Affair with a Stranger

Affair with a Stranger is a 1953 American comedy-drama directed by Roy Rowland and starring Jean Simmons and Victor Mature. It was originally to be released as Kiss and Run.

Affair with a Stranger
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoy Rowland
Produced byRobert Sparks
Howard Hughes (uncredited)
Written byRichard Flournoy
Based onstory by Richard Flournoy
StarringJean Simmons
Victor Mature
Mary Jo Tarola
Monica Lewis
Jane Darwell
Dabbs Greer
Olive Carey
Music bySam Coslow
Roy Webb
CinematographyHarry J. Wild
Edited byGeorge Amy
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release date
  • June 20, 1953 (1953-06-20) (US)[1]
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film centres on the rumoured marital troubles of a successful playwright. As various people who came into contact with the couple reminisce about the couple's past, the story of the relationship and the budding affair that is potentially destroying it is told through a series of flashbacks.

Upon release, the film was met with lukewarm reviews, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times calling it "a virtual collection of cliches".[2]


On a train, playwright Bill Blakeley (Victor Mature) fends off the romantic flirtations of Janet Boothe (Monica Lewis), an actress from his play. But, when wife Carolyn (Jean Simmons) decides not to join him, Bill makes a dinner date with Janet, who plants a story with a gossip columnist about the Blakeleys possibly heading for a divorce.

Friends and acquaintances begin recalling how the couple met. Carolyn Parker was a fashion model who bought a Toledo, Ohio, newspaper each day. Bill pretended to be from Toledo as well to get to know her, only to learn that Carolyn's actually from England and has been buying the papers for a neighbor.

After their marriage, Bill's struggles to find work, combined with his gambling, force Carolyn to support them. He finally takes a job as a waiter and slips a copy of a manuscript to a customer, a producer who makes Bill's play a success.

One night, Carolyn must miss the opening of a play because she is having a baby. The child dies, and she can have no more. Bill is as supportive in her hour of need as she had been in his.

Concerned that he might be vulnerable to an ambitious actress, however, Carolyn takes the next train to New York. She runs into Bill at the station and into his arms.



Victor Mature was going to star in Split Second. However he assigned to this instead and production on Split Second was pushed back.[3] Filming started 9 July 1952 and papers reported it being "rushed before the cameras".[4]

The original title was Break up.[5] This was changed to Kiss and Run in April 1953[6] before becoming Affair with a Stranger.

The film was the fourth Jean Simmons made for Howard Hughes and RKO. Simmons and her husband Stewart Granger sued Hughes to get out of the contract. It settled out of court. Part of the final arrangement was she would do this film for no extra money.[7] Also, Simmons agreed to make three more movies under the auspices of RKO, but not actually at that studio - she would be loaned out. She would make an additional picture for 20th Century Fox while RKO got the services of Victor Mature for one film.[8] (Simmons and Mature would team for one last time, on Fox's enormously popular The Robe.)

Olive Carey, widow of Harry Carey, had a small role.[9] Steve Rowland, son of director Roy Rowland, made his debut in the film.[10]


The Los Angeles Times called the story "quite ordinary" and said the film "can't seem to make up its mind if it's comedy or drama."[11]


  1. "Affair with a Stranger: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  2. NYT review
  3. GARSON, ALLYSON NAMED FOR ROLES: Former Will Play Marjorie Lawrence, 'Met' Opera Star -- Latter in Comedy Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 11 July 1952: 13.
  4. Victor Mature Stars Opposite Simmons; Wald Seeks New Hayward Deal Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 10 July 1952: A11.
  5. Looking at Hollywood: Victor Mature Adds Another to His Busy Picture Schedule Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 15 July 1952: a2.
  6. STUDIO BRIEFS Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 Apr 1953: 21.
  7. Looking at Hollywood: Story of Talking Animals Bought for Movie Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 18 July 1952: a4.
  8. Jean Simmons Suit Settled by Hughes: British Actress Wins on Points; Producer to Pay All Costs of Trial Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 18 July 1952: A1.
  9. Joan Crawford Studies 'Penthouse' Dual Role; Franz in 'Jazz Singer' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Aug 1952: 13.
  10. Romance Plays Important Part in War Feature Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Sep 1952: B9.
  11. Jean Simmons, Mature Share Mild Vicissitudes Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 09 July 1953: B8.
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