A Stolen Life (1946 film)

A Stolen Life is a 1946 drama film starring Bette Davis, who also produced, and directed by Curtis Bernhardt. Based on the 1935 novel, "A Stolen Life" by Karel Josef Benes. The supporting cast includes Glenn Ford, Dane Clark, Peggy Knudsen, Charlie Ruggles, and Bruce Bennett (formerly "Herman Brix"). The movie is a remake of a 1939 British film Stolen Life starring Elisabeth Bergner and Michael Redgrave.

A Stolen Life
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCurtis Bernhardt
Jack Gage (dialogue director)
Produced byBette Davis
Written byKarel Josef Benes
Screenplay byCatherine Turney
Margaret Buell Wilder
Based onUloupeny Zivot
StarringBette Davis
Glenn Ford
Dane Clark
Walter Brennan
Charlie Ruggles
Bruce Bennett
Music byMax Steiner
CinematographyErnest Haller
Sol Polito
Edited byRudi Fehr
B.D. Production
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
July 6, 1946 (1946-07-06)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4,785,000[1]
$3 million (US rentals)[2]

The film was nominated for Best Special Effects (William C. McGann; Special Audible Effects by Nathan Levinson) at the 19th Academy Awards, but lost to Blithe Spirit.

The second time Davis played twin sisters was in Dead Ringer (1964).


Kate Bosworth (Bette Davis) is a sincere, demure artist who misses her boat to an island off New England, where she intends to meet her twin sister Patricia (also Davis) and her cousin Freddie (Charlie Ruggles). She persuades Bill Emerson (Glenn Ford) to take her home in his boat. Later, their relationship grows while she paints a portrait of Eben Folger (Walter Brennan), the old lighthouse keeper, and Kate is very much in love.

However, her sister Pat, a flamboyant, man-hungry manipulator, fools Bill when she first meets him pretending to be Kate. Pat then pursues him on a trip out of town, and when they return, they announce to Kate their intention to marry.

A heartbroken Kate focuses on her work with artist Karnock (Dane Clark), but rejects his romantic overtures. Bill eventually goes to Chile, allowing Kate to spend some time with her sister, whom she hasn't seen since the marriage. When the two go sailing, a sudden storm washes Pat overboard and she drowns, her wedding ring coming off in Kate's hands while trying to save her. Kate passes out and is washed ashore in the boat. When she regains consciousness, she is mistaken for Pat.

Bill is about to return, so Kate decides to assume her late sister's identity. To her surprise, she learns that Bill is angry at Pat for her many affairs and in no mood to continue the marriage. Cousin Freddie has guessed the truth and insists that Kate must reveal to Bill her real identity. When she does, Bill realizes that Kate is the one he truly loves.


Box Office

According to Warner Bros records, the film earned $3,222,000 domestically and $1,563,000 foreign.[1]


  1. Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 26 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. "60 Top Grossers of 1946", Variety 8 January 1947 p8
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