The Sign of the Ram

The Sign of the Ram is a 1948 American film noir directed by John Sturges and written by Charles Bennett, based on a novel written by Margaret Ferguson. The drama features Susan Peters and Alexander Knox.[1]

The Sign of the Ram
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Sturges
Produced byIrving Cummings Jr.
Screenplay byCharles Bennett
Based onthe novel The Sign
of the Ram

by Margaret Ferguson
StarringSusan Peters
Alexander Knox
Phyllis Thaxter
Peggy Ann Garner
Music byHans J. Salter
CinematographyBurnett Guffey
Edited byAaron Stell
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 3, 1948 (1948-03-03) (United States)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States


The story tells of Leah St. Aubyn (Peters) an invalid wife and mother who uses dictatorial control over everyone she knows. Leah's family forgive her temperament due to her medical condition, yet she exploits that fact fully. Eventually her behavior leaves her alone and without friends. Yet, even in her dark moments she insists upon "controlling all." Finally, she engineers her own death.



Film critic Bosley Crowther, in The New York Times, was harsh. According to Crowther: "Plainly the story is claptrap. And the direction of John Sturges is such that the illogic and the pomposity are only magnified. By showing Miss Peters, in her wheelchair, as though she were an alabaster doll, with just about as much personality, he has completely denatured her role. And by directing Phyllis Thaxter, Peggy Ann Garner, Allene Roberts and Alexander Knox to hit such a slowness of tempo and such a sombreness of tone that the whole thing drifts into monotony, he has only emphasized the static qualities. If it weren't for the noisy interjection of thunder-drums and pounding surf from time to time, this would be an effective soporofic. And it might have been kinder to let it be."[2]

Film critic Hal Erickson wrote for Allmovie: "Far more tasteful than it sounds, Sign of the Ram was a worthwhile valedictory vehicle for Susan Peters, who died a few years after the film's release."[3]


  1. The Sign of the Ram at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  2. Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times film review, March 4, 1948. Accessed: February 17, 2008.
  3. Erikson, Hal. The Sign of the Ram at AllMovie.
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