|Female on the Beach|
|Directed by||Joseph Pevney|
|Screenplay by||Robert Hill|
Richard Alan Simmons
|Based on||the play The Besieged Heart|
by Robert Hill
|Produced by||Albert Zugsmith|
|Edited by||Russell Schoengarth|
|Music by||Heinz Roemheld|
(both not credited)
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Female on the Beach is a 1955 American crime-drama film directed by Joseph Pevney starring Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler in a story about a widow and her beach bum lover. The screenplay by Robert Hill and Richard Alan Simmons was based on the play The Besieged Heart by Robert Hill. The film was produced by Albert Zugsmith.
Lynn Markham (Crawford) visits a beach house that once belonged to her dead husband. There, she meets real estate agent Amy Rawlinson (Jan Sterling) and Drummond "Drummy" Hall (Chandler), an attractive beach bum who wanders in and out of the house as though he owned it.
Lynn learns the house was once rented to Eloise Crandall (Judith Evelyn), an older woman whose cause of death (suicide, accident, or murder) remains undetermined. Lynn later discovers "Drummy" is the accomplice of card sharks Osbert and Queenie Sorenson (Cecil Kellaway and Natalie Schafer), and that he heartlessly pursued Crandall in order to set her up for card games with the Sorensons. Lynn's physical attraction to Drummy is overpowering and she marries him. Events on their honeymoon lead Lynn to believe he murdered Eloise. It transpires, however, that Amy Rawlinson killed Crandall because she wanted Drummy for herself.
The script was based on an unproduced play by Bob Hill, The Besieged Heart. Albert Zugsmith bought the rights and worked on the script with Bob Hill. He then sold the project to Universal who were looking for a vehicle for Joan Crawford. The studio also hired Zugsmith to produce, starting a relationship between him and Universal which lasted several years.
A review in Harrison's Reports said that the movie offered "a fairly interesting though somewhat seamy mixture of sex, murder and suspense."
Film critic Bosley Crowther gave the film a mixed review, writing "Their progress is rendered no more fetching by the inanities of a hackneyed script and the artificiality and pretentiousness of Miss Crawford's acting style. At the end, the guilty party is revealed in a ridiculous way. Jan Sterling, Cecil Kellaway and Natalie Schafer are the supporting players you may remotely suspect."