The Suspense episode "The Story of Ivy" was loosely adapted from the 1927 novel of the same name by English novelist Marie Belloc Lowndes (1868-1947). In the episode's introduction, Lowndes is referred to as "the high priestess of suspense" primarily because of her famous 1913 novel The Lodger, which has been adapted for film numerous times. The Story of Ivy is not as well known, but it too was adapted for film in 1947 under the title of Ivy, with Joan Fontaine starring in the lead role. Although, it is not currently available on DVD, Ivy can be found,in parts, on YouTube.
Both the film version and the radio version portray the main character, Ivy Lexton, as a cunning woman who will stop at nothing to rise in position and wealth. However, the character of Ivy, as portrayed in the book, is interested primarily in continuing her carefree lifestyle of nightclubs, bridge parties, spending money, and wearing smart frocks. Being beautiful and enchanting, Ivy is so accustomed to having men accomodate her wishes that she manages, for most of the book, to maintain a scenario in which her lover, Roger Gretorex, takes the blame for the murder of her husband, Jervis Lexton. Though she is the murderer, her lover adores her so competely that he refuses to cause her pain by telling the authorities the truth. All the while, Ivy is arranging her next marriage to a much wealthier man, Miles Rushworth.
That is a lot to condense into a half hour radio episode, so Suspense changed things in order to tell the story a little faster and updated the time period to the 1940's.
As the episode opens, a newspaper reporter has come to visit Ivy Lexton. She has brought with her the final draft of the story Ivy has agreed to have published in the morning paper. Written in the first person, Ivy reads aloud the story of her life...
Beginning with her early career as an actress, Ivy tells of her marriage to Jervis Lexton. Initially, the couple was well off, but they quickly spent his fortune and ended up broke. Ivy, however, was not entirely without funds thanks to her lover, Roger, as well as, the man she intended to marry, Miles.
After asking Jervis for a divorce and then being refused, Ivy chose to dispose of her husband in another way. One in which, she hoped, she would become free to make a better marriage...
"The Story of Ivy" was adapted for Suspense by Robert Tallman and produced and directed by William Spier. Ann Richards starred. Norma Varden, who also appears in the movie Ivy, played the newspaper woman. This episode aired on June 21, 1945.
Below is the first ten minutes of the film, Ivy. The book has an early scene where Ivy visits a fortune teller, and that is where the movie begins.