Indiscreet (1958 film)

Indiscreet is a 1958 Technicolor British romantic comedy film directed by Stanley Donen and starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

Indiscreet
Cinema poster
Directed byStanley Donen
Produced byStanley Donen
Written byNorman Krasna
Based onKind Sir
1954 play
by Norman Krasna
StarringCary Grant
Ingrid Bergman
Music byRichard Bennett
CinematographyFreddie Young
Edited byJack Harris
Distributed byWarner Brothers
Release date
26 June 1958
Running time
100 min.
LanguageEnglish
Box office$8 million (US)[1]

The film is based on the play Kind Sir by Norman Krasna. This was Grant's and Bergman's second film together, after Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946), and was one of the first films to popularise artistic use of the technique of split screens. The film was remade for television in 1988 starring Robert Wagner and Lesley-Anne Down.

Synopsis

Anna Kalman (Ingrid Bergman) is an accomplished London-based theatre actress who has given up her hopes of finding the man of her dreams. Through her brother-in-law, Alfred Munson (Cecil Parker), she meets a handsome economist, Philip Adams (Cary Grant). She is instantly captivated by him and expresses visible interest in him.

At the end of their first meeting, she makes a pass at him to go on a date sometimes later to which he politely states that he is married. He further adds that he is separated and unable to get a divorce from his wife. Anna is seemingly unperturbed by the fact and still asks him out whereupon he agrees.

They hit it off on their first date and continue seeing each other frequently. Soon after they fall in love. Anna is then cautioned by her sister Margaret (Phyllis Calvert) about the affair but she rebuffs her approach.

As their romance continues to blossom, Philip receives a temporary transfer notice to New York for his work at NATO which greatly distresses Anna as it will keep them apart for possibly five months.

On the day before Philip's scheduled sail, Alfred tells Philip that he knows Philip is a bachelor from Scotland Yard investigations and asks him the reason for this secret. Philip reveals that he is unenthusiastic about the idea of marriage but can't give up on women which led him to develop this white lie. However, he assures Alfred that he sincerely loves Anna. He also tells that he plans to surprise Anna on her birthday the next day by delaying his departure by a few days and visiting her at midnight.

Anna informs Alfred and Margaret that she plans to go to New York to surprise Philip. To discourage her Alfred unwillingly discloses Philip's plan. Margaret further worsens the situation by stating that Philip is actually unmarried. Anna becomes furious upon learning this as she takes this as an insult to her dignity. She decides to go on as if nothing happened but secretly concocts a plan to get even with him.

She arranges an elaborate ruse where it will appear that she was having an affair with David, an old flame, when Philip comes to visit her at midnight on her birthday. But it does not go as planned when David meets an accident and she is informed that he can't come. She tries to solve it by making her elderly caretaker Carl (David Kossoff) play the part of David. Despite this, her plan goes haywire when Philip comes and actually proposes marriage to her and leaves when he mistakes Carl for David. She is absolutely distraught by this but luckily, Philip returns and she is able to clear up the confusion. She tells him that she is happy the way things are. But now Philip is adamant about getting married and tells her so. Hearing this, Anna becomes extremely happy and the film ends with the couples embracing each other.

Main cast

Original play

Kind Sir
Written byNorman Krasna
Characters3 M 3 F
Date premiered26 September 1953 (New Orleans)[2]
4 November 1953 (New York)
Place premieredAlvin Theatre, New York
Original languageEnglish
SubjectComedy
SettingThe New York apartment of Miss Jane Kimball

Kind Sir is a play that was originally directed by Joshua Logan, who had directed John Loves Mary for Krasna on Broadway.

Original cast

Background

Krasna had written the play by June 1950.[4] He was delayed putting it on by working with Jerry Wald at RKO.

