My Foolish Heart (1950)

98-99 mins | Romance | 21 January 1950

Director:

Mark Robson

Producer:

Samuel Goldwyn

Cinematographer:

Lee Garmes

Editor:

Daniel Mandell

Production Designer:

Richard Day

Production Company:

Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut . J. D. Salinger's short story depicted only the reunion between "Eloise" and "Mary Jane" in Connecticut. For the screenplay, screenwriters Julius and Philip Epstein fleshed out Eloise's romance with "Walt" and added the plot elements regarding the paternity of Eloise's child and the possible custody dispute. Modern sources state that Salinger greatly disliked this adaptation of his story, and never allowed another of his works to be filmed. According to a 16 Aug 1948 HR news item, Teresa Wright was originally set to star in the film, but Samuel Goldwyn terminated her contract before the start of production. Audrey Totter was originally cast in the role of Mary Jane.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the first draft of the script, submitted for approval on 8 Nov 1948, was rejected because the affair between Eloise and Walt was presented in too sympathetic a light. In a revised version of the script, submitted in May 1949, the story opened with Mary Jane and "Lew" having conspired for some time to break up his marriage to Eloise. That script was approved, but the Breen Office pointed out that the PCA preferred that a divorce in a film be initiated only by "the unsympathetic or guilty party."
       Susan Hayward was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, but lost to Olivia de Havilland, and the song "My Foolish Heart" was nominated in the Best Music category. In a LAT review dated 26 Dec 1949, critic Philip ... More Less

The working title of this film was Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut . J. D. Salinger's short story depicted only the reunion between "Eloise" and "Mary Jane" in Connecticut. For the screenplay, screenwriters Julius and Philip Epstein fleshed out Eloise's romance with "Walt" and added the plot elements regarding the paternity of Eloise's child and the possible custody dispute. Modern sources state that Salinger greatly disliked this adaptation of his story, and never allowed another of his works to be filmed. According to a 16 Aug 1948 HR news item, Teresa Wright was originally set to star in the film, but Samuel Goldwyn terminated her contract before the start of production. Audrey Totter was originally cast in the role of Mary Jane.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the first draft of the script, submitted for approval on 8 Nov 1948, was rejected because the affair between Eloise and Walt was presented in too sympathetic a light. In a revised version of the script, submitted in May 1949, the story opened with Mary Jane and "Lew" having conspired for some time to break up his marriage to Eloise. That script was approved, but the Breen Office pointed out that the PCA preferred that a divorce in a film be initiated only by "the unsympathetic or guilty party."
       Susan Hayward was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, but lost to Olivia de Havilland, and the song "My Foolish Heart" was nominated in the Best Music category. In a LAT review dated 26 Dec 1949, critic Philip K. Scheuer wrote: "It seemed to me an important and satisfying scene between the father and the mother...had, regrettably, been eliminated since the preview." Exactly which scene may have been eliminated has not been determined. An adaptation of My Foolish Heart was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre on 28 Aug 1950, with Susan Hayward and Dana Andrews repeating their original roles. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Oct 1949.
---
Daily Variety
17 Oct 49
p. 3, 9
Daily Variety
3 Mar 1950.
---
Film Daily
17 Oct 49
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 49
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 49
p. 3, 9
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 1949.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
26 Dec 1949.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Dec 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Oct 49
p. 58.
New York Times
20 Jan 50
p. 29.
New York Times
22 Jan 1950.
---
Newsweek
23 Jan 1950.
---
Time
6 Feb 1950.
---
Variety
19 Oct 49
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
Miss Hayward's gowns des by
MUSIC
Mus arr
Mus arr
Mus dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Grip
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" by J. D. Salinger in The New Yorker (20 Mar 1948).
SONGS
"My Foolish Heart," music by Victor Young, lyrics by Ned Washington.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut
Release Date:
21 January 1950
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 25 December 1949
Production Date:
16 June--late July 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 December 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2773
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
98-99
Length(in feet):
8,868
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14055
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On a rainy afternoon in Connecticut, Mary Jane visits her former college roommate, Eloise Winters Wengler, whom she has not seen for seven years. Eloise, who has been drinking, speaks bitterly of her affluent suburban lifestyle and her husband, Lew Wengler, and admits that she has difficulty relating to her young daughter Ramona. When Eloise comments that Ramona looks just like Lew, Mary Jane questions how such a resemblance could be possible. Just then, Lew comes home and informs Eloise that he is leaving her and plans to sue for custody of Ramona. In a rage, Eloise begins throwing her clothes into a suitcase, but when she comes across her favorite dress from college, she tearfully remembers the "nice girl" she used to be: At a dance at Woodley College in New York, Eloise meets the charming Walt Dreiser, and although she has been dating Lew, is immediately taken with him. Several days later, Walt asks her to dinner, and Mary Jane helps her sneak out of the dorm to meet him. A month later, Eloise receives a telegram from Walt asking her to meet him at the train station, and when she arrives she is surprised to find him in an Army uniform. Walt escorts Eloise back to the dorm, and they are kissing goodnight in the elevator when Dean Whiting discovers them. Eloise is expelled, and her distraught parents, Henry and Martha, come to take her home to Boise. On the train, Eloise tells her father of her strong feelings for Walt, and he impulsively agrees to send her back to New York. Eloise gets off ... +


