Haunted Honeymoon (1940)

82-83 mins | Comedy-drama | 20 September 1940

Director:

Arthur B. Woods

Cinematographer:

F. A. Young

Editor:

Al Barnes

Production Designer:

Alfred Junge

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios, Ltd.
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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Busman's Honeymoon . According to an entry for the first edition of the novel in the National Union Catalog , the original title of Dorothy Sayer's story was A Busman's Holiday . This was the fourth and final film made by M-G-M's British studio prior to its closure during World War II. Acccording to the M-G-M story file on the film contained in the USC Cinema-Television Library, L. A. G. Strong provided additional dialogue for the film in Apr 1939, however, the extent of his work to appear in the completed film has not been determined. According to various entries in the story files and HR news items, the film began under Richard Thorpe's direction on 4 Aug 1939, when Thorpe traveled to various locations in Devon, England, including Dartmoor. Maureen O'Sullivan sailed to England on the Queen Mary to appear opposite Robert Montgomery in the film, which was to be produced by Victor Saville. On 18 Sep 1939, about two weeks after the start of the war, Montgomery arrived back in the United States, and on 19 Sep it was announced that the picture had been shelved because of the war and because the Denham sound stage on which the film was to be shot was being used to store foodstuffs.
       According to a contemporary notation contained in the AMPAS Library file on the film, the production was cancelled by M-G-M on 2 Feb 1940. However, a HR news item on 22 Mar 1940, noted that the production began filming in Denham on the sound stage that temporarily ... More Less

The working title of the film was Busman's Honeymoon . According to an entry for the first edition of the novel in the National Union Catalog , the original title of Dorothy Sayer's story was A Busman's Holiday . This was the fourth and final film made by M-G-M's British studio prior to its closure during World War II. Acccording to the M-G-M story file on the film contained in the USC Cinema-Television Library, L. A. G. Strong provided additional dialogue for the film in Apr 1939, however, the extent of his work to appear in the completed film has not been determined. According to various entries in the story files and HR news items, the film began under Richard Thorpe's direction on 4 Aug 1939, when Thorpe traveled to various locations in Devon, England, including Dartmoor. Maureen O'Sullivan sailed to England on the Queen Mary to appear opposite Robert Montgomery in the film, which was to be produced by Victor Saville. On 18 Sep 1939, about two weeks after the start of the war, Montgomery arrived back in the United States, and on 19 Sep it was announced that the picture had been shelved because of the war and because the Denham sound stage on which the film was to be shot was being used to store foodstuffs.
       According to a contemporary notation contained in the AMPAS Library file on the film, the production was cancelled by M-G-M on 2 Feb 1940. However, a HR news item on 22 Mar 1940, noted that the production began filming in Denham on the sound stage that temporarily had been used for storage, and that the extensive backgrounds and location shots done in 1939 were to be included in the film. At that time, M-G-M British production chief Ben Goetz was in charge of the picture and Constance Cummings took over the role of "Harriet Vane" that was originally slated for O'Sullivan. Production charts and news items include Gwen ffrangcon-Davies in the cast; however, her participation in the released film has not been confirmed. An article on the film in Time noted that director Arthur B. Woods, who was an RAF pilot, had to take time off from his military duties to complete the film. The article noted that the cast and crew were threatened with bombing in a broadcast by "Lord Haw Haw," the Nazi propaganda broadcaster, but they were unharmed. It also noted that Robert Montgomery sailed to France when the production was halted and drove a Red Cross ambulance for three weeks.
       There have been a number of adaptations of Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey stories. A 1935 British film entitled The Silent Passenger was directed by Reginald Denham and starred Peter Haddon as Wimsey. A popular British television series featuring Ian Carmichael in the role was produced in the mid-1970s and shown on public television in the United States, and another British series, produced in the late 1980s, featured Edward Petherbridge as Wimsey. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Aug 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Nov 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 40
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Aug 40
p. 39.
New York Times
31 Oct 40
p. 28.
Time
18 Nov 1940.
---
Variety
7 Aug 40
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Loc dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus score
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers (London, 1937) and the play of the same name by Sayers and Muriel St. Clare Byrne (London, 16 Dec 1936).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Busman's Honeymoon
Release Date:
20 September 1940
Premiere Information:
London opening: 22 July 1940
Production Date:
location shooting began 4 August 1939
principal photography, 21 March--mid April 1940 at Denham Studios, England
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 September 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9948
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82-83
Length(in reels):
9
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
6280
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When talented amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey marries detective novelist Harriet Vane, they vow to give up crime for good. Sealing their resolve, Harriet buys them both open handcuff charms. To surprise Harriet, Lord Peter buys her old family cottage in Devon where they plan to spend their honeymoon, accompanied by their faithful valet, Mervyn Bunter. The morning after they arrive, however, their serenity is interrupted by the clatter of workmen cleaning the chimney and also by Bunter's discovery of the body of Noakes, the man who sold Lord Peter the cottage. Although the Devonshire village is usually peaceful, a series of suspects now come forth, including Noakes's niece Aggie Twitterton, who was his heir, her lowborn fiancé Frank Crutchley, chimney sweep George Puffett, Rev. Simon Goodacre and even Constable Sellon. Not wanting to get involved, Harriet and Peter decide to leave, but the arrival of their friend, Scotland Yard detective Andrew Kirk, the inquest, and various intriguing obstacles, prevent their departure. Though Peter claims disinterest in the case, as does Harriet, they both follow clues until Peter is able to reconstruct the crime by showing that Noakes was killed by a hanging cactus when he went to his radio to hear the nine o'clock news broadcast. By turning the power knob, Noakes triggered a device that caused the plant to swing down and hit him on the temple. Because Crutchley, an experienced gardener, was seen incorrectly watering the plant, he is the prime suspect. Peter proves Crutchley's guilt, establishing money as the motive. After the excitement dies down, the Wimseys and Bunter head for a more peaceful honeymoon spot and ... +


When talented amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey marries detective novelist Harriet Vane, they vow to give up crime for good. Sealing their resolve, Harriet buys them both open handcuff charms. To surprise Harriet, Lord Peter buys her old family cottage in Devon where they plan to spend their honeymoon, accompanied by their faithful valet, Mervyn Bunter. The morning after they arrive, however, their serenity is interrupted by the clatter of workmen cleaning the chimney and also by Bunter's discovery of the body of Noakes, the man who sold Lord Peter the cottage. Although the Devonshire village is usually peaceful, a series of suspects now come forth, including Noakes's niece Aggie Twitterton, who was his heir, her lowborn fiancé Frank Crutchley, chimney sweep George Puffett, Rev. Simon Goodacre and even Constable Sellon. Not wanting to get involved, Harriet and Peter decide to leave, but the arrival of their friend, Scotland Yard detective Andrew Kirk, the inquest, and various intriguing obstacles, prevent their departure. Though Peter claims disinterest in the case, as does Harriet, they both follow clues until Peter is able to reconstruct the crime by showing that Noakes was killed by a hanging cactus when he went to his radio to hear the nine o'clock news broadcast. By turning the power knob, Noakes triggered a device that caused the plant to swing down and hit him on the temple. Because Crutchley, an experienced gardener, was seen incorrectly watering the plant, he is the prime suspect. Peter proves Crutchley's guilt, establishing money as the motive. After the excitement dies down, the Wimseys and Bunter head for a more peaceful honeymoon spot and when they hear shots and a scream ring out from the seemingly innocent inn they have chosen, they immediately 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.