Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

105 mins | Comedy | December 1948

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Unfinished Symphony and The Symphony Story . Preston Sturges' onscreen credit reads "An Original Screen Play Written, Directed and Produced by Preston Sturges." According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Sturges wrote his original screen story in 1932. Throughout the 1930s, Sturges submitted the story to Fox Film Corp., Universal and Paramount, all of which rejected it. Studio memos indicate that in 1938, Sturges wanted Ronald Colman to star in the story. A Mar 1948 LAT article reported that the story idea occured to Sturges when he noticed how a melancholy song on the radio subconsciously influenced him while he was trying to write a comic scene.
       Modern sources state that Sturges originally wanted Frances Ramsden to play "Daphne," and James Mason to be cast as "Sir Alfred de Carter." According to a Feb 1948 HR news item, Gene Tierney was originally set to play "Daphne." Studio records note that Jimmy Conlin was scheduled to play Daphne's father, but the role was cut before the film's release. The records also reveal that studio attorneys were worried about potential comparisons between "Sir Alfred de Carter" and famed English conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Although they advised Sturges to tone down any similarities, the FD review pointed out that Rex Harrison played "a British symphony orchestra conductor whose real life counterpart will not be hard to guess."
       In a 28 Jun 1948 memo, reprinted in a modern source, studio production chief Darryl F. Zanuck wrote to Charles Skouras, the ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Unfinished Symphony and The Symphony Story . Preston Sturges' onscreen credit reads "An Original Screen Play Written, Directed and Produced by Preston Sturges." According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Sturges wrote his original screen story in 1932. Throughout the 1930s, Sturges submitted the story to Fox Film Corp., Universal and Paramount, all of which rejected it. Studio memos indicate that in 1938, Sturges wanted Ronald Colman to star in the story. A Mar 1948 LAT article reported that the story idea occured to Sturges when he noticed how a melancholy song on the radio subconsciously influenced him while he was trying to write a comic scene.
       Modern sources state that Sturges originally wanted Frances Ramsden to play "Daphne," and James Mason to be cast as "Sir Alfred de Carter." According to a Feb 1948 HR news item, Gene Tierney was originally set to play "Daphne." Studio records note that Jimmy Conlin was scheduled to play Daphne's father, but the role was cut before the film's release. The records also reveal that studio attorneys were worried about potential comparisons between "Sir Alfred de Carter" and famed English conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Although they advised Sturges to tone down any similarities, the FD review pointed out that Rex Harrison played "a British symphony orchestra conductor whose real life counterpart will not be hard to guess."
       In a 28 Jun 1948 memo, reprinted in a modern source, studio production chief Darryl F. Zanuck wrote to Charles Skouras, the studio's president, that the film had already had a sneak preview in Riverside, CA, and that the running time was approximately 127 minutes. According to modern sources, the release of Unfaithfully Yours was delayed because studio officials feared a backlash from the negative publicity surrounding the Jul 1948 suicide of Carole Landis, who was rumored to be having an affair with Rex Harrison, and whose body was found by Harrison at her home. Although the film, which was the first of two produced by Sturges for the studio, received mostly positive reviews, it did not do well financially. In Feb 1949, independent producer William D. Shapiro filed a lawsuit against the studio and Sturges, claiming that Sturges had plagiarized a screen story written by Arthur Hoerl, which Shapiro had intended to produce. Shapiro asserted that after he hired Werner Heymann as the musical director on his intended project, Heymman discussed the idea with Sturges, who plagiarized it for Unfaithfully Yours . The disposition of the case has not been determined. In 1984, Twentieth Century-Fox released a remake of the film, also entitled Unfaithfully Yours , which was directed by Howard Zieff and starred Dudley Moore and Nastassja Kinski. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Oct 1948.
---
Daily Variety
29 Sep 48
p. 3, 7
Film Daily
1 Oct 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Citizen-News
15 Dec 1948.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Feb 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 48
p. 23.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 48
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 48
p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
21 Mar 48
part III, p. 1, 3
Motion Picture Daily
30 Sep 1948.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Oct 48
p. 4341.
New York Times
11 Jul 1948.
---
New York Times
6 Nov 48
p. 9.
Variety
29 Sep 48
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
An orig scr wrt by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Conducting instructor for Rex Harrison
SOURCES
MUSIC
Selections from the opera Semiramide by Gioacchino Rossini
selections from the opera Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg by Richard Wagner
"Francesca da Rimini" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
+
MUSIC
Selections from the opera Semiramide by Gioacchino Rossini
selections from the opera Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg by Richard Wagner
"Francesca da Rimini" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
"Jingle Bells" by J. S. Pierpont.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Unfinished Symphony
The Symphony Story
Release Date:
December 1948
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 5 November 1948
Los Angeles opening: 14 December 1948
Production Date:
18 February--mid April 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 November 1948
Copyright Number:
LP2117
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
105
Length(in feet):
9,449
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12960
SYNOPSIS