On a rainy afternoon in Connecticut, Mary Jane visits her former college roommate, Eloise Winters Wengler, whom she has not seen for seven years. Eloise, who has been drinking, speaks bitterly of her affluent suburban lifestyle and her husband, Lew Wengler, and admits that she has difficulty relating to her young daughter Ramona. When Eloise comments that Ramona looks just like Lew, Mary Jane questions how such a resemblance could be possible. Just then, Lew comes home and informs Eloise that he is leaving her and plans to sue for custody of Ramona. In a rage, Eloise begins throwing her clothes into a suitcase, but when she comes across her favorite dress from college, she tearfully remembers the "nice girl" she used to be: At a dance at Woodley College in New York, Eloise meets the charming Walt Dreiser, and although she has been dating Lew, is immediately taken with him. Several days later, Walt asks her to dinner, and Mary Jane helps her sneak out of the dorm to meet him. A month later, Eloise receives a telegram from Walt asking her to meet him at the train station, and when she arrives she is surprised to find him in an Army uniform. Walt escorts Eloise back to the dorm, and they are kissing goodnight in the elevator when Dean Whiting discovers them. Eloise is expelled, and her distraught parents, Henry and Martha, come to take her home to Boise. On the train, Eloise tells her father of her strong feelings for Walt, and he impulsively agrees to send her back to New York. Eloise gets off at the next stop and returns to the city, where she gets a job in a department store. Mary Jane is now happily dating Lew, who is also in the service. When Pearl Harbor is bombed, Walt is called to duty, and Eloise agrees to spend the night with him before he returns to camp. Later, Henry comes to town on his way to Baltimore for medical tests, and confesses that he and Martha married hastily before he went overseas in World War I, only to discover when he returned that they were strangers trapped in an unhappy marriage. When Eloise returns home, she finds Walt waiting for her with a seven-day pass. Near the end of Walt's leave, Eloise receives confirmation of her pregnancy, but despite Mary Jane's urging, refuses to tell Walt, hoping that he will propose on his own. Walt does not propose, however, and Eloise bids him an emotional farewell at the train station. A week later, Walt is killed when his plane crashes during an aerial maneuver, and Eloise is given a letter that Walt wrote just before the accident, in which he asks her to marry him at once. Later, Eloise decides to speak to her father, who is in town for more medical tests, but her mother tells her that Henry has a serious heart problem and must avoid excitement or shock. That evening, Eloise joins Mary Jane and Lew at a dance, and while Mary Jane occupies herself with the dance committee, Lew and Eloise go for a drive. Seeing Eloise rekindles Lew's feelings for her, and desperate for a solution to her problem, Eloise encourages him. Back in Connecticut, Eloise wakes up clutching the dress. She tells Lew that she is through hurting people, and says she wants Ramona to go with him and Mary Jane. After apologizing for the years she took out of their lives, Eloise goes to Ramona's room, where the child is crying in her sleep. Eloise comforts the girl and is about to leave when Mary Jane, who has been watching, tells her that Ramona belongs to her. The two women embrace, and Mary Jane assures Eloise that anyone would have done the same in her place. Eloise gratefully watches over her sleeping child as Lew and Mary Jane drive away. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.