The Madonna's Secret

The Madonna's Secret is a 1946 American film noir crime film directed by Wilhelm Thiele and starring Francis Lederer, Gail Patrick, Ann Rutherford and Edward Ashley.[1]

The Madonna's Secret
Directed byWilhelm Thiele
Produced byStephen Auer
Written byBradbury Foote
Wilhelm Thiele
StarringFrancis Lederer
Gail Patrick
Ann Rutherford
Edward Ashley
Music byJoseph Dubin
CinematographyJohn Alton
Edited byFred Allen
Republic Pictures
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • February 16, 1946 (1946-02-16) (United States)
Running time
79 minutes
CountryUnited States


Drama critic John Earl observes a piece of artwork in a museum, gazing at it reverently. He asks the museum curator how much it costs, and the curator says that it is not for sale. The artist, James Harlan Corbin [Lederer], does not wish to sell the painting. Nonplussed, Earl returns to his office and phones Corbin with his proposal to sell. Again, Corbin refuses. Earl continues his pursuit to find out who the model for the painting was. He learns it is Helen North, a young woman who looks nothing like the woman in the painting. He visits with her to learn his location, but she refuses, telling him that she will be singing at a local nightclub, where Corbin frequents. Earl finds both of them in the museum, and again confronts Corbin. Becoming clearly annoyed, Corbin invites the singer out for a night in his yacht. She agrees, but is later found washed ashore. Although Police Lt. Roberts initially questions Helen's suitor Hunt Mason, Mason implicates Corbin as the last person who saw Helen North. John Earl works with the police department to arrange for Helen's sister Linda to apply for modeling, in order to spy on Corbin. The two return to Corbin's boathouse. While there, Linda calls for Earl and tells his chef that she is in danger and to notify the police. There, she learns that Corbin did not murder her sister. Thereafter, she falls in love with Corbin and agrees to support him against the district attorney's allegations he killed both Helen and another model, Madonna. Although Corbin has visions that he did so, Linda tells him to make sure he is telling the truth before confessing such heinous crimes. Linda returns home with Corbin's mother, who poisons her tea and tries to inject her with a lethal substance before police shoot. Corbin had suddenly recognized who it was that had planted evidence at the boathouse to implicate him. Police arrive just in time to save Linda from death but not Mrs. Corbin, who dies in her son's arms.



  1. Alvarez p.46


  • Alvarez, Max. The Crime Films of Anthony Mann. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2013.
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