Based on the novel by Octave Mirbeau, Diary of a Chambermaid is a noble experiment: a "Continental" sex drama with a virtually all-Anglo cast. Paulette Goddard plays the title character, a saucy servant named Celestine whose forthrightness has a curious effect on a wealthy Parisian household. Determined to elevate her lot in life, Celestine uses her unsubtle charms to beguile her wishy-washy master, Monsieur Lanlaire (Reginald Owen), and Lanlaire's wastrelly son, Georges (Hurd Hatfield). She also inadvertently inspires the lovesick valet Joseph (Francis Lederer) to steal from the family and kill Georges. Burgess Meredith, Goddard's then-husband, delivers an astonishing performance as Mauger, the Lanlaires' bizarre, shell-shocked neighbor (he also wrote the screenplay and co-produced). Diary of a Chambermaid was remade by Luis Buñuel in 1964, with Jeanne Moreau in the lead.
by Hal Erickson synopsis