edgar Bellamy, attempt to rob a new art collection being brought in by Lord Milbury, but are forced to escape without the paintings. Although she has other boarders, Olivia caters to Mark, who paints a portrait of her and subsequently makes love to her. When Mark tells Olivia that he must leave the country because he is broke, she seeks out her childhood friend, Susan Courtney, who has married a wealthy Peer. Susan's opulent lifestyle has not saved her from the misery she feels because she is childless, however, and has become an alcoholic. Susan gives Olivia her housekeeping money, which Olivia turns over to Mark. When Olivia tries to burn a packet of letters that Susan wrote to her while in Jamaica, telling of her love for Sir John Curle, the Queen's counsel, Mark snatches the letters, and encourages Olivia to be more self-serving. Olivia's love for Mark is so strong that she almost agrees to blackmail her friend, but instead runs to the Anglican Missionary Society and begs them to send her out of the country. The Society's representative only offers Olivia a chance to remarry, and she then seeks solace at the church, where Mark finds her and consoles her. Later, Susan's husband Henry offers Olivia a paid position as Susan's caretaker, hoping to keep his wife from drinking. Olivia enjoys being pampered as Susan showers her with new clothes, while Mark continues to see his lover, Kitty Feathers, and gives her Olivia's locket as a gift. When Henry suffers a high blood pressure attack, Olivia eases his pain with some Jamaican medicine. Henry later admits to his domineering mother that it is he who is infertile, and leaves to see a specialist in France. While he is gone, Olivia encourages Susan to write to John, and Mark sells Susan's bonds anonymously. Unknown to Mark, he is followed from the stockbroker's office by a detective named Jarvis. Henry returns unexpectedly and confronts Susan and Olivia about the bonds. Unimpressed by their weak response, Henry arranges for Susan to go to a sanitorium and dismisses Olivia. Olivia later blackmails Henry with Susan's letters to John. Henry insists that Jarvis, whom he hired, not alert Scotland Yard until he plays out his scheme to entrap Mark, whom he now knows is a notorious criminal. That night, Henry shows Olivia the detective's report on Mark, and demands the letters in exchange for the report. Olivia is shocked to learn that Mark is a murderer as well as a thief, and when Henry tells her the original report is with Scotland Yard, she hits him. Henry collapses from a heart attack, and Olivia puts poison in a bottle of medicine, then urges a hysterical Susan to tend to her husband. Henry dies of poisoning, while Olivia burns Susan's letters. Olivia then meets Mark at the train station for their flight from the country, and when he hears what has transpired, he insists that she stay behind and act like Susan's faithful friend so as not to arouse suspicion. Mark, meanwhile, flees to Paris with Edgar. Susan is found guilty of Henry's murder and slowly goes insane. Olivia is surprised one evening by a visit from Jarvis, who appeals to her to confess and thereby spare Susan's life. Tormented, Olivia writes to Mark about her own confusion. Having genuinely fallen in love with Olivia, Mark returns to England, where he convinces Olivia not to confess and promises to take her to the United States the next day. Before Olivia leaves, Jarvis sends Kitty to her house, and Olivia is stunned to see her locket around Kitty's neck. Olivia then meets Mark as arranged in front of Westminster Abbey. Mark admits that his first interest in her was purely mercenary, and then professes his sincere love for her. Olivia, reeling from the shock of his duplicity, stabs him to death, then directs the cab driver to the police station. When she exits the cab, she discovers that Jarvis is the driver, and he congratulates her for her courage. 

Production Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: Hal Wallis' Production
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Lewis Allen (Dir)
  Mark Evans (Asst dir)
Producer: Hal B. Wallis (Prod)
Writer: Leonard Spigelgass (Scr)
  Ronald Millar (Scr)
Photography: Max Greene (Dir of photog)
  Cecil Cooney (Cam op)
Art Direction: Thomas H. Morahan (Prod des by)
Film Editor: Vera Campbell (Ed)
Costumes: Edith Head (Gowns for Miss Todd and Miss Fitzgerald by)
  Sophia Harris of Motley (Other cost by)
Music: William Alwyn (Mus comp)
  Muir Mathieson (Cond by)
  Philharmonia Orchestra of London (Played by)
  Leonard Hirsch ([Orch] Leader)
  Victor Young (Addl mus)
  The Paramount Symphony Orchestra (Rec by)
Sound: W. H. Lindop (Sd rec)
  Leonard Trumm (Sd ed)
Production Misc: Frank Bevis (Prod mgr)
Country: Great Britain and United States

Source Text: Based on the novel For Her to See by Joseph Shearing (New York, 1947).
Authors: Joseph Shearing

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Paramount Pictures, Inc. 6/8/1948 dd/mm/yyyy LP1744

PCA NO: 12654
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Melodrama
Sub-Genre: Psychological
Subjects (Major): Blackmail
Subjects (Minor): Alcoholism
  Confession (Law)
  Heart disease
  Live-in companions
  Nursing back to health
  Portraits (Paintings)
  Scotland Yard (London, England)

Note: The film opens with the following written prologue: "This is a true of the strangest chapters in the annals of crime. Its characters lived more than fifty years ago...the leading figures in a passionate game of love and murder. It began on a sailing vessel homeward bound from the West Indies for Liverpool...." No information has been found about the actual case on which the film is supposedly based. The Var review identifies it as the "Clapham" case. So Evil My Love was the first Paramount picture to be produced in post-war England. According to HR news items, some scenes were shot on location at Lincoln's Inn Fields in England. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   22 May 1948.   
Daily Variety   24 May 48   p. 3.
Film Daily   28 May 48   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Apr 47   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   7 May 47   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Jun 47   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Aug 47   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   24 May 48   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   26 May 48   p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Jun 48   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jul 48   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   8 May 48   p. 4155.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   29 May 48   p. 4182.
New York Times   22 Jul 48   p. 27.
Variety   10 Mar 48   p. 10.

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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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