12 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

    • TV & Film
    • 4.1 • 430 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.

    Introducing Dynasty

    Introducing Dynasty

    Unimaginable secrets. Unyielding power. Devastating rifts and shocking allegiances. With surprising new interviews as well as historic sound, Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY examines the ties that bind the most influential families in the world today, taking you inside their lives for a glimpse at the inner workings of privilege.
    The DYNASTY debut season goes deep on the modern Windsors with Vanity Fair’s royal correspondent Katie Nicholl and staff writer Erin Vanderhoof, who reexamine the complex, sometimes fiery family dynamics—from the intimate side of the queen’s early reign to Harry and Meghan’s royal split to Prince Andrew’s shameful scandal—with razor-sharp insights, fresh reportage, and exclusive guests.
    Listen & follow Dynasty here.
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    • 11 min
    Episode 10: The Woman in the Window

    Episode 10: The Woman in the Window

    In one last noir twist, Joan marries for a fourth and final time to a man with a secret life. The last chapter of our story takes us from the Greenwich Village cross-dressing scene of the 1960s, to the set of Dario Argento’s giallo classic, Suspiria (Joan’s last film), to post-reunification Berlin, where Bennett’s legacy as a key face of film noir is solidified. What are the lasting reverberations of the violent act Walter Wanger committed in 1951 -- on Joan Bennett’s family, on film culture, politics and society? What, if anything, would be different today?
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

    Apple Podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime


    Spotify: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-spotify


    Stitcher: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-google



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    • 48 min
    Episode 9: Dark Shadows

    Episode 9: Dark Shadows

    While the shooting seems to enhance Wanger’s reputation in Hollywood’s eyes, the media frenzy that follows enacts a sharp price on the lives of Joan Bennett (Zooey Deschanel) and her children. Joan is forced to make a living largely through grueling touring theater. By the mid-1950s, Joan is essentially blacklisted from Hollywood movies, but her acting career gets a final boost, when Joan is cast in the legendary daytime supernatural soap, Dark Shadows, and acquires a whole new generation of fans. 
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

    Apple Podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime


    Spotify: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-spotify


    Stitcher: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-google



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    • 47 min
    Episode 8: I Want to Live!

    Episode 8: I Want to Live!

    Walter Wanger (Jon Hamm) emerges from prison, and relaunches his career by producing several important films inspired by his experience, including the Oscar-winning I Want to Live!, and the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He sinks his newly re-acquired power into one final, major folly: Cleopatra. Working with Elizabeth Taylor as she and Richard Burton are in the midst of one of the 20th century’s biggest adultery scandals gives Walter a newfound understanding of what he went through with Joan. Also featuring Lili Anolik from the podcast Once Upon a Time in the Valley.
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

    Apple Podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime


    Spotify: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-spotify


    Stitcher: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-google



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    • 54 min
    Episode 7: The Shooting

    Episode 7: The Shooting

    In December 1951, Walter Wanger (Jon Hamm) points his gun at Jennings Lang’s (Griffin Dunne) groin and fires -- and Joan Bennett’s (Zooey Deschanel) life and that of her family will never be the same. Though it’s her husband who commits a shocking act of violence, and it’s he who is actually sent to jail, Joan finds herself painted in the press as the perpetrator. As Hollywood and America rally around the gun-toting man, the adulterous woman is thrown to the wolves to fend for herself and her family. Also featuring Brian Comstock as Police Chief. 
    Listen and subscribe at http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime or wherever you get your podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac

    Apple Podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime


    Spotify: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-spotify


    Stitcher: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-google



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    • 40 min
    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

    Apple Podcasts: http://listen.vanityfair.com/loveisacrime


    Spotify: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-spotify


    Stitcher: http://listen.vanityfair.com/liac-google



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    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5
430 Ratings

430 Ratings

FrankieInLove ,

Great Show, Some Technical Issues

Karina Longworth is absolutely amazing, her research is impeccable and I love listening to her. Echoing what others said about the volume of the ads (why! Just adjust the volume Vanity Fair!) and I think when you have a relative providing commentary, you sometimes lose a historical perspective in favor of what someone remembers about their family. Which isn’t to say that isn’t a true perspective but it lessens the historical nature of it a bit.

lkulm ,

Karina long worth

I will absolutely listen to anything katina puts out! She is awesome

Jean game ,

A podcast in desperate need of an editor

I had very high hopes when I read the summary, as I had never heard this story before but couldn’t make it past the first two episodes.

Needlessly drawn out storytelling and the slowest and, sorry to the women who I am sure worked very hard, but unappealing and stilted narration.

Could have made this into about six 30-minute episodes. Might have saved it, but not sure.

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