Conspirator (1949 film)

Conspirator is a 1949 American-British film noir suspense/espionage/thriller film, directed by Victor Saville and starring Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor. Based on the 1948 novel Conspirator by Humphrey Slater, the film is about a beautiful eighteen-year-old American woman who meets and falls in love with a British Guards officer who turns out to be a spy for the Soviet Union. After they are married, she discovers his true identity and forces him to choose between his marriage and his ideology. When his Soviet handlers order him to murder his young American wife, he is faced with the ultimate choice. Conspirator was made for distribution by MGM.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byVictor Saville
Produced byArthur Hornblow Jr.
Written bySally Benson
Gerard Fairlie
Screenplay bySally Benson
Based onConspirator
1948 novel
by Humphrey Slater
Music byJohn Wooldridge
CinematographyFreddie Young
Edited byFrank Clarke
Distributed byMGM
Release date
  • 9 December 1949 (1949-12-09) (UK)
  • 24 March 1950 (1950-03-24) (USA)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$1,591,000[1]

The film created some controversy over the age difference between Robert Taylor, who was in his late thirties, and Elizabeth Taylor, who was only sixteen at the time of production. The producers were careful to cut mentions in the film of British traitors during the Second World War, such as John Amery and Norman Baillie-Stewart, out of fear of litigation by their families.[2] An indirect mention of Baillie-Stewart remained in the film, however, with him being referred to not by name, but simply as "that fellow in the Tower". The plot of the film also bore some similarities to the later case of the Cambridge Spies, including Donald MacLean.

Plot summary



According to MGM records the film earned $859,000 in the US and Canada and $732,000 overseas, resulting in a loss to the studio of $804,000.[1]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Walker 1991, p.78–79.
  • Walker, Alexander (1991). Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 978-0802113351.

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