7 episodes

It’s one of the wildest scandals in Hollywood history: In 1951, major Hollywood producer Walter Wanger (Jon Hamm) went to prison for shooting an agent who he suspected was having an affair with Joan Bennett (Zooey Deschanel), Wanger’s actress wife. When the dust settled, Wanger was accepted back into Hollywood’s inner circle with open arms, while a puritan panic virtually ended Bennett’s career in movies and her family would never be the same. How did Joan — the youngest member of one of America’s most famous acting families, and one of the key femme fatales of 1940s film noir — end up a real-life fallen woman, paying a public price for her husband’s crimes? In this limited podcast series, Joan and Walter’s granddaughter/filmmaker Vanessa Hope, and film historian/podcaster Karina Longworth (You Must Remember This), tell the untold story of the Bennett/Wanger romance and professional partnership — a film noir played out in real life.

Love is a Crime Vanity Fair & Cadence 13

    • TV & Film
    • 4.0 • 258 Ratings

It’s one of the wildest scandals in Hollywood history: In 1951, major Hollywood producer Walter Wanger (Jon Hamm) went to prison for shooting an agent who he suspected was having an affair with Joan Bennett (Zooey Deschanel), Wanger’s actress wife. When the dust settled, Wanger was accepted back into Hollywood’s inner circle with open arms, while a puritan panic virtually ended Bennett’s career in movies and her family would never be the same. How did Joan — the youngest member of one of America’s most famous acting families, and one of the key femme fatales of 1940s film noir — end up a real-life fallen woman, paying a public price for her husband’s crimes? In this limited podcast series, Joan and Walter’s granddaughter/filmmaker Vanessa Hope, and film historian/podcaster Karina Longworth (You Must Remember This), tell the untold story of the Bennett/Wanger romance and professional partnership — a film noir played out in real life.

    Episode 6: Man Hunt

    Episode 6: Man Hunt

    In the years after World War II, the political climate abruptly shifts, and Walter Wanger’s (Jon Hamm) history of using movies to promote progressive causes makes him a target for persecution. Wanger’s personal and professional lives are thrown into chaos thanks to a conspiracy involving the FBI, the Bank of America and some of the same anti-communist organizations enforcing the Hollywood Blacklist. With Walter in crisis, Joan’s (Zooey Deschanel) career is revived thanks to her agent and lover Jennings Lang. Afraid of losing his wife, Walter contemplates desperate action. Also featuring Bobby Finger from the podcast Who Weekly as Eric Johnston, Nate DiMeo from The Memory Palace as Samuel Goldwyn, and John August from Scriptnotes as Dore Schary.
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

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    • 41 min
    Episode 5: The Apartment

    Episode 5: The Apartment

    The third member of the Bennett/Wanger love triangle is Jennings Lang (Griffin Dunne), an agent at MCA, then the largest talent agency in the world. In 1951, Lang represents a threat to Walter Wanger’s marriage, but also to his livelihood. Jennings’ son and former colleagues discuss the affair, how the relationship inspired the Oscar-winning Billy Wilder classic The Apartment, and how Lang survived both Walter’s bullet and jokes about having his “balls shot off” to dominate the next incarnation of the studio system for the television age. Also featuring Noah Segan as Jay Kanter.
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

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    • 38 min
    Episode 4: The Reckless Moment

    Episode 4: The Reckless Moment

    Walter Wanger (Jon Hamm) bets everything on a different Joan -- Joan of Arc, starring Ingrid Bergman -- and comes up short, as the actress playing the saint sparks an international sex scandal. With Walter’s fame and fortune seemingly running out, he becomes consumed with trying to make three adultery-themed films, which ironically draws his attentions away from his own family and marriage – causing a neglected Joan (Zooey Deschanel) to turn to her young agent for companionship.

    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

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    • 44 min
    Episode 3: Scarlet Street

    Episode 3: Scarlet Street

    Collaborating with mad genius Fritz Lang, Joan (Zooey Deschanel) and Walter (Jon Hamm) hit the peak of both their careers and their marriage. After the success of the ultimate S&M noir Scarlet Street, Joan continues to play femme fatales on-screen, while cultivating an image as the perfect housewife and mom off-screen. But, with one misbegotten psychosexual noir, the partnership with Fritz Lang falls apart. Suddenly, everything Joan and Walter have built will be in peril.
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

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    • 49 min
    Episode 2: The Man I Married

    Episode 2: The Man I Married

    Walter Wanger (Jon Hamm) transforms Joan Bennett’s (Zooey Deschanel) acting career by giving her a makeover. Now a raven-haired woman of mystery, Joan does her part during WWII by appearing in more anti-Nazi films than any other major American actress, while also authoring a book aimed at women that combines diet tips with calls for political engagement. Her new look is perfect for a new identity as a film noir femme fatale.
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

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    • 50 min
    Episode 1: Private Worlds

    Episode 1: Private Worlds

    Already a divorced mom while still in her teens, Joan Bennett (Zooey Deschanel) becomes a movie actress out of financial necessity, but she struggles to define herself as a star. Her life takes a turn when she falls in love with Walter Wanger (Jon Hamm)--an independent producer and champion of progressive politics who wants to change Hollywood from within. Also featuring, Griffin Dunne as Jennings Lang, Mara Wilson as Constance Bennett, and Adam Mortimer, as Richard Bennett.
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

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    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
258 Ratings

258 Ratings

Mizmaia ,

Pros and cons

Pros: fascinating story, good interviews and it’s not saturated with dramatizations - just enough to be fun. There’s a lot of film history to be learned and it’s engaging.

Cons: One, Ms Longworth’s painstaking attention to every vowel and consonant in her speech make her portions of the pod very difficult to listen to. If she could relax and speak in a conversational voice this would have been 4.5 stars.

Two, sound balance PLEASE. The ads blare at top volume while the podcast itself is at a whisper. Constant volume fluctuations are unnecessary with tech available. Correcting this would bring to 5 stars.

Davero123 ,

Pump up the Volume

An interesting podcast, a fascinating story well presented. You learn a considerable lesson about Hollywood. Unfortunately it has the common media habit of increasing the volume on commercials. It is difficult to listen to on any type of earbud or headphone.

Tytheomans ,

Hissing is for snakes!

While I am enjoying this podcast about Hollywood in its heyday, with its baggage of good and very awful qualities, I bemoan the distracting vocal tics of Ms. Longworth. While she’s tamed the exaggerated enunciation of her prior podcast, she still can’t seem to let go off her hissing ‘s’ and the forceful ‘t’ of her tic lexicon. I say this in kindness, but I wish someone would tell her to speak naturally. The audience will hear these poor letters and they don’t need any lingering or attack. The ‘s’ in particular is hissed by the host and we know hissing is for snakes. The topic is fascinating but it’s hard to relax amidst such unnatural speech. Besides the bizarre enunciation and tics, the podcast is ace.

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