Green Dolphin Street (film)

Green Dolphin Street is a 1947 historical drama disaster film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and based on the novel Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge.

Green Dolphin Street
Directed byVictor Saville
Produced byCarey Wilson
Written bySamson Raphaelson
Carey Wilson
Based onGreen Dolphin Street
1944 novel
by Elizabeth Goudge
StarringLana Turner
Van Heflin
Donna Reed
Richard Hart
Music byBronislaw Kaper
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byGeorge White
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
5 November 1947
Running time
142 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$7,173,000[1]

Plot summary

In the 1840s, on an island in the English Channel, two sisters, Marguerite (Donna Reed) and Marianne Patourel (Lana Turner), daughters of the wealthy Octavius Patourel (Edmund Gwenn), fall in love with the same man, William Ozanne (Richard Hart).

Having settled in New Zealand, William writes a letter to the family proposing marriage to one of the sisters. The father cannot read the letter, so the mother does. The letter asks for Marianne's hand in marriage. Marianne decides to set off for New Zealand to be with him. William, expecting Marguerite, realizes later when he sees Marianne come off the boat that he wrote the wrong name in the letter. When the mother is on her deathbed, she tells Marguerite a story about love and marriage and tells her to apply it to her own life, as a hint that William was not the man for her.


Production background

The film stars Lana Turner, Van Heflin, Donna Reed, and Richard Hart, and features a screenplay by Samson Raphaelson based on the historical novel Green Dolphin Street (1944) by Elizabeth Goudge. The film was directed by Victor Saville and produced by Carey Wilson.

Hart and Heflin, who played romantic rivals in Green Dolphin Street, were similarly cast in B.F.'s Daughter (1948). Hart made only four feature films before his death at an early age, two of them co-starring Heflin.


The film was shot on locations in Humboldt County, California.[3]


The film was one of the most popular movies at the British box office in 1948[4] and MGM's most popular movie of 1947. It earned $4,304,000 in the US and Canada and $2,869,000 elsewhere, but because of its high cost only recorded a profit of $339,000.[1][2][5]

Awards and honors

In 1948, the film won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, particularly for its depiction of a devastating earthquake. It was also nominated in the categories Cinematography (Black-and-White), Film Editing, Sound Recording (Douglas Shearer) and Special Effects.[6]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Theme song

The film's title song, "Green Dolphin Street" (often recorded as "On Green Dolphin Street"), went on to become a jazz standard. The song has been recorded by Bill Evans, Eric Dolphy, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Albert Ayler, Tony Bennett, Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, John Coltrane, Agnieszka Hekiert, *Dick and Kiz Harp, Steps Ahead, and Grant Green among others. "Green Dolphin Street" is referenced in Part 6 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Stone Ocean as Green Dolphin Street Prison, where most of the story takes place in.

Radio adaptation

Green Dolphin Street was presented on Lux Radio Theatre September 19, 1949. The adaptation starred Turner, Heflin, and Peter Lawford.[8]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 400
  3. Hesseltine, Cassandra. "Complete Filmography of Humboldt County". Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission. Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  4. "THE STARRY WAY". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 8 January 1949. p. 2. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  5. "Top Grossers of 1947", Variety, 7 January 1948 p 63
  6. "The 20th Academy Awards (1948) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  7. "AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  8. "Radio's Golden Age". Nostalgia Digest. 39 (2): 40–41. Spring 2013.

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