The Swan (1956 film)

The Swan (1956) an Eastman Color in CinemaScope is a remake of The Swan (1925), a Paramount Pictures release. Another film version was released as One Romantic Night (1930).

The Swan
Movie poster
Directed byCharles Vidor
Produced byDore Schary
Written byJohn Dighton
Based onA hattyú (1920 play; The Swan)
by Ferenc Molnár
StarringGrace Kelly
Alec Guinness
Louis Jourdan
Jessie Royce Landis
Estelle Winwood
Brian Aherne
Agnes Moorehead
Music byBronislau Kaper
CinematographyJoseph Ruttenberg
Robert Surtees
Edited byJohn D. Dunning
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • April 18, 1956 (1956-04-18) (U.S.)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,749,000[1]

The film is a romantic comedy released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Charles Vidor, produced by Dore Schary from a screenplay by John Dighton, and based on the play by Ferenc Molnár. The original music score was by Bronisław Kaper, the cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg and Robert Surtees, the art direction by Randall Duell and Cedric Gibbons, and the costume design by Helen Rose.

The film stars Grace Kelly, Alec Guinness and Louis Jourdan with Agnes Moorehead, Jessie Royce Landis, Brian Aherne, Leo G. Carroll, Estelle Winwood, and Robert Coote.


In 1910, Princess Alexandra (Grace Kelly), the daughter of a minor branch of a European royal house, is urged by her mother (Jessie Royce Landis) to accept her cousin the crown prince, Albert (Alec Guinness) as husband so that their family may regain a throne that was taken from them by Napoleon. Princess Alexandra tries to gain Albert's attention; he is otherwise taken with sleeping late, shooting ducks and playing football with Alexandra's two younger brothers. Alexandra's mother urges her to show interest in the tutor, Dr. Nicholas Agi (Louis Jourdan), to make Albert jealous and stimulate a proposal from him.

Agi is already taken with Alexandra and when she invites him to the farewell ball for the crown prince he eagerly accepts. Later when they are dancing at the ball it appears that Albert is getting jealous but instead he is more interested in playing the bass viol in the orchestra.

Later, Agi tells Alexandra how he feels about her. She tells him that it was all a ploy to get Albert to propose to her and she suspected he felt this way. She realizes that she has some feelings for him but he refuses her. Albert comes to find out about this situation and is a little taken aback. Albert and Agi trade insults. Agi then storms out and tries to leave the next morning.

Alexandra, distraught over what happened, tries to leave with him, but he refuses her again. Albert's mother,The Queen, (Agnes Moorehead), shows up and gets the entire story and is aghast. Albert gives his blessing to the pair and says that when he is king he will allow them back into the country. However, Agi ends up leaving the mansion without Alexandra.

Albert tries to console Alexandra by telling her she is like a swan: on the water she looks serene, but on land she is more like a goose. Albert then offers Alexandra his arm and they walk back into the mansion together.



The 1925, 1930, and 1956 films are all based on a Hungarian play entitled A Hattyú, Vígjáték Három Felvonásban (The Swan, A Comedy in Three Acts) [2] by Ferenc Molnár (Budapest, 1914).

Grace Kelly had previously appeared in the CBS Television production of The Swan on June 9, 1950.[3]

MGM bought the screenrights in May 1955 as a vehicle for Grace Kelly. Head of production Dore Schary also announced he intended to remake The Barretts of Wimpole Street with Kelly.[4]

Kelly visited the Cannes Festival later that month. It was there she met Prince Ranier.[5]

(In July 1955 MGM announced Kelly would follow the film with Designing Woman.[6])

By August 1955 the lead roles had been given to Louis Jourdan - who had done a screen test in Paris - and Rex Harrison.[7] However Harrison was unable to come to terms with the studio. By the end of the month Alec Guinness signed to play the role - it would be his first Hollywood movie.[8]

Director Charles Vidor said the filmmakers paid close attention to the Princess Margaret-Peter Townsend romance. ""If they had wed we would have thought very seriously about changing our ending," he said. "However by not marrying a commoner made our Swan a new, modern story. Now they can't say it's old fashioned."[9]


The film was shot on location in North Carolina, at the 1895 Biltmore Estate of George W. Vanderbilt in Asheville and at Lake Junaluska.[10]

MGM held the release of The Swan to correspond with civil wedding ceremony of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco, on April 18, 1956.


The score was composed by Bronislau Kaper and conducted by Johnny Green, with orchestrations by Robert Franklyn. One piece of source music, "Rakoczy March", an 1809 piece by John Bihari, was conducted by Miklós Rózsa.[11]

MGM Records released two suites of portions of the music from the film on long-playing record after the release of the film. The complete score was released in 2004, on cd, on the Film Score Monthly label.


According to MGM records the film earned $1,763,000 in the US and Canada and $1,986,000 elsewhere but the high cost meant it resulted in loss of $798,000.[1]

Earlier film versions

Original Broadway production

The original Broadway production of The Swan opened on Broadway in 1923, with Eva Le Gallienne as Princess Alexandra, Philip Merivale as Prince Albert, and Basil Rathbone as the tutor.

See also


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. "Google Translate". Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  3. ON TELEVISION New York Times 4 June 1950: X10.
  4. MGM Buys 'Swan' to Star Grace Kelly Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]02 May 1955: B9.
  5. Film Festival at Cannes Thrilling to Grace Kelly Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 21 May 1955: 17.
  6. Grace Kelly to Be Cast as Fashion Designer Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 29 July 1955: a9.
  7. ODETS THE WRITER MAY BE DIRECTOR: Author Discusses Possibility of Guiding His Film Script of 'Joseph' to the End By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to The New York Times. 3 Aug 1955: 28.
  8. GUINNESS SIGNED FOR M-G-M MOVIE. New York Times 1 Sep 1955: 20.
  9. 'Tattoo' Husband Played by 3, Though Scarcely in the Film Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 15 Jan 1956: D2.
  10. APPALACHIAN MOLNAR: Alec Guinness, Grace Kelly and 'Swan' On Camera at Noted Carolina Site By HOWARD THOMPSONASHEVILLE, N. C. New York Times 9 Oct 1955: X5.
  11. Bond, Jeff; Lukas Kendall (2004). Bronislau Kaper. "The Swan". Film Score Monthly (CD insert notes). Culver City, California, U.S.A. 7 (5): 4.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.