Three Secrets (1950)

98 or 102 mins | Drama | 14 October 1950

Director:

Robert Wise

Producer:

Milton Sperling

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Editor:

Thomas Reilly

Production Designer:

Charles H. Clarke

Production Company:

United States Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The film's working title was The Rock Bottom . The HR review notes that the film was inspired by the 1949 Kathy Fiscus case, in which a three-year-old Los Angeles girl fell down a well. Rescue efforts were reported live by local television stations and captured the attention of the nation's news media. Millions of viewers eagerly awaited the outcome. After three days, the child was found dead, apparently having died a couple of hours after she fell. Production notes add the following information about the production: The crew spent a week on location near Mt. Waterman in the Angeles National Forest outside Los Angeles, CA, and some scenes were filmed at Lone Pine, CA. Ten members of the Sierra Club appear in the film as themselves and are interviewed by radio and television announcer Bill Welsh, who had reported on the Fiscus ... More Less

The film's working title was The Rock Bottom . The HR review notes that the film was inspired by the 1949 Kathy Fiscus case, in which a three-year-old Los Angeles girl fell down a well. Rescue efforts were reported live by local television stations and captured the attention of the nation's news media. Millions of viewers eagerly awaited the outcome. After three days, the child was found dead, apparently having died a couple of hours after she fell. Production notes add the following information about the production: The crew spent a week on location near Mt. Waterman in the Angeles National Forest outside Los Angeles, CA, and some scenes were filmed at Lone Pine, CA. Ten members of the Sierra Club appear in the film as themselves and are interviewed by radio and television announcer Bill Welsh, who had reported on the Fiscus case. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Sep 1950.
---
Daily Variety
21 Aug 50
p. 3.
Film Daily
30 Aug 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 49
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 49
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1950.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 50
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Sep 50
p. 457.
New York Times
21 Oct 50
p. 10.
Variety
30 Aug 50
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Orig mus
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff dir
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Rock Bottom
Release Date:
14 October 1950
Production Date:
early October--mid November 1949
Copyright Claimant:
United States Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 September 1950
Copyright Number:
LP336
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
98 or 102
Length(in feet):
8,861
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14170
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When an airplane crashes on a mountain near Bishop, California, the only survivor is a five-year old boy. Hardin, a reporter, learns that the now-orphaned boy, Johnny Peterson, was adopted as a baby from a shelter. Three boys listed with the same birthday as Johnny's were placed by the shelter, but the matron refuses to reveal the names of their mothers. One of those women, Susan Chase, is now married to Bill, a lawyer, but has never told him about the child she gave birth to five years earlier. When she learns that the injured boy stranded on the mountain was adopted, she becomes convinced that the child is hers. After Bill leaves on a business trip, Susan drives all night to the site of the rescue effort. During the drive she reflects on the events that led to the birth of her son: During the war, Susan falls in love with Paul Radin, a Marine. Before he is shipped out, he tells Susan that he is still in love with a woman back home, whom he has known since childhood. Later, a pregnant Susan tries to kill herself, but her mother calls a doctor and, after the baby is born, convinces Susan to give him up and put the past behind her. Two other women are at the shelter that day. One of them, Phyllis Horn, a reporter, is also watching the rescue effort. She recognizes Susan and tells her that the boy could also be her child. Over coffee, Phyl remembers returning home from London five years earlier: When Bob Duffy, her husband, fails to ... +


When an airplane crashes on a mountain near Bishop, California, the only survivor is a five-year old boy. Hardin, a reporter, learns that the now-orphaned boy, Johnny Peterson, was adopted as a baby from a shelter. Three boys listed with the same birthday as Johnny's were placed by the shelter, but the matron refuses to reveal the names of their mothers. One of those women, Susan Chase, is now married to Bill, a lawyer, but has never told him about the child she gave birth to five years earlier. When she learns that the injured boy stranded on the mountain was adopted, she becomes convinced that the child is hers. After Bill leaves on a business trip, Susan drives all night to the site of the rescue effort. During the drive she reflects on the events that led to the birth of her son: During the war, Susan falls in love with Paul Radin, a Marine. Before he is shipped out, he tells Susan that he is still in love with a woman back home, whom he has known since childhood. Later, a pregnant Susan tries to kill herself, but her mother calls a doctor and, after the baby is born, convinces Susan to give him up and put the past behind her. Two other women are at the shelter that day. One of them, Phyllis Horn, a reporter, is also watching the rescue effort. She recognizes Susan and tells her that the boy could also be her child. Over coffee, Phyl remembers returning home from London five years earlier: When Bob Duffy, her husband, fails to meet her at the airport, Phyl goes to his favorite bar in search of him. He announces that he can no longer tolerate her job and intends to get a divorce. Determined not to lose him, Phyl later begs Duffy to reconsider and promises that she will stay at home in the future. They make up, but the following week, when her boss, Mark Harrison, assigns her to cover the Pacific war, Phyl cannot resist. Two weeks after her divorce becomes final, Phyl discovers that she is pregnant. She immediately telephones Duffy, only to learn that he has remarried. Phyl is brought back to the present when a report reveals that radio contact with the rescue party has been lost following a landslide. Phyl and Susan's attention is distracted when a woman starts an argument with one of the reporters. Phyl recognizes her as Ann Lawrence, the third woman at the shelter. Later, Ann tells her story: Five years earlier, she is a dancer in love with wealthy Gordon Crosley. One night, when she goes to Gordon's apartment and finds he is not there, his associate, Del Prince, explains that Gordon no longer wants to see her. Convinced that Prince is trying to keep her away from Gordon because she is only a chorus girl, Ann pursues him to California. Prince again advises her to forget Gordon. After Ann tells Prince that she is pregnant, Prince tells her to return that evening. When she does, a man named Bobby Lynch, who claims to be a former lover of hers, is there. Prince tells her that Lynch will claim to be the father of her child and offers her a check signed by Gordon. Hysterical, Ann finally realizes that Prince has been telling the truth about Gordon, and kills her lover. She is convicted of manslaughter and gives up her son for adoption. After she finishes her story, Susan reveals that she is unable to have any more children. The rescuers reach Johnny and signal that he is still alive. Phyl now decides to discover which of the women is the real mother of the boy. Meanwhile, Bill arrives in response to a telegram from Susan. She reveals her suspicions about Johnny, and Bill responds that if the child is hers they will take him home. While Bill and Susan talk, Phyl learns that Johnny is Ann's child. She is about to relay this to Susan when Ann interrupts and states that of the three of them, Susan is the best suited to be a mother and should try to adopt Johnny. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.