Claudia (1943)

90-91 mins | Drama | 3 September 1943

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Producer:

William Perlberg

Cinematographer:

Leon Shamroy

Editor:

Robert Simpson

Production Designers:

James Basevi, Albert Hogsett

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

Rose Franken's popular characters "Claudia" and "David" first appeared in a series of ten short stories in Redbook (Oct 1938--Aug 1939). The stories, with additional material, were printed in book form as Claudia, the Story of a Marriage in 1939. Another book, Claudia and David , was published in 1940 and included two more magazine stories that had appeared in Redbook in late 1940. Both books served as the basis for Franken's play, and she added several more short stories and books to the series.
       The following information comes from contemporary news items, the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, and the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library: David O. Selznick was the first producer to purchase the rights to Franken's play, and in late Mar 1941, asked for the PCA's opinion about the property. In response, the PCA advised Selznick that while the basic story was acceptable, "Claudia's interest in the sex life of the animals on the farm, her somewhat naïve discussion of her own sex reactions and interests, and the discussion of her pregancy" would have to be deleted. A 22 Jun 1941 NYT article reported that Joan Fontaine, Dorothy McGuire and Katharine Hepburn were "all possible Claudias," according to Selznick. A 9 Mar 1942 HR news item noted that Selznick had signed Cary Grant for the role of David and would feature McGuire in the reprisal of her well-received Broadway performance as Claudia. Selznick hired Franken and her husband, William Brown Meloney, to write the screenplay, and by Apr 1942, ... More Less

Rose Franken's popular characters "Claudia" and "David" first appeared in a series of ten short stories in Redbook (Oct 1938--Aug 1939). The stories, with additional material, were printed in book form as Claudia, the Story of a Marriage in 1939. Another book, Claudia and David , was published in 1940 and included two more magazine stories that had appeared in Redbook in late 1940. Both books served as the basis for Franken's play, and she added several more short stories and books to the series.
       The following information comes from contemporary news items, the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, and the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library: David O. Selznick was the first producer to purchase the rights to Franken's play, and in late Mar 1941, asked for the PCA's opinion about the property. In response, the PCA advised Selznick that while the basic story was acceptable, "Claudia's interest in the sex life of the animals on the farm, her somewhat naïve discussion of her own sex reactions and interests, and the discussion of her pregancy" would have to be deleted. A 22 Jun 1941 NYT article reported that Joan Fontaine, Dorothy McGuire and Katharine Hepburn were "all possible Claudias," according to Selznick. A 9 Mar 1942 HR news item noted that Selznick had signed Cary Grant for the role of David and would feature McGuire in the reprisal of her well-received Broadway performance as Claudia. Selznick hired Franken and her husband, William Brown Meloney, to write the screenplay, and by Apr 1942, was considering starring Jennifer Jones as Claudia instead of McGuire. According to a modern source, Selznick ordered numerous screen tests of Jones for the role.
       According to HR news items, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Franken's play from Selznick in Nov 1942. The complicated sale had ramifications for other films, including Jane Eyre and Keys of the Kingdom (see below), and provided for the equal division of McGuire's contract between Selznick and Twentieth Century-Fox.
       The legal records indicate that Franken and Brown continued to work on the screenplay of Claudia for Twentieth Century-Fox in 1943, and that Franken protested the fact that she would not receive an onscreen screenplay credit. Jason S. Joy, the studio's public relations director, presented the matter to the Screen Writers' Guild, which ruled that, although the screenplay was closely based on the play, Franken did not make enough original contributions to the screenplay to warrant an onscreen credit. The Guild did suggest, however, that Morrie Ryskind be listed as the adaptor of the play rather than the author of the screenplay.
       According to a 25 Feb 1943 HR news item, both Frances Starr, who originated the role of "Mrs. Brown" on the New York stage, and Beverly Bayne, who appeared in the Chicago production of the play, were under consideration for the part of Mrs. Brown. Mar 1943 HR news items reveal that Twentieth Century-Fox considered both Don Ameche and Franchot Tone for the role of David before borrowing Robert Young from M-G-M for the part. McGuire (1918--2001)made her screen debut in Claudia , for which Olga Baclanova and Frank Tweddell also reprised their roles from the original stage presentation. A 5 Apr 1943 HR news item noted that Pola Negri had been tested for the role of "Madame Daruschka" before Baclanova was signed. The film marked the last screen appearance of Baclanova, who had not appeared in a picture since the 1933 Paramount release The Billion Dollar Scandal (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0339). A 25 Aug 1943 HR news item indicates that Claudia had its world premiere in Omaha, Nebraska, McGuire's hometown, in late Aug 1943.
       In 1946, Twentieth Century-Fox produced a sequel to Claudia entitled Claudia and David , for which McGuire and Robert Young reprised their roles and William Perlberg again acted as producer. Although the studio had planned to produce another sequel, in Aug 1946 HR announced that the film would not be made largely due to "difficulty in simultaneously obtaining" McGuire and Young. Franken's characters were also featured in a radio series entitled Claudia , which was broadcast on CBS, Jul--Sep 1941. The show re-appeared in syndication in 1947. The television series Claudia, the Story of a Marriage was telecast 6 Jan 1952--30 Jun 1952 on the NBC and CBS networks, and featured Joan McCracken and Hugh Reilly as the married couple. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Aug 1943.
---
Daily Variety
16 Aug 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Aug 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 42
p. 1, 10
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 42
p. 1, 9
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 42
p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 42
p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 43
pp. 5-7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 46
p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 46
p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 46
p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 46
p. 1, 10
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 46
p. 1, 33
Motion Picture Daily
16 Aug 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald
21 Aug 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Aug 43
p. 1493.
New York Times
22 Jun 1941.
---
New York Times
6 Oct 1941.
---
New York Times
16 Nov 1942.
---
New York Times
7 Feb 1943.
---
New York Times
5 Nov 43
p. 4.
Variety
18 Aug 43
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
William Goetz In Charge of Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Adpt for the screen by
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Claudia by Rose Franken, as produced for the stage by John Golden (New York, 12 Feb 1941).
SONGS
"From Yesterday Till Tomorrow," music by Alfred Newman, lyrics by Edmund Goulding and Charles Henderson
"Cow Call," music by Edmund Goulding, lyrics by Olga Baclanova.
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 September 1943
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Omaha, NE: late August 1943
Los Angeles opening: 2 September 1943
Production Date:
29 April--10 June 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 September 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12527
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90-91
Length(in feet):
8,250
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Lovely, young Claudia Naughton lives with her architect husband David in the Connecticut farmhouse that he designed. Despite Claudia's immaturity and fiscal irresponsibility, David deeply loves his delightful, energetic wife. Claudia's mother, Mrs. Brown, visits the couple frequently, although both she and David are trying to ease Claudia's extreme dependence on her. One evening, Mrs. Brown confides in David that she is ill and must return to New York the next morning for x-rays. David agrees not to tell Claudia and takes Mrs. Brown to the train station in the morning. After they depart, English playwright Jerry Seymour, who has recently moved to the community, comes to the farmhouse for help fixing a flat tire. Claudia, who habitually eavesdrops on the telephone party line, already knows who Jerry is, and although the womanizing Jerry is impressed by Claudia's beauty, he is surprised that she is married because she looks so young. David returns after Jerry leaves, and Claudia attempts to provoke his jealousy by describing Jerry's flirtatiousness. The ever-practical David refuses to indulge Claudia's whims, but does press her for an honest answer about whether she enjoys living on the farm, for he has spent most of his inheritance on it and is worried about the taxes and bills. Although she secretly longs to return to New York, where she can be with her mother every day, Claudia assures David that she wants to stay on the farm. The next day, David's sister-in-law Julia comes for luncheon along with her friend, an eccentric Russian singer named Madame Daruschka, who falls in love with the farm and offers Claudia thirty thousand dollars ... +


