The Woman on the Beach (1947) Joan Bennett, Robert Ryan , Charles Bickford, Nan Leslie Movie Review

The Woman on the Beach (1947)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Robert Ryan and Joan Bennett in The Woman on the Beach (1947)


Coast Guardsman, Scott Burnett (Robert Ryan) was left severely traumatised after surviving a mine explosion at sea and finds every night he has to deal with the same nightmare over what happened. Despite this life goes on and whilst working a quiet stretch of police he is due to marry Eve (Nan Leslie) who lives a short way down the beach. It is on returning from a visit to Eve that Scott comes across Peggy (Joan Bennett) collecting wood by an old wreck in the fog who he escorts back to her home. It is at her home that she meets her husband, Tod (Charles Bickford) who whilst highly regarded for his paintings despite having being blinded a while back. Scott finds himself drawn to Peggy whose relationship to Tod is a curious and volatile one especially when it comes to his stash of artwork. But Scott becomes convinced that Tod is by no means as blind as he makes out.

I am going to put forth one of the lessons which I have learned from reviewing movies and it is a simple lesson of common sense. When you come across an old movie and read through the opinions of people usually the most positive out weigh the negative for the simple reason being that the positive opinions are often written by those whose movie it is they are watching. This is certainly the case with "The Woman on the Beach" as those which are most vocal in their praise of this 1947 drama often mention their love of Jean Renoir movies. And look, there is absolutely nothing wrong if those in to Renoir's movies find this a forgotten gem it is just a case that for me it isn't a gem and in fact a pretty ordinary movie.

Charles Bickford and Joan Bennett in The Woman on the Beach (1947)

I suppose part of the trouble with "The Woman on the Beach" is that at just 71 minutes it is clear to see that the studio cut this movie down and in doing so ended up making it quite boring. Yes we have this set up of Scott falling for Peggy who is in a troubled relationship with Tod but it just isn't than engrossing. Even the whole sub context of Tod having never really gotten over losing his sight causing the volatility with Peggy just doesn't do that much or you. Basically the story actually doesn't really go anywhere I imagine that maybe Renoir's version or maybe just vision for this movie was a lot more artistic especially when you encounter Scott's dream sequence with over lapping imagery.

What this all boils down to is that "The Woman on the Beach" didn't do a great deal for me and whilst not technically a bad movie was one which I find myself struggling to be enthusiastic about in the same ways fans of Jean Renoir are.