World-renowned conductor Sir Alfred de Carter returns to New York from a visit to his native England and is greeted at the airport by his beautiful, much-younger wife Daphne, with whom he is deeply in love. Upon returning to his luxurious hotel, Alfred is confronted by his boring, wealthy brother-in-law, August Henschler, who misunderstood Alfred's casual request that he watch over Daphne during his absence. Mortified to learn that August hired a private detective named Sweeney to trail Daphne, Alfred tears up Sweeney's report, throws it out into the hallway and ejects August from his study. After rehearsing the orchestra for an upcoming performance, Alfred is accosted by the hotel's house detective, who returns the torn-up report. In his attempt to burn the document, which he still has not read, Alfred sets his dressing room on fire, and the subsequent fracas makes him late for lunch with Daphne. At the restaurant, Alfred runs into August and his wife, Daphne's sister Barbara, and is disturbed by their assertion that Daphne and Anthony Windborn, Alfred's secretary, looked "too cute" sitting together to be disturbed. Alfred joins the innocent couple, but, now wondering if Sweeney has a duplicate of his report, leaves for the detective's office. Alfred is embarrassed that Sweeney, who is a music fan, recognizes him, but is truly upset upon finally reading the report and learning that, late one night, while wearing a negligee, Daphne went to another room in the hotel and stayed there for thirty-eight minutes. Thunderstruck, Alfred returns to the hotel and discovers that the hotel room listed in the report is occupied by Tony. Daphne is bewildered and hurt ... +


World-renowned conductor Sir Alfred de Carter returns to New York from a visit to his native England and is greeted at the airport by his beautiful, much-younger wife Daphne, with whom he is deeply in love. Upon returning to his luxurious hotel, Alfred is confronted by his boring, wealthy brother-in-law, August Henschler, who misunderstood Alfred's casual request that he watch over Daphne during his absence. Mortified to learn that August hired a private detective named Sweeney to trail Daphne, Alfred tears up Sweeney's report, throws it out into the hallway and ejects August from his study. After rehearsing the orchestra for an upcoming performance, Alfred is accosted by the hotel's house detective, who returns the torn-up report. In his attempt to burn the document, which he still has not read, Alfred sets his dressing room on fire, and the subsequent fracas makes him late for lunch with Daphne. At the restaurant, Alfred runs into August and his wife, Daphne's sister Barbara, and is disturbed by their assertion that Daphne and Anthony Windborn, Alfred's secretary, looked "too cute" sitting together to be disturbed. Alfred joins the innocent couple, but, now wondering if Sweeney has a duplicate of his report, leaves for the detective's office. Alfred is embarrassed that Sweeney, who is a music fan, recognizes him, but is truly upset upon finally reading the report and learning that, late one night, while wearing a negligee, Daphne went to another room in the hotel and stayed there for thirty-eight minutes. Thunderstruck, Alfred returns to the hotel and discovers that the hotel room listed in the report is occupied by Tony. Daphne is bewildered and hurt by Alfred's sudden coldness and sarcasm, and storms off to the concert hall after they quarrel. During the performance, Alfred's mind wanders, and he vividly imagines slashing Daphne to death with a straight razor, then framing Tony for the crime. Alfred laughs madly as his fantasy ends and he finishes conducting the number. When the orchestra begins another song, Alfred's imagination begins working again, and he envisions himself nobly telling Daphne that she belongs with Tony, who is closer to her own age, and giving her a substantial check with which to begin a new life. Alfred's tears as he ends his reverie are attributed by the audience to his powerful, sympathetic conducting. When the third song begins, Alfred imagines daring Tony to participate in a game of Russian roulette, while an anxious Daphne looks on. Tony cannot pull the trigger, however, and Alfred is shot as he demonstrates how to play the game with courage. Alfred almost collapses from his excessive emotions as he finishes conducting, and the audience shows its appreciation with a standing ovation. Rushing home, Alfred attempts to stage the murder that he had imagined during the first number, but his bumbling attempts make a mess of the apartment. Daphne then returns home and questions her husband about his outburst of temperament, but devotedly bandages his thumb when he cuts it while testing the sharpness of his straight razor. Finally realizing that Daphne does indeed love him, Alfred asks her why she went to Tony's room, and she reluctantly reveals her fear that Barbara was having an affair with Tony. Daphne had gone to Tony's room to see if he and Barbara were there, but they were not. When Daphne saw that she had been followed, she hid in the empty room. Alfred realizes that Sweeney was the mysterious man following Daphne, and that the situation was entirely innocent. Alfred then begs Daphne to forgive him for his irrational behavior, and she readily accepts his temperment as the excusable sufferings of a great man who has many responsibilities. Tenderly taking Daphne into his arms, Alfred tells her, "a thousand poets dreamed for a thousand years, then you were born, my love." +

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

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