Logan says Krasna told him he wrote it with Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontane in mind for the leads. Logan says after he read the play "I was amazed again at the way Norman could take a small misunderstanding, a white lie, and turn it into a full-length, funny and even romantic play... It did not have the GI humor and lustiness of John loves Mary but it was brilliantly constructed and had the glamour and delightful aura of drawing room comedy that had been missing from the theatre for years."[5] Logan called it "a good play. It had all the craftsmanship of the best Pinero farce - plus the charm and elegance of something by Lonsdale or Maugham."[6]

Logan offered the female lead to Joan Crawford who read the first two acts on stage just to see if she would do it but did not want to commit to a stage play. Charles Boyer agreed to play the male lead and Mary Martin the female lead. Rehearsals began in September. "I know we'll have to work terribly hard to make it terrible," said Logan of the play.[7]

Logan struggled with mental health issues during rehearsals.[8] In October 1953 he checked into a sanitorium for several weels.[9]

The production cost $75,000. This was entirely provided by Krasna, Logan and the stars.[10]

Reception

The New York Times called it "trivial theatre that is spasmodically entertaining."[11]

The play had a huge advance but reviews were not strong and it ran on Broadway for 166 performances.[12][13] Logan said although the play had a million dollar advance, the largest ever for a nonmusical play, reviews were poor. "My great idea of pairing Mary Martin and Charles Boyer in a light romantic comedy had backfired," Logan wrote. "The public came to see a combination of South Pacific, Algiers and Mayerling. With their appetites set for a juicy steak dinner they had been served fish. Exquisitely prepared fish but nevertheless not steak. And the shock to the taste buds caused not only disappointment but anger."[14]

Production

No movie company offered for the film rights so the producers of the play - Logan, Martin, Boyer and Krasna - agreed to Krasna's offer to buy them himself for $10,000. Krasna did not tell his fellow producers he had lined up Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman to star in a movie.[15]

In March 1955 United Artists announced Krasna would direct a film version for that studio.[16]

It was originally announced that the film would be made with either Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield, and with Clark Gable as the male star.[17]

Krasna asked Stanley Donen if he wanted to direct while the latter was making Kiss Them for Me with Cary Grant. Donen agreed "but only with Cary". Grant agreed but only if his co star was Ingrid Bergman (the two had last acted together in Notorious). Bergman agreed provided the film could be shot in England, as she had a theatre commitment in Paris. Krasna agreed to make the changes from the play. Donen and Grant formed a company together to make the movie.[18]

In September 1957 Ingrid Bergman announced she and Cary Grant would star in the film for Warners.[19]

Reception

Box Office

The film was one of the most popular at the British box office in 1958.[20]

It was popular and well reviewed. Logan saw the movie expecting to find it different from the play and was surprised to find it "ver batim" like Kind Sir. "Krasna's writing and my taste were more than vindicated," said Logan. "Had I been well [directing the play] it would have been another story."[21]

Awards and honors

Indiscreet was nominated for three Golden Globes, two BAFTAs and one Writers Guild of America award, but failed to win any of them.

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

1988 TV Remake

Indiscreet
Directed byRichard Michaels
Produced byJohn Davis
Written byNorman Krasna
Walter Lockwood
Sally Robinson
Based onKind Sir
1954 play
by Norman Krasna
StarringRobert Wagner
CinematographyBob Edwards
Release date
24 October 1988
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish

The film was remade as a 1988 television movie.

Production

The film was announced in March 1987 as a vehicle for Robert Wagner.[23] Wagner pitched the idea to CBS because he loved the original.[24] Lesley Ann Downe's casting was announced in February 1988.[25]

Shooting was supposed to start filming in February 1988 but the date was pushed back to mid April. Filming finished by May.[26]

Reception

The Chicago Tribune said "Leslie-Anne Down obviously is no Bergman... Wagner is no Grant, try as he may.... "Indiscreet" is more flimsy than brittle, filled with lighter-than-air dialogue and the old hiding-out-on-window- ledges and falling-out-of-rowboat gambits. On the up side there is Down, who at times looks positively Ava Gardnerian, whether parading around in backless dresses or demonstrating a very special talent for saucily closing doors with her tush."[27]

