Cast & Crew
Ove H. Sehested
At the end of his military duty in Korea, American Robert Dixon settles in Paris to study painting and marries a French model, Yvonne. Bob has enjoyed moderate success, in part due to the fact that a respected New York museum bought one of his paintings of Yvonne entitled "The Naked Venus." Although the couple has been together for several years and has a daughter, Sherie, Bob has not told his domineering mother, Mary Lou, about his wife and child. When Bob's father dies and his mother requests that he return to California to console her, Bob takes Yvonne, Sherie and their poodle with him, despite Yvonne's fear that Mary Lou will reject her and Bob will not want to return to France. On the night before their scheduled departure for America, Bob meets with his friend Jim and Jim's girl friend to read a favorable New York Times review about his work. Although his friends toast to Bob's genius, the couple badger Bob for money, knowing that he will soon inherit a portion of his father's fortune, prompting Bob to leave. At the Dixon mansion in California, Mary Lou greets Yvonne and her granddaughter warmly, then interrogates the naïve Yvonne about her career as an artists' model and tries to convince her to move the family to America, noting that Americans "feel different" about posing in the nude. In a moment alone, Mary Lou belittles Bob by reminding him that she has concealed the fact that he was very frightened by his war experience, despite his heroism. Trying to pit him against his wife, Mary Lou tells Bob that Yvonne wants to return to Paris and suggests that they pay her a settlement and allow her to go while he remains in California, reminding him that he will receive $20,000 from his father's estate. Days later, while Mary Lou and Bob are out of town on business, family lawyer John Rutledge visits Yvonne at the Dixon mansion to tell her that Bob is seeking a divorce and custody of Sherie and will give her a financial settlement. Shocked, Yvonne announces that she is "not for sale," but Rutledge warns her that her job as a nude model and her practice of nudism will work against her in court. Before Mary Lou and Bob return, Yvonne takes Sherie and leaves by train for the Royal Palms Nudist Camp, where she meets camp director Helen Baldwin. Yvonne and Sherie enjoy days of horseback riding and beach sports while waiting for word from lawyer Lynn Wingate, whom Yvonne's uncle has retained to defend his niece. Wingate warns Yvonne that Americans, including herself, have a prejudice against nudists and the trial will be difficult to win, but Yvonne calmly persists. Back at the Dixon mansion, Mary Lou, Bob and Bob's childhood sweetheart, Laura Weston, learn from Rutledge that Yvonne has served Bob with a countersuit. When Mary Lou announces that she is confident that the detective she has hired will find evidence to use against Yvonne, Rutledge warns her against using uncivil tactics. Days before the trial, Yvonne and Sherie leave the camp with Wingate, who informs Yvonne that the Dixons have offered to allow Yvonne to retain custody of her daughter if she agrees to remain in California, but Yvonne wants to go to trial. At court, Bob testifies that Yvonne left him after he tried to reason with her about remaining as a family in the United States. When Laura takes the stand, she claims that she was engaged to Bob before his military service and loudly chastises Yvonne for being a nude model. When Wingate cross-examines her about her interest in the married man, Laura looks to Mary Lou and then screams that Yvonne is a "gold digger." Both lawyers and Bob then realize that Mary Lou has sent Laura to besmirch Yvonne's reputation. During the following recess, Bob and Rutledge confront Mary Lou about her malicious scheme, but she ignores them. Charles Becker, the detective hired by Mary Lou, then testifies about Yvonne's past: Yvonne is the daughter of a Frenchman who was executed by the Germans during the war, and an American dancer who died when she was four. Raised by her maid, the impoverished Yvonne chose to model for a living. When Wingate cross-examines him and learns that the Weston family recommended hiring Becker, she accuses Laura and Mary Lou of conspiring to destroy Yvonne. During further cross-examination, Wingate pushes Becker to admit that he received funds from Mary Lou to pay off witnesses who wrote affidavits against Yvonne's character. When Becker submits a film as proof of Yvonne's nudism, the judge clears the courtroom. Although the footage of nude men, women and children picnicking is harmless, the judge is shocked by Yvonne's involvement; however, he agrees to give Wingate until the following Monday to defend Yvonne's nudism. On Monday, Wingate presents New York museum director Dr. Hewitt, who explains that he purchased Bob's "The Naked Venus" because of its beauty, the subject of art. Insisting that nudity by itself is not immoral, Hewitt reminds the court that many famous artists have painted nudes, including Rembrandt, who painted his own wife as well. When Yvonne takes the stand, she recounts that when she and Bob were introduced at a party in Paris, they immediately fell in love. Although Mary Lou had a job and life planned for him back in the United States, Bob decided to take painting classes through the G.I. bill and gained his independence in Paris. Bob did not object to her nudism, which Yvonne explains is not a religious principle, but a belief in healthy living without false inhibitions. When Bob returns to the stand, he claims that Yvonne tricked him into staying in Paris, but upon cross-examination, he breaks down and reveals that he lied, thus resolving the case in Yvonne's favor. Soon after, in Paris, Bob sends Inspector Merchant to question the now separated Yvonne about her feelings for Bob. Upon learning that she still loves him, Bob cautiously knocks on Yvonne's door and is met by Yvonne's slap, but soon the couple kiss in reconciliation.
Ove H. Sehested
The film opens with the onscreen title "Somewhere in France," which is followed by a quote attributed to Victor Hugo, "Because we do what we believe in we must bear the consequences." All of the cast and crew credits appear at the end of the film. In the credits, acknowledgment is given to members of the Sunbathing Association of America and the European Sun and Health Organizations. Some characters at the beginning of the film speak French, dubbed in English, but English is spoken for majority of the film.
Edgar G. Ulmer directed this film using the pseudonym "Ove H. Sehested," which he chose only for this film. Ariane Arden, who played lawyer "Lynn Wingate," is Ulmer's daughter. Although onscreen credits list Doris Shriver's character as "Laura Dixon," within the film, her character name is "Laura Weston." Several of the film's reviews offered the opinion that the film's premise of defending nudism was an excuse to show footage of nudist camps.