Madness of the Heart

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Madness of the Heart
"Madness of the Heart".jpg
Original British quad poster
Directed by Charles Bennett
Produced by Richard Wainwright
Screenplay by Charles Bennett
Based on Madness of the Heart 
by Flora Sandström
Starring Margaret Lockwood
Paul Dupuis
Kathleen Byron
Music by Allan Gray
Cinematography Desmond Dickinson
Edited by Helga Cranston
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • September 20, 1950 (1950-09-20)
Running time 75 min.
Country  United States
Language English

Madness of the Heart is a 1949 British drama film directed by Charles Bennett and starring Margaret Lockwood, Paul Dupuis and Kathleen Byron.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

Lydia Garth meets Paul de Vandiere, a French nobleman, but their romance is plagued by Lydia's complaint of recurring spells of blurred vision. Paul leaves for France, promising to return and marry Lydia, but she loses her sight while he is gone. Given no hope of recovery, she enters a convent and quickly finds that she has no vocation for life in a nunnery. She finally marries Paul, but encounters strong opposition from Verite Faimont, a neighbor who is very fond of Paul. The latter constantly plots against Lydia and is successful in temporarily breaking up the marriage, but can a miracle of restored vision be seen?



Charles Bennett was meant to make his directorial debut with a story about the murderous Madeleine Smith; however he was replaced in this project by David Lean and given this film instead. Bennett claimed he "didn't even read" the script "until I was on my way back across the Atlantic to direct it, and then I wanted to throw up. But I had to make it. Margaret Lockwood was my star - a very good actress. And I had a fifty-five day shooting schedule. Everything was right about it except the story which was awful."[2]

Critical reception[edit]

  • In The Radio Times, David Parkinson called the film an "unpersuasive melodrama", and wrote, "this hackneyed hokum is worth sticking with for the risible showdown...kudos to the supporting cast for keeping straight faces throughout." [3]
  • Matthew Coniam wrote in the BFI Screenonline, "despite low critical standing (Margaret Lockwood's biographer Hilton Tims calls it "a throwback to the worst excesses of Gainsborough's pulp-fiction days") this is among the star's more interesting post-Gainsborough work...However ripe the plot, writer-director Charles Bennett is subtler in his effects and devices than most critics allow...a remarkable degree of suspense is achieved in the scene in which Veritée attempts to drown Lydia, with its undercurrent of subdued eroticism...Bennett had co-written many of Hitchcock's finest movies, and this film is highly reminiscent of Rebecca (US, 1940) in its settings (an imposing house near a raging coastline), and plot motifs (a commoner's marriage to a wealthy landowner is deliberately strained by a hate-filled third party)." [4]


  1. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | MADNESS OF THE HEART (1949)". 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  2. ^ Patrick McGilligan, "Charles Bennett", Backstory, p 40
  3. ^ "Madness of the Heart | Film review and movie reviews". Radio Times. 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  4. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Madness of the Heart (1949)". Retrieved 2014-06-16. 

External links[edit]