Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz adopts the same prismatic-flashback technique he'd used so well in Citizen Kane for the 1949 filmic soap opera A Woman's Secret. Based on a novel by Vicki (Grand Hotel) Baum, the film begins with the shooting of nightclub singer Susan Caldwell (Gloria Grahame).
Marian Washburn (Maureen O'Hara), who'd coached Susan into the Big Time, confesses to the shooting. Neither Marian's piano-player friend Luke Jordan (Melvyn Douglas) nor police inspector Fowler (Jay C. Flippen) completely buy her story, and it is their probing investigation of the facts that sparks the flashback parade.
The film details in sometimes clever, sometimes maudlin fashion the perils of living one's life vicariously through the accomplishments of others. Though filmed before director Nicholas Ray's official debut feature They Live by Night, A Woman's Secret was released afterward.