Gaby (film)

Gaby is a 1956 drama film made by MGM. It is the third version of the play Waterloo Bridge, previously made into films in 1931 and 1940. It is the only version of the play made in color, and the least faithful to it. Not only the story but the names of the characters were also changed. Unlike the 1931 and 1940 versions, this film ends happily.

Original film poster
Directed byCurtis Bernhardt
Produced byEdwin H. Knopf
Written byRobert E. Sherwood (play)
S. N. Behrman
Paul H. Rameau
George Froeschel
Albert Hackett
Frances Goodrich
Charles Lederer
StarringLeslie Caron
Music byConrad Salinger
CinematographyRobert H. Planck
Edited byJohn McSweeney Jr.
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • May 9, 1956 (1956-05-09)
Running time
96 mins
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,357,000[1]

This version was directed by Curtis Bernhardt and produced by Edwin H. Knopf. The screenplay was by Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich and Charles Lederer, based on the screenplay of Waterloo Bridge by S. N. Behrman, Paul H. Rameau and George Froeschel. All three versions were based on the play by Robert E. Sherwood.

The film stars Leslie Caron as Gaby and John Kerr with Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Taina Elg and Margalo Gillmore.


Gaby (Caron) is a ballet dancer in 1944 London who runs into corporal Gregory Wendell (Kerr) while rushing to catch the bus. Greg is mesmerized by Gaby and goes to the ballet to see her on stage, but Gaby wants nothing to do with Greg. He persists, and by the end of the day, she agrees to marry him.

Before they can marry, there is a mountain of red tape and Greg is shipped out suddenly for the D-Day landing, promising to marry her on his return. When she hears that he has been killed, Gaby becomes a prostitute as the only way to support herself (as in Waterloo Bridge). When a miracle happens, and he comes back to life, Gaby keeps telling Greg that she can't marry him, and he can't guess the correct reason. When she finally tells him, he is shocked speechless for a very long time and she runs away into a bombing raid.

Greg drives after her in his father's car, then has to continue the pursuit on foot. He yells at her to "have a heart -- I am crippled." Just as a V-1's engine stops, indicating an imminent explosion, he tells Gaby to duck into a doorway, saving her life. He says, "If you had died just now, I would never have been able to love anyone else." Gaby asks how he could possibly love her after what circumstances had forced her to do, but he says, "Let's forget the terrible things this war made us do."

Other plot differences

This version benefits from being made after D-Day and after the inconceivable horror of the V-1 attacks, both of which modern audiences could relate to at the time of this film's release. Although 1956's adaptation lacked the artistic merit of the 1931 and 1940 versions, there is much to like in it. The war was over, and the miserable atmosphere of hopelessness of 1940 was replaced by an air of optimism.


The film was envisioned as a vehicle for Leslie Caron. The male lead was given to John Kerr, who had become a star on Broadway in Tea and Sympathy and had just made The Cobweb for MGM.[2] Kerr turned down Friendly Persuasion (1956) to take the role in Gaby because the latter was a lead, not a supporting part.[3]


According to MGM records the film earned $647,000 in the US and Canada and $710,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $1,356,000.[1]


See also


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Pryor, Thomas (29 June 1955). "JOHN KERR TO DO 2D METRO MOVIE: Actor Set in 'Gaby,' Musical Based on R. E. Sherwood's Play, 'Waterloo Bridge'". New York Times. p. 24.
  3. Weaver, Tom. "The Pitfalls of Working with Price". The Astounding B Movie. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
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