While a student at the University of Pennsylvania, he plans to ingratiate himself with the wealthy family of magnate Thor Carlsson (Max von Sydow) and has begun secretly dating Carlsson's daughter Dorothy (Sean Young).
When Dorothy learns that she's pregnant she informs Jonathan that she'll be cut off without her inheritance when her father learns the truth. Jonathan decides to murder her, and makes it look like a suicide, then he moves to New York.
There, he makes the acquaintance of Ellen Carlsson (also played by Young), the late Dorothy's twin sister, and begins courting her.
This time he is more successful, winning Ellen's hand in marriage and a powerful position in his new father-in-law's company. However, Ellen has long been dubious of the circumstances surrounding her twin's death, and she probes deeper into the supposed suicide.
She uncovers alarming facts about some other murders and the identity of her sister's unknown lover.
British locations include: Port Talbot steelworks, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales, (opening sequence at "hot mill"); Brocket Hall, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England; Gaddesden Place, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England; Lee International Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England; and London, England.
Critic Peter Travers was not as kind in his review of this remake, especially when compared to the 1956 original. In a review in Rolling Stone magazine he blasts the screenplay and the direction of the film. He wrote: "Though Dearden gets the surface right – the movie looks sleek – he skimps on characterization...[and] Dearden's script fails to provide the raw material that would let him go beyond the stereotype...Dearden merely walks the cast through a gauntlet of film noir cliches
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 40% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on ten reviews.
The box-office receipts were poor. The first week's gross was $4,348,165 and the total receipts for the four week run were $14,478,720. The film was in wide release for thirty-one days.
In its widest release the film was featured in 1,546 theaters across the country.
Corliss fakes his own suicide after murdering Dorothy, and re-emerges as "Jay Faraday" to woo and marry Ellen (the "Mary" character was written out of the film).
The "Grant" character in the novel was recast as a homicide detective who had investigated Dorothy's death. Also, in the remake, Corliss meets his end while attempting to kill Ellen after she discovers who he really is; while chasing her down, and for the sake of irony, he is run over by one of her father's trains.