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The Arnelo Affair (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 February 1947 (USA)
A lawyer's wife starts an affair with a mobster but is confronted by his other flame who ends-up murdered and the adulterous wife is set-up to take the blame for the killing.


Arch Oboler


Jane Burr (story), Arch Oboler


Complete credited cast:
John Hodiak ... Tony Arnelo
George Murphy ... Theodore 'Ted' Parkson
Frances Gifford ... Anne Parkson
Dean Stockwell ... Ricky Parkson
Eve Arden ... Vivian Delwyn
Warner Anderson ... Det. Sam Leonard
Lowell Gilmore ... Dr. Avery Border
Archie Twitchell ... Roger Alison (as Michael Branden)
Ruth Brady Ruth Brady ... Dorothy Alison
Ruby Dandridge ... Maybelle - Parkson's Maid
Joan Woodbury ... Claire Lorrison
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Wilcox ... McKingby (scenes deleted)
Learn more

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Anne Parkson feels neglected by her lawyer-husband Ted, so she falls in love with night-club owner Tony Arnello, a shady character who is a client of her husband's. This being a MGM picture and MGM known to strive for General Audience ratings and avoid the dreaded Adult Audience tag, any affair that takes place is barely implied. Tony, a no-goodnik, kills Claire Lorrison, but Anne's compact is found near the body. Arnello threatens her with exposure unless she keeps quiet, as she is the only one who knows he is guilty. This being an Arch Oboler film, it is also filled with lots of "stream of consciousness" techniques in which the audience is able to share the thoughts of the central character. Oboler is highly praised in some quarters for bringing this from his radio programs where, of course, it was needed to let the radio audience know what was going on. In films, it comes off as just somebody talking to themselves. Gifford talks to herself a lot in this one, mainly about whether to... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Did You Know?


This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Monday 29 October 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Seattle Thursday 15 November 1956 on KING (Channel 5), by Philadelphia Friday 30 November 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6) and by New York City Thursday 13 December 1956 on WCBS (Channel 2); in Altoona PA it first aired 5 April 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Minneapolis 8 June 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9), in Chicago 21 June 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), and in San Francisco 31 December 1957 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »


The newspaper report of the murder spells the word 'clue' as 'clew'." The use of the word "clew" for "clue" is old British English, high-brow, literary spelling of the word. It is now considered archaic. See more »


Referenced in Love in a Fish Bowl (1993) See more »

User Reviews

More romantic weeper than noir, Arnelo Affair bulges with lost opportunities
13 September 2003 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

In The Arnelo Affair, the letter `A' keeps cropping up again and again - as a monogram on a dressing gown, a compact, a key. Ostensibly it signifies one of the two main characters: Tony Arnelo (John Hodiak ), a predatory nightclub owner, or Ann Parkson (Frances Gifford), wife of Arnelo's square-rigger of an attorney (George Murphy). But really the `A' serves to remind us that the story is chiefly about the Scarlet Letter of Adultery - the Affair of the title.

The movie's sinister, noirish elements are not quite an afterthought, but almost. During the first half of the movie, ignored and restive, Gifford sulks nobly in the household she shares with Murphy, forever working late on his legal briefs, and her nine-year-old son (Dean Stockwell) who thinks he could benefit from psychoanalysis. (She, however, may be a riper candidate for the couch, given as she is to swoons and passive-aggressive feigned headaches.)

When smooth-talking Hodiak flatters her and hires her as decorator, she obliges and soon finds herself with the key to his apartment and an inclination to use it for naughtier purposes than updating the chintz. But she soon finds out that Hodiak has many another slip in which to dock his dinghy; and when one of his stable of lady friends is found murdered, Gifford's initialed compact is found with the body. With the prompting of police detective Warner Anderson, Murphy is jolted out of his complacency and sets out to find the truth....

Like The Unfaithful of the same year (a sweetened-up remake of The Letter), The Arnelo Affair seems geared to the women in its audience, more a weeper than a noir. Even the redoubtable Eve Arden, as a dress-designing upstairs neighbor, gets paraded out as much for her eye-popping post-war get-ups as for her trademark mordant lines (and she's a welcome foil to all Gifford's suffering saintliness). The Arnelo Affair holds interest, if slackly; its director, Arch Oboler, hadn't much of a feel for the possibilities inherent in the script or the knack for bringing them out. It's telling that the most memorable characters in the movie are not the principals but Anderson, Arden and the nine-year-old Stockwell.

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Release Date:

13 February 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cazul Arnelo See more »


Box Office


$892,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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