The Woman in White (1948 film)

The Woman in White is a 1948 drama film directed by Peter Godfrey which stars Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, Sydney Greenstreet, and Gig Young. The screenplay is based on Wilkie Collins' novel The Woman in White (1859).[1]

The Woman in White
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Godfrey
Produced byHenry Blanke
Screenplay byStephen Morehouse Avery
Based onThe Woman in White
by Wilkie Collins
StarringAlexis Smith
Eleanor Parker
Sydney Greenstreet
Gig Young
Music byMax Steiner
CinematographyCarl E. Guthrie
Edited byClarence Kolster
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • May 7, 1948 (1948-05-07) (premiere–New York)
  • May 15, 1948 (1948-05-15) (wide–United States)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States


Walking late one night, Walter Hartright (Gig Young) sees a mysterious woman in white who promptly vanishes. A man in a carriage explains that a woman recently escaped from a nearby asylum. As the carriage drives by, Walter glimpses another man hidden inside. It is Count Alesandro Fosco (Sydney Greenstreet). Walter reaches his destination, which is Limmeridge House owned by the Fairlies, where he has been hired to teach drawing. There he meets the occupants: Marian Halcombe (Alexis Smith), cousin to Miss Laura Fairlie (Eleanor Parker); an elderly nurse Mrs. Vesey (Emma Dunn), and an invalid uncle, Frederick (John Abbott). He also meets a guest who has just arrived, Count Fosco. He is immediately suspicious of Fosco.

The next morning he meets the wealthy Laura. He is stunned to see a strong resemblance to the woman in white, so much that he mistakes her for the other woman. When told the story about the mysterious woman he encountered, Marian sets out to investigate. She discovers an old letter written by Laura's mother about a distant cousin who looked much like Laura, named Anne Catherick, who came to visit one summer. Fosco steals this letter.

Laura is engaged to Sir Percival Glyde (John Emery), who comes to visit. That evening Walter meets the woman in white, Anne, crying in the garden. She says she wants to warn Laura about something, but she suddenly disappears. Walter confronts Fosco and Glyde with what Laura has told him – that they are forcing Frederick to allow Glyde to marry Laura for her fortune. Fosco and Glyde deny the charges and Marian doesn't believe him. Walter leaves Limmeridge House. Laura marries Glyde. A few months later, Marian comes back to Limmeridge House only to find all the old servants gone and new servants employed. Fosco and his wife, Countess Fosco (Agnes Moorehead) have moved in.

Fosco and Glyde find Anne (the woman in white) who suddenly dies in front of Laura and the countess, who had been poisoning her. They then fool everyone into thinking that Laura has died. Walter attends the funeral but he realizes at once that it's Anne who is dead. He believes Laura is locked in the same asylum Anne had been. Fosco is attempting to drive Laura mad, but she escapes. She is found by Glyde, but Walter saves her, and in the scuffle, Glyde dies.

Marian wants Fosco to stop hurting Laura, as he was hypnotizing her to believe she is Anne. Marian so goes to him with a bargain: if he signs a confession, and stops bothering Laura, Marian will leave the country with him. Fosco tells Marian the truth: his wife, the countess, is Fredrick's sister who had Anne out of wedlock. Fosco helped cover it up and he married the countess soon after. A year later Laura's mother had Laura.

Fosco gives some jewels that belonged to the countess, who is listening in, to Marian, and the countess further overhears that he is leaving with Marian. The countess retrieves a long dagger, and stabs him to death. The police arrive just as Fosco dies and the countess retrieves the emerald necklace Fosco tormented her with. Walter narrates the ending with his marriage to Marian and the birth of a daughter. They are living with Laura and her son, and the Countess Fosco, Anne's mother, is living in the renovated asylum, along with her emerald necklace.


See also


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