Enchantment (1948)

100 or 102 mins | Drama | 11 December 1948

Director:

Irving Reis

Writer:

John Patrick

Producer:

Samuel Goldwyn

Cinematographer:

Gregg Toland

Editor:

Daniel Mandell

Production Designer:

George Jenkins

Production Company:

Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Take Three Tenses and Enchanted . The film begins and ends with a voice-over narration in which the old Dane house itself talks about what makes a house special. A 30 Aug 1948 HR news item stated that British actor Frederic Worlock would supply the voice of the house, but William Johnstone is credited onscreen with the narration. According to a 1 Sep 1948 news item in HR , cinematographer Gregg Toland and grip Ralph Hoge developed the first automatically counter-balanced camera crank head for use in the film.
       Shortly after the film's release, Samuel Goldwyn terminated Teresa Wright's seven-year contract because she was "uncooperative" and refused to make personal appearances to promote the film, according to news items in HR . However, she did make an appearance at the film's San Francisco opening on 9 Mar 1949. Enchantment marked the American screen debut of British actor Philip Friend and Toland's last film. The cinematographer died 28 Sep 1948. This was also the last film David Niven made for Goldwyn, to whom he had been under contract since the mid-1930s. The following year, Niven was loaned out to independent producer Colin Miller for the final film under his Goldwyn contract, A Kiss for Corliss ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Take Three Tenses and Enchanted . The film begins and ends with a voice-over narration in which the old Dane house itself talks about what makes a house special. A 30 Aug 1948 HR news item stated that British actor Frederic Worlock would supply the voice of the house, but William Johnstone is credited onscreen with the narration. According to a 1 Sep 1948 news item in HR , cinematographer Gregg Toland and grip Ralph Hoge developed the first automatically counter-balanced camera crank head for use in the film.
       Shortly after the film's release, Samuel Goldwyn terminated Teresa Wright's seven-year contract because she was "uncooperative" and refused to make personal appearances to promote the film, according to news items in HR . However, she did make an appearance at the film's San Francisco opening on 9 Mar 1949. Enchantment marked the American screen debut of British actor Philip Friend and Toland's last film. The cinematographer died 28 Sep 1948. This was also the last film David Niven made for Goldwyn, to whom he had been under contract since the mid-1930s. The following year, Niven was loaned out to independent producer Colin Miller for the final film under his Goldwyn contract, A Kiss for Corliss . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Dec 1948.
---
Daily Variety
7 Dec 48
p. 3, 10
Film Daily
7 Dec 48
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 48
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 48
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 48
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 48
p. 2, 16
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 48
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 48
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 48
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 48
p. 3, 8
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 49
p. 3.
House & Garden
Jan 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Nov 48
p. 4398.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Dec 48
p. 4417.
New York Times
27 Dec 48
p. 16.
New Yorker
25 Dec 1948.
---
Variety
8 Dec 48
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
SOUND
DANCE
Dances
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Grip
Dialect coach
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Take Three Tenses
A Fugue in Time by Rumer Godden (Boston, 1945).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Pretty Polly Oliver," traditional.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Enchanted
Take Three Tenses
Release Date:
11 December 1948
Production Date:
14 May--late July 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 December 1948
Copyright Number:
LP2049
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
100 or 102
Length(in feet):
9,185
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
13389
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In London, during World War II, elderly General Sir Roland Dane returns to his childhood home. As he dozes by the fire, murmuring about "Lark," his grandniece Grizel, an ambulance driver with the American Army, comes to his door seeking lodging. Although he has never met Grizel, Roland gruffly agrees to let her stay, and the butler explains to Grizel that Lark was Roland's father's ward. As Grizel dresses for dinner in Lark's former room, images from the past come to life: One night, Roland's father introduces his children, Selina, Pelham and Roland, who is nicknamed "Rollo," to little Lark Ingoldsby, whose parents were killed in a train accident the previous night. Dane tells his children that Lark will live with them as their sister, and Selina, who has been mistress of the house since her mother died, is immediately resentful. Back in the present, Grizel reports for duty and meets handsome Pilot Officer Pax Masterson, whose hands were burned in an airplane crash. When she returns home later, she finds Pax waiting for her, and to her surprise, he knows all about the house and the Dane family. Pax tells her that Lark is his aunt, and as he strikes a note on Lark's piano, another episode from the past is revealed: Rollo comes home on leave from the service and observes that Selina treats Lark, now a pretty young woman, more imperiously than ever. Pelham gives Lark money to buy her first new dress, and introduces her to society at a party the following night. After the party, Selina informs Lark that Rollo's regiment will be sent to India for ... +


In London, during World War II, elderly General Sir Roland Dane returns to his childhood home. As he dozes by the fire, murmuring about "Lark," his grandniece Grizel, an ambulance driver with the American Army, comes to his door seeking lodging. Although he has never met Grizel, Roland gruffly agrees to let her stay, and the butler explains to Grizel that Lark was Roland's father's ward. As Grizel dresses for dinner in Lark's former room, images from the past come to life: One night, Roland's father introduces his children, Selina, Pelham and Roland, who is nicknamed "Rollo," to little Lark Ingoldsby, whose parents were killed in a train accident the previous night. Dane tells his children that Lark will live with them as their sister, and Selina, who has been mistress of the house since her mother died, is immediately resentful. Back in the present, Grizel reports for duty and meets handsome Pilot Officer Pax Masterson, whose hands were burned in an airplane crash. When she returns home later, she finds Pax waiting for her, and to her surprise, he knows all about the house and the Dane family. Pax tells her that Lark is his aunt, and as he strikes a note on Lark's piano, another episode from the past is revealed: Rollo comes home on leave from the service and observes that Selina treats Lark, now a pretty young woman, more imperiously than ever. Pelham gives Lark money to buy her first new dress, and introduces her to society at a party the following night. After the party, Selina informs Lark that Rollo's regiment will be sent to India for two years. In the present, Pax finishes demonstrating his knowledge of the house for Grizel and leaves just before Roland returns. Roland is surprised to learn that the young man he passed outside is Lark's nephew, and is dismayed to hear his practical grandniece dismiss any notion of romance on principle. With his thoughts again turned to Lark, Roland recalls the past: Lark has become a popular young lady, and both Pelham and the wealthy Marchese Del Laudi are in love with her. Rollo returns from India, and when he learns it is Lark's birthday, he sells his horse to buy her a beautiful necklace. In the present, Pax recovers from the surgery on his hands, and calls on the Danes. Roland listens eagerly as Pax describes his aunt's solitary existence, soon lapsing into memories of his own: The night of Lark's birthday party, Rollo gives her the necklace, and they declare their love for each other. Their idyll is interrupted by Selina, who informs Rollo that he has been appointed to a special mission that leaves for Afghanistan the following week. When Rollo announces his intention to marry Lark, Selina replies that they must wait five years until Rollo returns. Aware that she cannot remain in the house with Pelham, Lark tearfully tells Rollo she cannot wait. Later, while Rollo is seeking a release from his appointment, Selina vindictively tells Lark that he is not coming back. Rollo returns to find Lark gone, and angrily vows not to return to the house while Selena is alive. Pelham then comes in with the news that Lark is going to marry Del Laudi and move to Italy. In the present, as Grizel is preparing to leave on her next assignment, Pax asks her to marry him, but she declines. Roland gives the departing Pax a telegram stating that his aunt Lark is dead, then urges Grizel not to cheat herself out of love the way he did. Although an air raid has just begun, Grizel rushes into the street, and finds Pax just as the bombs begin dropping around them. With their arms around each other, they watch as the Dane house goes up in flames. +

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.