William Wyler directed Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn as longtime friends Karen and Martha in this adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s first play. The friends run a boarding school for girls. When an imaginative, high-strung pupil receives punishment for lying, she tells her grandmother that the two are having a lesbian relationship. With this news, all the parents withdraw their children from school, which shatters the women’s already struggling enterprise. In addition, their libel lawsuit is lost because the main witness, Martha’s aunt, fails to appear to testify. Further tragedy ensues when Karen’s engagement to Dr. Joe falls apart as Martha achingly realizes that she has been in love with Karen all along and takes matters into her own hands.
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