Great actors and wonderful acting. Just a pity that the character arc and emotional depth of the two main female characters, Emily (Ingrid Bergman) & Hester (Susan Hayworth), is so cliched and one dimensional.
The script is written by two male scriptwriters William Hurlbut and Michael Blankfort and based on the novel, Legacy, by Charles Bonner.
Sadly, the female characters are weak, predictably portrayed as rivals, victims of their own choices and of each other. This is a common theme in old movies, as expected! The movie poster pretty much sums it up - a distressed looking Ingrid Bergman as Emily gazing at the seductive, predatory Susan Hayward's Hester.
This movie is a prime example of women stuck in the power over/patriarchal model where both women perceive the other as a threat almost immediately. Emily, in her need to "protect" the man she loves, chooses to self sabotage while enabling the toxic and emotionally destructive behaviour of Hester in order to not upset Adam. :( Therapy wasn't common in the 1940s, it only began to become more popular after the 1950s, and it's uncomfortably evident in this movie. The script writers grasp of the motivations and inner conflicts of Emily and Hester is raw, superficial even disturbing at times. Understanding of inter generational trauma, childhood sexual abuse and C-PTSD in war veterans was pretty limited back then and it's painfully evident in the plot, script and sub themes of so many old movies.
Enjoy this film if you love Ingrid Bergman and old 1940s movies in general. Just don't expect too much from an outdated plot where men' self-worth is measured by the behaviour and choices of the two main female characters.