Daphne du Maurier's novel formed the basis for this romantic adventure saga. Lady Dona St. Columb (Joan Fontaine), an English noblewoman, is unhappily married to the weak-willed Harry St. Columb (Ralph Forbes), while Harry's sinister best friend Lord Rockingham (Basil Rathbone) makes no secret of his desire for her. When she discovers the ship of a French pirate, Jean Benoit Aubrey (Arturo DeCordova), docked near her estate, she makes the acquaintance of the dashing buccaneer, and she soon finds herself infatuated with him. Dona impulsively joins Jean as he stages a raid against wealthy landowner Lord Godolphin (Nigel Bruce); when Dona learns that Harry and Rockingham plan to capture the pirate, she stages a dinner party to distract them and then sends word to Jean that he is in danger. Jean soon appears at the St. Columb estate, putting Harry and Rockingham behind bars and urging Dona to run away with him. She declines, choosing not to follow her heart but to instead stay home to raise her children; however, Rockingham overhears this conversation and uses it to blackmail Dona into having his way with her. Frenchman's Creek earned an Academy Award for Sam V. Comer's set decoration and design.
by Mark Deming synopsis