The Los Angeles Times said "The vapidity of both [lead] performances is magnified by come-hither camera shots that linger too long on their empty faces... Down has a little more flounce to the ounce, but the best she can do as a woman deceived is to fly into a deep snit. Production values evoke the silky-bland noblesse oblige that has been canonized for TV by "Dynasty" and "Knots Landing.""[28]

"Go out and rent the original on video cassette," said the New York Times.[29]

References

  1. "Indiscreet - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  2. KIND SIR' IN NEW ORLEANS: Logan's Production of Krasna Play Is Hailed at Premiere Special to The New York Times 28 Sep 1953: 21.
  3. http://ibdb.com/production.php?id=2384
  4. DALRYMPLE PLANS PRODUCTION IN FALL New York Times 15 June 1950: 40.
  5. Logan p 348
  6. Logan p 384
  7. She's Washed That Gal Right Outa Her Hair: Mary Martin, after nearly four years as Nellie Forbush, prepares to emerge as a new woman in her first straight play. Right Outa Her Hair By SEYMOUR PECK. New York Times 20 Sep 1953: SM19.
  8. Logan p 360-385
  9. LOGAN IN SANITARIUM: Producer-Director of 'Kind Sir' Resting Near New Orleans New York Times 22 Oct 1953: 34.
  10. Financing of 'Kind Sir' a Stage Rarity Chapman, John. Chicago Daily Tribune 6 Sep 1953: f7.
  11. AT THE THEATRE By BROOKS ATKINSON. New York Times 5 Nov 1953: 41.
  12. Kind Sir at Playbill
  13. DELAYED 'TIGHTS' IN DEBUT TONIGHT: ' Extravaganza,' Postponed Twice, Opens at Hellinger With Jeanmaire, Goldner By SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times 5 Mar 1954: 16.
  14. Logan p 384
  15. Logan p 384
  16. VAN DRUTEN PLAY ON FILM SCHEDULE: Phoenix Will Make 'Bell, Book and Candle,' With Taradash Writing Screen Version By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to The New York Times. 16 Mar 1955: 40.
  17. Louella Parsons: Mary Martin Role Tailored for Monroe, The Washington Post and Times Herald 11 Oct 1956: 48.
  18. 'INDISCREET' BEFORE THE CAMERA IN BRITAIN By STEPHEN WATT. New York Times 26 Jan 1958: X5.
  19. Bergman, Grant May Star New York Times 8 Sep 1957: 126
  20. Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 259.
  21. Logan p 384
  22. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  23. Tom Cruise Is the People's Choice: [FINAL Edition] Swertlow, Frank. San Francisco Chronicle 4 Mar 1987: 45.
  24. BY REMAKING VINTAGE MOVIES WITH LESSER ACTORS, TV CAN PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM: [SPORTS FINAL, C Edition] Arar, Yardena. Chicago Tribune 3 May 1988: 7.
  25. Wagner still hurts over Hart: [Final Edition] Shaw, Ted. The Gazette6 Feb 1988: T10.
  26. Robert Wagner plays it `Indiscreet' Series: Personalities: [CITY Edition] Beck, Marilyn. St. Petersburg Times 17 Apr 1988: 15.
  27. THE REMADE CLASSIC: POND SCUM ON THE WATERS OF TIME: [NORTH SPORTS FINAL, C Edition] Clifford, Terry. Chicago Tribune 24 Oct 1988: 5.
  28. Television Reviews Sans Ingrid and Cary, `Indiscreet' Is Inept: [Home Edition] Christon, Lawrence. Los Angeles Times (24 Oct 1988: 8.
  29. Reviews/Television; An Amish Farmer and a Prosecutor: [Review] O'Connor, John J. New York Times 24 Oct 1988: C.16..

Notes

  • Logan, Joshua (1976). Josh, my up and down, in and out life. Delacorte Press.
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