Hilda Crane (1956)

87 mins | Drama | April 1956

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HISTORY

According to a Jul 1954 HR news item, Charles K. Feldman initially purchased the rights to Samson Rafaelson's play, which he planned to produce under the Charles Feldman Group Productions banner. Feldman hired Roy Huggins to adapt the play and Jules Schermer to produce. In Sep 1955, Feldman sold the rights to Twentieth Century-Fox, according to a Sep 1955 ^Var news item. In Nov 1955, Susan Hayward was announced to play the role of "Hilda Crane," according to a Nov 1955 HR news item. Hilda Crane was Herbert B. Swope Jr.'s first assignment at Fox and first film as a motion picture producer. Previously, Swope had been a successful producer-director of television programs, according to an Oct 1955 LAEx news item. The film's onscreen credits note that the campus sequences were filmed on the campus of the University of Nevada, ... More Less

According to a Jul 1954 HR news item, Charles K. Feldman initially purchased the rights to Samson Rafaelson's play, which he planned to produce under the Charles Feldman Group Productions banner. Feldman hired Roy Huggins to adapt the play and Jules Schermer to produce. In Sep 1955, Feldman sold the rights to Twentieth Century-Fox, according to a Sep 1955 ^Var news item. In Nov 1955, Susan Hayward was announced to play the role of "Hilda Crane," according to a Nov 1955 HR news item. Hilda Crane was Herbert B. Swope Jr.'s first assignment at Fox and first film as a motion picture producer. Previously, Swope had been a successful producer-director of television programs, according to an Oct 1955 LAEx news item. The film's onscreen credits note that the campus sequences were filmed on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 May 1956.
---
Daily Variety
30 Apr 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
8 May 56
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 55
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 56
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 56
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 56
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 56
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
27 Oct 1955.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 May 56
p. 882.
New York Times
3 May 56
p. 35.
Variety
14 Sep 1955.
---
Variety
2 May 56
p. 6
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Exec ward des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styling
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Hilda Crane by Samson Raphaelson as presented by Arthur Schwartz (New York, 1 Nov 1950).
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1956
Production Date:
early January--early February 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
25 April 1956
Copyright Number:
LP6552
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb; print by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in feet):
7,858
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17930
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Twice divorced Hilda Crane returns home to the small college town of Winona after a five-year absence. Hilda is met by her disapproving mother Stella, who believes in leading a "well ordained existence grounded in a solid family life" as opposed to her daughter's credo of living a fiercely independent life "like a man." Having spent the last five years in New York, Hilda has failed to find fulfillment, and so has decided to stay in Winona for a while. When Hilda receives a letter of proposal from her erstwhile suitor, Russell Burns, now a successful builder, Mrs. Crane encourages the match. Soon after, Russell's brusque, overly possessive mother visits the Cranes to rudely interrogate Hilda about her intentions. Flustered by the incident, Hilda agrees to have dinner with Jacques De Lisle, her former professor and flame. After dinner, Jacques voices his anger at Hilda for leaving him for a football player five years earlier. When Jacques roughly embraces Hilda, she declares that she wants marriage, not sex, and when he demurs, she slaps him and runs away to phone Russell and accept his proposal. Even though Hilda maintains that she feels no love for Russell, Mrs. Crane is thrilled by the alliance. At the wedding rehearsal, Mrs. Burns snubs Hilda, prompting Hilda's friend, Nell Bromley, to warn Hilda that her future mother-in-law's alleged heart condition is just a ruse to hold on to her son. After the rehearsal, Mrs. Burns informs Hilda that she has had her investigated, and threatens to expose her sordid past to Russell. Soon after, Jacques, who has gone to New York to find success as a ... +


Twice divorced Hilda Crane returns home to the small college town of Winona after a five-year absence. Hilda is met by her disapproving mother Stella, who believes in leading a "well ordained existence grounded in a solid family life" as opposed to her daughter's credo of living a fiercely independent life "like a man." Having spent the last five years in New York, Hilda has failed to find fulfillment, and so has decided to stay in Winona for a while. When Hilda receives a letter of proposal from her erstwhile suitor, Russell Burns, now a successful builder, Mrs. Crane encourages the match. Soon after, Russell's brusque, overly possessive mother visits the Cranes to rudely interrogate Hilda about her intentions. Flustered by the incident, Hilda agrees to have dinner with Jacques De Lisle, her former professor and flame. After dinner, Jacques voices his anger at Hilda for leaving him for a football player five years earlier. When Jacques roughly embraces Hilda, she declares that she wants marriage, not sex, and when he demurs, she slaps him and runs away to phone Russell and accept his proposal. Even though Hilda maintains that she feels no love for Russell, Mrs. Crane is thrilled by the alliance. At the wedding rehearsal, Mrs. Burns snubs Hilda, prompting Hilda's friend, Nell Bromley, to warn Hilda that her future mother-in-law's alleged heart condition is just a ruse to hold on to her son. After the rehearsal, Mrs. Burns informs Hilda that she has had her investigated, and threatens to expose her sordid past to Russell. Soon after, Jacques, who has gone to New York to find success as a novelist, returns to Winona and proposes to Hilda. Uncertain about her decision to marry Russell, Hilda directs her frustration at Jacques. After Mrs. Crane informs Russell of Hilda's doubts, Russell shows Hilda the house he is building for them and then declares that he knows all about her past and that for him, it never happened. On the day of the wedding, Mrs. Burns comes to the Crane house and offers Hilda $50,000 to leave town. After Hilda refuses, Mrs. Burns calls her a tramp and then claims that she is having a heart attack. Believing that she is bluffing, Hilda and Mrs. Crane leave her gasping in a chair while they go to the church. After the ceremony, they learn that Mrs. Burns has indeed suffered a heart attack and lies dying in the hospital. With Mrs. Burns's death, the newlyweds cancel their honeymoon and abandon plans for the new house. Hilda, blaming herself, begins to drink heavily, and five months later, she and Russell are still living in his mother's house with a portrait of Mrs. Burns looming over them. Russell, who has become aloof and uncommunicative, blames himself for his mother's death. When Russell leaves Hilda to go to Denver on business, Hilda attends a lecture featuring Jacques, who has come to town to promote his new book. After the lecture, Hilda invites Jacques, Nell and her husband Dink back to the house, but when Dink and Nell are called away to a business dinner, Hilda finds herself alone with the lascivious Jacques. Hilda agrees to accompany Jacques to his room at the inn, and when Russell returns home, he learns that his wife is with Jacques. Just as Jacques characterizes Hilda as a courtesan, Russell appears at the door and slugs him. Hilda then hurries home, where her mother chastises her for her disreputable behavior. As her mother continues to reproach her, Hilda steps into the bathroom and swallows a bottle of sleeping pills. Finding Hilda unconscious, Russell summons Dr. Francis and paces throughout the night as the doctor struggles to save her life. The next morning, after announcing that Hilda will survive, the doctor wonders who made her want to die. After Dr. Francis leaves, Russell accuses Mrs. Crane of withholding her love from Hilda, thus driving her to seek desperate measures. He then concedes that he failed her, too. Some time later, Hilda, now recovered, is preparing to move back to New York when she notices that Mrs. Burns's portrait is missing. At their still unfinished house, Hilda finds Russell supervising a construction crew. When Russell tells her the house will be ready in three months, after they return from their honeymoon, they embrace. +

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.