The Accused ★★★½

Psychology professor Loretta Young accepts a ride home from a student, Douglas Dick. Instead of driving her home, the student drives them to an isolated site near the ocean where he assaults her. Defending herself, Young seizes a metal bar and beats him to death. Fearful of the consequences of the killing, Young tries to make his death look like an accident.

Afterwards, Young suffers from feelings of guilt and fear. She meets the guardian of the student, Robert Cummings, and they are mutually attracted. Homicide detective Wendell Corey thinks that Dick was murdered, and his investigation leads him to suspect Young. Cummings also suspects Young, and he attempts to protect her.

When Young’s “crime” is finally revealed, the film is left with the question of how to punish her. The film dodges this question by ending the film before disclosing the decision by the jury in her trial.

Before the weak ending, the plot gives Young multiple opportunities to enact a range of psychological states.