The Late George Apley (1947)

98 mins | Comedy | 20 March 1947

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HISTORY

According to a 13 Sep 1945 HR news item, Twentieth Century-Fox bought the screen rights to John P. Marquand and George Kaufman's play for $275,000. The studio had previously backed the Max Gordon production of the play. The novel and the play present different portraits of their central character, "George Apley." In Marquand's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the story begins after the death of Apley and takes the form of a biography told by "Horatio Willing." George does not forbid his daughter to enter into what he considers unsuitable marriage, but instead disapproves that "Eleanor's" husband refuses to give up his job for a position in the Apley mills.
       In the novel, George's son "John" marries a girl of good connections, and the character of "Myrtle" does not appear. "Agnes'" speech to George in the film, in which she encourages George to do what he "knows is right", thus motivating him to accept "Howard" as his son-in-law, is not in the play. The play and novel both end years after the screenplay with the death of George. In a modern biography, screenwriter Philip Dunne described the character of Apley in Marquand's novel as being "suffocated by the stultifying atmosphere." In contrast, Dunne felt the Apley of the play was not a victim or tragic hero but a clown. Dunne added that Marquand told him that Kaufman had insisted upon the changes in Apley's character. Dunne claimed that he tried to make the character of Apley in his screenplay more sympathetic.
       A 9 May 1946 HR news item announces that Anne Baxter was assigned to a top role in the film, but she ... More Less

According to a 13 Sep 1945 HR news item, Twentieth Century-Fox bought the screen rights to John P. Marquand and George Kaufman's play for $275,000. The studio had previously backed the Max Gordon production of the play. The novel and the play present different portraits of their central character, "George Apley." In Marquand's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the story begins after the death of Apley and takes the form of a biography told by "Horatio Willing." George does not forbid his daughter to enter into what he considers unsuitable marriage, but instead disapproves that "Eleanor's" husband refuses to give up his job for a position in the Apley mills.
       In the novel, George's son "John" marries a girl of good connections, and the character of "Myrtle" does not appear. "Agnes'" speech to George in the film, in which she encourages George to do what he "knows is right", thus motivating him to accept "Howard" as his son-in-law, is not in the play. The play and novel both end years after the screenplay with the death of George. In a modern biography, screenwriter Philip Dunne described the character of Apley in Marquand's novel as being "suffocated by the stultifying atmosphere." In contrast, Dunne felt the Apley of the play was not a victim or tragic hero but a clown. Dunne added that Marquand told him that Kaufman had insisted upon the changes in Apley's character. Dunne claimed that he tried to make the character of Apley in his screenplay more sympathetic.
       A 9 May 1946 HR news item announces that Anne Baxter was assigned to a top role in the film, but she does not appear in the film. Although a 12 Aug 1946 HR news item and a wardrobe still contained in the MPAA/PCA file on the film at the AMPAS Library place Susan Blanchard in the cast in the role of "Myrtle," neither she nor the character appears in the released picture. Other wardrobe stills also place Bonnie Bannon, Maxine Fife, Elaine Langan, Jeri Jordan and Laura Treadwell in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although a billing sheet contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library lists Pat Moriarty as a policeman, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library add that Sarah Lynn Marshall, the thirteen-year-old daughter of Edna Best and Herbert Marshall, was to make her screen debut as a friend of "Eleanor's," but her appearance has not been confirmed.
       The Late George Apley marked the American screen debut of British actress Peggy Cummins and Edna Best's return to the screen after a seven-year absence. It also marked the return to the screen of actor Richard Ney following four years in the armed services. According to a shooting schedule contained in the Produced Scripts Collection, the New York street sequence was filmed at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, CA. Modern sources state that Ernst Lubitsch directed the additional scenes with Peggy Cummins shot in late Aug--early Sep 1946. The Theatre Guild Series presented a televised version of the Marquand-Kaufman play on 10 Dec 1947, starring Leo G. Carroll and directed by Paul Crabtree. On 8 Mar 1948 Screen Guild Theater presented a radio broadcast based the play starring Ronald Colman, Best and Cummins. On 18 Nov 1955, The Twentieth Century-Fox Hour broadcast a televised version based on the film script, starring Raymond Massey and Joanne Woodward. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Feb 1947.
---
Daily Variety
31 Jan 1947.
---
Film Daily
31 Jan 47
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 46
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 46
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 46
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 46
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 46
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 47
p. 3.
Independent Film Journal
20 Jul 46
p. 49.
Life
21 Apr 47
pp. 65-66.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Feb 47
p. 3457.
New York Times
21 Mar 47
p. 29.
Variety
5 Feb 1947.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Ed supv
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Publicity
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based the play The Late George Apley by John P. Marquand and George S. Kaufman (New York, 21 Nov 1944), which was adapted from the novel The Late George Apley: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir by John P. Marquand (Boston, 1937).
SONGS
"Every Little Movement," words by Otto Harbach, music by Karl Hoschna
"Sweet Little Marigold," words by Howard Carlton, music by J. Bodewalt Lampe.
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 March 1947
Production Date:
late June--22 August 1946
addl scenes 29 August--early September 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 March 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1060
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
98
Length(in feet):
8,867
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11862
SYNOPSIS

