The Arnelo Affair

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The Arnelo Affair
Arnelo affair poster 1947.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Arch Oboler
Produced by Jerry Bresler
Screenplay by Arch Oboler
Based on the short-story
"I'll Tell My Husband"
by Jane Burr
Starring John Hodiak
George Murphy
Frances Gifford
Dean Stockwell
Music by George Bassman
Cinematography Charles Salerno Jr.
Edited by Harry Komer
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • February 13, 1947 (1947-02-13) (United States)
Running time
86 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $892,000[1]
Box office $838,000[1]

The Arnelo Affair is a 1947 American dramatic film co-written and directed by Arch Oboler and featuring John Hodiak, George Murphy, Frances Gifford and Dean Stockwell.[2]


A lawyer's wife, Anne Parkson(Frances Gifford) is bored and neglected. She begins meeting with one of her husband's clients, nightclub owner Tony Arnelo (John Hodiak), for interior design work. There develops an awareness between them that an affair is a possibility. One afternoon she arrives at Tony's, and soon after his girlfriend shows up. The girlfriend is upset by Anne being there and starts making a fuss. Tony arrives, hits his girlfriend, and Anne Parkson runs out. Police find the girlfriend murdered, Anne's unique compact near the body. Tony planted the compact, in order to blackmail and implicate Anne in the killing. He is in love with Anne and attempts to force her into leaving her husband. A homicide detective soon figures out the facts and confronts Tony. When Tony is made to realize that his lies and blackmail will destroy innocent Anne's place in society, he escapes the detective's custody in order to commit "suicide by cop".



The film earned $524,000 in the US and Canada and $314,000 elsewhere. Although MGM records do not state whether the film was profitable, the cost of $892,000 makes it likely it incurred a loss.[1]

Critical response[edit]

Film critic Bosley Crowther panned the film. He wrote, "And childish it is, beyond question, despite the promising' presence in the cast of John Hodiak, Frances Gifford, George Murphy and other minor 'names.' It's a 'stream of consciousness' fable about a lawyer's neglected wife who takes up with a night-club owner and gets into a most embarrassing jam. It is unmercifully slow and sombre and utterly devoid of surprise."[3]

Variety magazine was more positive. The staff wrote, "Arch Oboler, radio’s master of suspense, has effectively transposed his technique into the visual medium with The Arnelo Affair. Strictly speaking this is not a whodunit, nor can it be catalogued as a psychological suspense picture ... There’s never a question as to who committed the murder, but the crime is secondary to its effect on the characters involved. Until the film’s very climax, no hint is given to the ultimate denouement. Dialogue instills the feeling of action where none exists for much of the footage, and the gab is excellent but for a couple of spots when Oboler gives vent to florid passages."[4]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ The Arnelo Affair at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, September 13, 1947. Accessed: August 11, 2013.
  4. ^ Variety. Staff film review, 1947. Accessed: August 11, 2013.

External links[edit]