Love is a Crime

Love is a Crime

Vanity Fair & Cadence 13

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.

Categories: TV & Film

Listen to the last episode:

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 or wherever you get your podcasts: Apple Podcasts: Spotify: Stitcher: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Previous episodes

  • 10 - Episode 9: Dark Shadows 
    Tue, 12 Oct 2021
  • 9 - Episode 8: I Want to Live! 
    Tue, 05 Oct 2021
  • 8 - Episode 7: The Shooting 
    Tue, 28 Sep 2021
  • 7 - Episode 6: Man Hunt 
    Tue, 21 Sep 2021
  • 6 - Episode 5: The Apartment 
    Tue, 14 Sep 2021
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