In 1912, Boston Brahmin George Apley inhabits a world circumscribed by the exclusive boundaries of Beacon Hill. George, who considers himself an arbiter of propriety, exhibits more concern for the trivialities of bird watching or his wife Catherine's "radical" Thanksgiving table arrangement of snap dragons and pumpkins than political or social issues. To uphold the Apley proud tradition of insularity, George has sent his son John to Harvard and is in the midst of engineering a proper marriage between John and his cousin, Agnes Willing. As the family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner, George is displeased that his headstrong daughter Eleanor has chosen to dine with her suitor, Howard Boulder. When George's acerbic sister Amelia arrives with her droll husband Roger, Amelia is scandalized that Howard is from New York rather than Boston. Soon after, the dowdy Agnes arrives, accompanied by her mother Jane and snobbish father Horatio. At dinner, George voices his horror upon discovering that Henry Apley, a distant family member, has had the temerity to bury his mother Hattie in the family plot and has insisted that the grave be moved. After dinner, John abruptly excuses himself, and after he leaves the house, George finds a perfumed note that John dropped. George is disturbed that the note is from a woman who lives in Worcester, a foreigner by George's standards. As he bids his guests goodnight, George is flabbergasted to see Eleanor and Howard cavorting in the snow. Afterward, Eleanor informs her father that she is in love with Howard and cites the work of Sigmund Freud as the rational for her emotional display. Horatio, meanwhile, investigates John's ... +


In 1912, Boston Brahmin George Apley inhabits a world circumscribed by the exclusive boundaries of Beacon Hill. George, who considers himself an arbiter of propriety, exhibits more concern for the trivialities of bird watching or his wife Catherine's "radical" Thanksgiving table arrangement of snap dragons and pumpkins than political or social issues. To uphold the Apley proud tradition of insularity, George has sent his son John to Harvard and is in the midst of engineering a proper marriage between John and his cousin, Agnes Willing. As the family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner, George is displeased that his headstrong daughter Eleanor has chosen to dine with her suitor, Howard Boulder. When George's acerbic sister Amelia arrives with her droll husband Roger, Amelia is scandalized that Howard is from New York rather than Boston. Soon after, the dowdy Agnes arrives, accompanied by her mother Jane and snobbish father Horatio. At dinner, George voices his horror upon discovering that Henry Apley, a distant family member, has had the temerity to bury his mother Hattie in the family plot and has insisted that the grave be moved. After dinner, John abruptly excuses himself, and after he leaves the house, George finds a perfumed note that John dropped. George is disturbed that the note is from a woman who lives in Worcester, a foreigner by George's standards. As he bids his guests goodnight, George is flabbergasted to see Eleanor and Howard cavorting in the snow. Afterward, Eleanor informs her father that she is in love with Howard and cites the work of Sigmund Freud as the rational for her emotional display. Horatio, meanwhile, investigates John's Worcester paramour, Myrtle Dole, and reports that her family has had the bad taste to place an iron deer on their front lawn. Upon discovering that Howard, a lecturer at Harvard, is giving a course on his idol, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George attends one of Howard's talks. Incensed by Howard's radical interpretation, George arranges to have him fired. Furious, Eleanor informs her father that she plans to marry Howard and he responds that the marriage is entirely unsuitable. Later, at Agnes' coming out party at the Apley house, John tells Agnes that he is in love with someone else. Distraught, the love-sick Agnes runs off in tears. Catherine consoles the girl by recalling her similar experience years earlier, when her then fiancé George fell in love with an Irish girl from South Boston. After George's father sent him abroad, George came to his senses and Catherine assures her that John will, too. Roger, meanwhile pulls George aside and informs him that he has been denied the presidency of the bird watcher's club because of his callous behavior in the cemetery incident and in the firing of Howard. Criticizing George's narrow view of the world, Roger reminds him of his long lost love and counsels him to be more understanding of his children. Taking Roger's advice, George writes a letter of apology to Henry, permits Eleanor to date Howard and encourages John's courtship of Myrtle. After informing Horatio that John plans to marry Myrtle, George arranges to meet Myrtle's father Julian at the Apleys' exclusive men's club. There, Julian, a self-made iron magnate, comments on George's complacency. When George proposes that the Doles rent an apartment in Boston to prepare the Apleys' social circle for John's impending engagement, Dole declares that the marriage would never work and announces his intention to ship Myrtle off to California and thus end the courtship. Dole's statement jars George back into his myopic world, and he proclaims that Eleanor will be sent abroad and John will marry Agnes. Some time later, Eleanor returns from Europe to attend her brother's wedding and finds Agnes suffering from self doubt. After Eleanor advises Agnes to shed her stodgy clothes in favor of a more contemporary look, George takes his prospective daughter-in-law to New York on a shopping trip. There, with George's support, Agnes transforms her appearance. While strolling down the street after shopping, they meet Howard, who ridicules George for his provincialism. Afterward, Agnes sympathizes with the shaken George and praises his loving, warm qualities. On the day of the wedding, George and Agnes return from New York with Howard in tow. After escorting Eleanor to the waiting Howard, George gives them his consent to marry and presents then with two steamer tickets that were reserved for John and Agnes' honeymoon. Upon entering the church, George greets Henry, who is seated in the family pew. As a radiant Agnes walks down the aisle, John beams at his soon-to-be bride. +

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

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