If Winter Comes (1948)

96-98 mins | Melodrama | January 1948

Director:

Victor Saville

Producer:

Pandro S. Berman

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Editor:

Ferris Webster

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The novel on which this film is based was published serially in Everybody's Magazine between Dec 1920 and Jul 1921. The title of the film was taken from a line of the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem "Ode to the West:" "If winter comes, can spring be far behind." Hutchinson's novel was also the basis of the 1923 Fox film If Winter Comes , directed by Harry Millarde and starring Percy Marmont and Ann Forest (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.2666) and for the play of the same name, which opened in New York on 2 Apr 1923, starring Mabel Terry-Lewis and Cyril Maude. While Hutchinson's novel, as well as the stage and Fox film versions of his story were set around World War I, the period was changed to World War II for this film.
       According to contemporary news items in HR and LAT , David O. Selznick purchased the film rights to Hutchinson's story in 1939, at which time Joan Fontaine and Viven Leigh were being considered for the feminine leads, and either Leslie Howard or Laurence Olivier for the male lead. John Cromwell was announced as a possible director. Although Selznick set a tentative start date of 1 Mar 1940 for the film, he later abandoned the project and sold the rights to Alexander Korda. An Oct 1942 HR news item noted that Sheridan Gibney was set to work on the script, but the extent of his contribution to the final film has not been determined. HR news items in 1943 noted that Robert Donat was set to star ... More Less

The novel on which this film is based was published serially in Everybody's Magazine between Dec 1920 and Jul 1921. The title of the film was taken from a line of the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem "Ode to the West:" "If winter comes, can spring be far behind." Hutchinson's novel was also the basis of the 1923 Fox film If Winter Comes , directed by Harry Millarde and starring Percy Marmont and Ann Forest (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.2666) and for the play of the same name, which opened in New York on 2 Apr 1923, starring Mabel Terry-Lewis and Cyril Maude. While Hutchinson's novel, as well as the stage and Fox film versions of his story were set around World War I, the period was changed to World War II for this film.
       According to contemporary news items in HR and LAT , David O. Selznick purchased the film rights to Hutchinson's story in 1939, at which time Joan Fontaine and Viven Leigh were being considered for the feminine leads, and either Leslie Howard or Laurence Olivier for the male lead. John Cromwell was announced as a possible director. Although Selznick set a tentative start date of 1 Mar 1940 for the film, he later abandoned the project and sold the rights to Alexander Korda. An Oct 1942 HR news item noted that Sheridan Gibney was set to work on the script, but the extent of his contribution to the final film has not been determined. HR news items in 1943 noted that Robert Donat was set to star and that the picture was to be filmed at M-G-M's London studios.
       Jun 1947 HR news items indicate that some location shooting took place in Florida, at Winter Haven, which is near Sarasota, and Key Biscayne, and at site forty miles north of Malibu, CA. A Jul 1947 HR article noted that the picture set "a new lensing standard" in cameraman George Folsey's use of reflected light to light the actors and settings. The result, according to the article, was a more "life-like" look to the actors, and greater freedom for the actors to move about the set. A Dec 1947 news item reported that If Winter Comes was the first picture to be released in its entirety on non-flammable film. The film used was Eastman safety base positive, with which M-G-M had been experimenting for a year. The tests showed that film was not only non-flammable, but was more durable than its nitrate counterpart. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Oct 47
p. 352.
Box Office
27 Dec 1947.
---
Daily Variety
23 Dec 1947.
---
Film Daily
24 Dec 47
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 1939.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1941.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 47
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 47
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 47
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 47
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 47
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 47
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 47
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 47
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 47
p. 3.
Independent Film Journal
7 Jun 47
p. 38.
Los Angeles Times
2 Oct 1939.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Jan 48
p. 6, 11
New York Times
23 Jan 48
p. 28.
Variety
24 Dec 47
p. 13.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Alex Fraser
Alex Harford
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Kerr's cost by
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Mont eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles des by
Makeup created by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel If Winter Comes by Arthur Stuart Menteth-Hutchinson (Boston, 1921).
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1948
Production Date:
20 May--mid July 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 December 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1398
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
96-98
Length(in feet):
8,692
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12565
SYNOPSIS

