It took nerve for low-budget producer M.H. Hoffman to update Gustave Flaubert's 19th century novel Madame Bovary and relocate the story to Rye, New York. It was equally nervy to retitle the film as Unholy Love and to cast Joyce Compton, usually cast as a dumb blonde, in the central role. Compton plays Sheila Bailey, a selfish young woman who enters into a financially beneficial marriage with Jerry Gregory (Lyle Talbot), the son of highly respectable Dr. Gregory (H.B. Warner). Unable to adjust to her new husband's conservative lifestyle, Sheila begins playing the field with other men, resulting in disgrace and tragedy for everyone around her. The tacked-on happy ending finds young Gregory being reunited with his childhood sweetheart Jane Bradford (Lila Lee). No question about it: Vincente Minnelli's 1949 Madame Bovary, despite the censorial restrictions imposed upon it, is infinitely more faithful to its source.
by Hal Erickson synopsis