Lovely, young Claudia Naughton lives with her architect husband David in the Connecticut farmhouse that he designed. Despite Claudia's immaturity and fiscal irresponsibility, David deeply loves his delightful, energetic wife. Claudia's mother, Mrs. Brown, visits the couple frequently, although both she and David are trying to ease Claudia's extreme dependence on her. One evening, Mrs. Brown confides in David that she is ill and must return to New York the next morning for x-rays. David agrees not to tell Claudia and takes Mrs. Brown to the train station in the morning. After they depart, English playwright Jerry Seymour, who has recently moved to the community, comes to the farmhouse for help fixing a flat tire. Claudia, who habitually eavesdrops on the telephone party line, already knows who Jerry is, and although the womanizing Jerry is impressed by Claudia's beauty, he is surprised that she is married because she looks so young. David returns after Jerry leaves, and Claudia attempts to provoke his jealousy by describing Jerry's flirtatiousness. The ever-practical David refuses to indulge Claudia's whims, but does press her for an honest answer about whether she enjoys living on the farm, for he has spent most of his inheritance on it and is worried about the taxes and bills. Although she secretly longs to return to New York, where she can be with her mother every day, Claudia assures David that she wants to stay on the farm. The next day, David's sister-in-law Julia comes for luncheon along with her friend, an eccentric Russian singer named Madame Daruschka, who falls in love with the farm and offers Claudia thirty thousand dollars for it. Hoping to prove to David that she is a smart businesswoman, Claudia accepts the offer. Julia then outfits Claudia in one of her old negligees, and the glamorous young woman awes Jerry when he comes by for a visit. Much to Claudia's chagrin, Julia assumes that Jerry is her lover, and offers her tacit approval before leaving. Jerry bestows a forceful kiss upon Claudia and is surprised when she asks for another. David returns as they are embracing and angrily orders Claudia to change clothes. David castigates Jerry for taking advantage of the naïve Claudia, but after Jerry departs, Claudia explains to her infuriated husband that she did it to prove to him that other men find her attractive. Claudia assures David that she loves him more than ever, but he cautions her to take the responsibilities of marriage more seriously. David is again hurt when Claudia then announces that she has sold the farm. After David goes upstairs, Claudia has a dizzy spell and Bertha, their housekeeper, suggests that she is suffering from morning sickness. Although David worries that Claudia is too young to be a mother, her infectious joy pleases him. Before they leave for the doctor's office, however, David answers a call from Mrs. Brown, who has received bad news from the doctor. Mrs. Brown again asks David not to tell Claudia, but Claudia has listened in on the telephone extension and realizes that her mother is dying. David then takes Claudia to the doctor, who confirms her pregnancy. Upon their return home, Claudia is so despondent that David advises her to "make friends" with her pain, for it is part of growing up. Claudia struggles with her emotions and tells David that she now wants to stay on the farm, which is their real home. When Mrs. Brown arrives from the train station, Claudia tries to pretend that she is unaware of her condition, but her sensitivity and new maturity make Mrs. Brown aware that she knows the truth. Mrs. Brown is thrilled about the baby, although she insists that she will not live with the Naughtons full-time. Julia then arrives for a brief visit and announces that she has just reconciled with her estranged husband. While Julia and Claudia talk, Mrs. Brown realizes that Claudia will have the strength to let her go, and after Julia leaves, Claudia tenderly tucks her mother into bed. +

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

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