In 1939, in the English village of Penny Green, the life of married author, publisher and idealist Mark Sabre is thrown into turmoil when he learns that his former sweetheart, Nona Tybar, has returned to town and wants to rekindle their romance. Mark's wife Mabel, a humorless but fair woman, knows that her husband is a permissive man who always likes to see both sides of an issue, and she decides that it would be best not to interfere in his attempts to spend time with Nona. This way, Mabel reasons, he will be able to compare her to his ex-girl friend and decide for himself whom he prefers. At about the same time that Nona arrives in Penny Green, Mr. Fortune, the head of Mark's publishing company, begins a campaign to deny Mark the partnership appointment he expects. Alone with Mark for the first time in years, Nona tells him that leaving him to marry another man was a mistake, and that she wants a second chance with him. Mark agrees with Nona that they were meant for each other, and suggests that they resume their romance in secret. One day, while picnicking in a park, Nona tells Mark that she wants both of them to leave their spouses and elope. Nona's husband Tony eventually becomes suspicious of his wife's association with Mark and, while visiting the writer at his office, announces that he is rejoining his military regiment in the hopes of winning back Nona's love. With England on the brink of war, Nona fears for Tony's safety, and decides that she will not leave him until he returns. Mark tries to subvert ... +


In 1939, in the English village of Penny Green, the life of married author, publisher and idealist Mark Sabre is thrown into turmoil when he learns that his former sweetheart, Nona Tybar, has returned to town and wants to rekindle their romance. Mark's wife Mabel, a humorless but fair woman, knows that her husband is a permissive man who always likes to see both sides of an issue, and she decides that it would be best not to interfere in his attempts to spend time with Nona. This way, Mabel reasons, he will be able to compare her to his ex-girl friend and decide for himself whom he prefers. At about the same time that Nona arrives in Penny Green, Mr. Fortune, the head of Mark's publishing company, begins a campaign to deny Mark the partnership appointment he expects. Alone with Mark for the first time in years, Nona tells him that leaving him to marry another man was a mistake, and that she wants a second chance with him. Mark agrees with Nona that they were meant for each other, and suggests that they resume their romance in secret. One day, while picnicking in a park, Nona tells Mark that she wants both of them to leave their spouses and elope. Nona's husband Tony eventually becomes suspicious of his wife's association with Mark and, while visiting the writer at his office, announces that he is rejoining his military regiment in the hopes of winning back Nona's love. With England on the brink of war, Nona fears for Tony's safety, and decides that she will not leave him until he returns. Mark tries to subvert Tony's ploy by joining the army himself, but a doctor refuses to enlist him. Soon after England goes to war, Nona joins the Women's Auxiliary Force and bids Mark farewell. Nona, trying to convey her desire to return to Mark, quotes a line from a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley: "O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind." Time passes, and Mark finds himself in trouble both at home and at the office when he is unjustly accused of having an affair with Effie Bright, one of his co-workers. Mabel vows to divorce Mark, who is then fired by Mr. Fortune to avoid a possible scandal. Effie, who has been thrown out of her parents' home, goes to live with Mark, and soon falls in love with him. Mark, however, is still in love with Nona. When Effie is named as the co-respondent in Mabel's divorce suit, she becomes distraught and kills herself. Mark is accused of killing Effie, and things look bad for him at his trial, until Nona, now a war widow, returns to Penny Green and offers testimony that clears him of murder. Back at home, Mark finds a letter from Harold Twyning, the son of one of his former associates, in which the boy confesses that he was the one who impregnated Effie. Rather than publicize the news, Mark decides to end the chain of scandal in his town by burning the letter and concentrating instead on his new life with Nona. +

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.