Perhaps the most appealing of all the feminine "vessels of consciousness" that grace the novels of Henry James, Isabel Archer is a young American orphan who receives an inheritance from an uncle. Taken under her aunt's wings, she meets Madame Merle, her aunt's worldly friend, who instills in her the sense of European sophistication, a trait which comes to overpower her own common sense.
Isabel marries widower Gilbert Osmond, a friend of Madame Merle, who projects refined tastes and intellectual detachment. She is utterly captivated by Osmond's languid charm. He is thrilled to have his superior prize. But in the end, Isabel discovers that her husband and Madame Merle are both exemplars of an appalling, complex depravity that has become the central issue in her life.
Dutch-born American actress Nina Foch became famous in the 1940s playing cool, aloof, and often foreign women of sophistication. She played leading roles in many motion pictures classics, including The Ten Commandments, Spartacus, and An American in Paris.
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