Portrait of an Assassin

Portrait of an Assassin is a 1949 French film starring Maria Montez.[2]

Portrait of an Assassin
Directed byBernard-Roland
Produced byJacques Gauthier
Written byHenri Decoin
Marcel Rivet
François Chalais
Charles Spaak
StarringMaria Montez
Erich Von Stroheim
Release date
  • 1949 (1949)
Running time
90 minutes
Box office1,860,774 admissions (France)[1]


Christina (Montez) is the sadistic manager of a circus show, who uses her attractiveness to seduce men and force them to do dangerous acrobatic acts. One such lover, Eric (Von Stroheim), became handicapped.

Christina seduces Fabius (Brasseur) but his wife Martha (Arletty), turns up and performs the acrobatic act and dies. Fabius then murders Christina in revenge, does the act himself, survives and confesses.


The movie was financed by a French furrier.[3] It was originally announced that the film would be called Portrait of a Murderer and would star Maria Montez and Orson Welles. "Could be the battlingest picture of the century," wrote Hedda Hopper.[4]

Orson Welles and Charles Lederer were meant to do some work on the film. The producer Jacques Gauthier sued them for $1 million each for non performance.[5][6]


  1. "Box Office Figures for 1949". Box Office Story. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  2. Portrait of an Assassin at Mariamontez.org
  3. Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 18 Oct 1949: 26.
  4. Hopper, Hedda (3 Jan 1949). "Welles, Maria Montez Will Costar Abroad". Los Angeles Times. p. B6.
  5. Orson Welles Sued for $1,000,000 New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 10 Apr 1949: 66.
  6. ORSON WELLES SUED: He and Charles Lederer Charged With a Breach of Contract New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 12 May 1949: 26.
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