Intermezzo, a Love Story (1939)

66 mins | Drama | 22 September 1939

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Escape to Happiness . It is also known as Intermezzo . According to David O. Selznick memos reproduced in a modern source, the title Intermezzo was not used because Selznick feared that the obscurity of the word would confuse the audience. The opening credits of the film read "introducing Ingrid Bergman." This was Bergman's first English-language film. She also appeared as "Anita Hoffman" in the 1936 Swedish film of the same name, directed by Gustaf Molander and starring Gosta Ekman and Inga Tidblad. According to news items in FD , William Wyler was originally to have directed this picture but when the script was not ready on time, Wyler resigned because of a previous committment to Samuel Goldwyn to direct Hans Christian Anderson . (That film, however, was not made until 1952, at which time Charles Vidor was the director.)
       HR production charts add that Harry Stradling began photography on the film, but was later replaced by Gregg Toland. Stradling received no credit onscreen or in reviews. A news item in LAT notes that John Van Druten was to have worked on the script, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. News items in HR note that the picture was originally to have been produced by the late Merritt Hulburd. This was the first film produced by Leslie Howard. Selznick offered Howard the job as an inducement to appear in Gone With the Wind (see above). Assistant director Walter Mayo was on loan from M-G-M, director Gregory ... More Less

The working title of this film was Escape to Happiness . It is also known as Intermezzo . According to David O. Selznick memos reproduced in a modern source, the title Intermezzo was not used because Selznick feared that the obscurity of the word would confuse the audience. The opening credits of the film read "introducing Ingrid Bergman." This was Bergman's first English-language film. She also appeared as "Anita Hoffman" in the 1936 Swedish film of the same name, directed by Gustaf Molander and starring Gosta Ekman and Inga Tidblad. According to news items in FD , William Wyler was originally to have directed this picture but when the script was not ready on time, Wyler resigned because of a previous committment to Samuel Goldwyn to direct Hans Christian Anderson . (That film, however, was not made until 1952, at which time Charles Vidor was the director.)
       HR production charts add that Harry Stradling began photography on the film, but was later replaced by Gregg Toland. Stradling received no credit onscreen or in reviews. A news item in LAT notes that John Van Druten was to have worked on the script, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. News items in HR note that the picture was originally to have been produced by the late Merritt Hulburd. This was the first film produced by Leslie Howard. Selznick offered Howard the job as an inducement to appear in Gone With the Wind (see above). Assistant director Walter Mayo was on loan from M-G-M, director Gregory Ratoff was borrowed from Fox and photographer Gregg Toland was borrowed from Goldwyn for this picture. According to another news item in HR , Ratoff wanted to act in this picture, but Selznick vetoed his request.
       According to the memos, Selznick bought the rights to the Swedish film because he thought that he could save money by "actually duplicating, as far as practicable, the cut [foreign] film." This would save on unnecessary camera angles and scenes. Selznick also considered Ronald Colman, William Powell and Charles Boyer for the male lead and Loretta Young for the female lead. The film was shot partially on location in Monterey and Santa Monica, CA. A news item in HR notes that production was shut down for several days at the end of July for script revisions. The film marked actress Enid Bennett's return to the screen after an eight-year absence.
       Materials contained in the MPAA/PCA disclose that Joseph Breen insisted that "Anita" be punished for her adultery. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score. In 1945, Bergman starred with Joseph Cotton in a Lux Radio Theater version of the story. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Sep 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Jun 39
p. 2.
Film Daily
4 Oct 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 39
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 39
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
3 Feb 1939.
---
Motion Picture Daily
29 Sep 39
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Sep 39
pp. 38-39.
New York Times
6 Oct 39
p. 31.
Variety
4 Oct 39
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2nd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Intermezzo" by Heinz Provost.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Escape to Happiness
Release Date:
22 September 1939
Production Date:
6 June--3 August 1939
retakes early August 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Selznick International Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 November 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9228
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
66
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5671
SYNOPSIS

Virtuoso violinist Holger Brandt returns home to Stockholm after a lengthy concert tour to discover that although he still loves his wife Margit, the romance has gone out of his marriage. Finding himself attracted to the youth and passion of his daughter Ann Marie's piano teacher, Anita Hoffman, Holger proposes that Anita replace his accompanist Thomas Stenborg, who is retiring to teach music. Anita refuses, but soon is drawn into performing as Holger's offstage accompanist. Ashamed, Anita insists upon ending their affair, but Holger is unable to face losing her. After confessing all to Margit, Holger goes to Anita, and the two leave on an extended tour together. After the tour ends, they go on a holiday during which Anita is notified that she has won a coveted music scholarship. Recognizing that acceptance of the scholarship would mean separation from Holger, Anita turns it down, but soon senses Holger's growing longing for his family. At the seaside, they encounter Stenborg, who counsels Anita to accept the scholarship and leave Holger, for he contends, she could never be happy with a forbidden love. Anita accepts Stenborg's advice, resigning herself to the reality that she can only fill the role of an intermezzo in Holger's life. After Anita's departure, Holger, disconsolate, wanders the country alone, returning much later to see his daughter Ann Marie. As Ann Marie runs to her father, she is struck by a car, and Holger carries her home in his arms. Margit and Holger are then reconciled by their mutual love for Ann Marie, and the family is reunited at ... +


Virtuoso violinist Holger Brandt returns home to Stockholm after a lengthy concert tour to discover that although he still loves his wife Margit, the romance has gone out of his marriage. Finding himself attracted to the youth and passion of his daughter Ann Marie's piano teacher, Anita Hoffman, Holger proposes that Anita replace his accompanist Thomas Stenborg, who is retiring to teach music. Anita refuses, but soon is drawn into performing as Holger's offstage accompanist. Ashamed, Anita insists upon ending their affair, but Holger is unable to face losing her. After confessing all to Margit, Holger goes to Anita, and the two leave on an extended tour together. After the tour ends, they go on a holiday during which Anita is notified that she has won a coveted music scholarship. Recognizing that acceptance of the scholarship would mean separation from Holger, Anita turns it down, but soon senses Holger's growing longing for his family. At the seaside, they encounter Stenborg, who counsels Anita to accept the scholarship and leave Holger, for he contends, she could never be happy with a forbidden love. Anita accepts Stenborg's advice, resigning herself to the reality that she can only fill the role of an intermezzo in Holger's life. After Anita's departure, Holger, disconsolate, wanders the country alone, returning much later to see his daughter Ann Marie. As Ann Marie runs to her father, she is struck by a car, and Holger carries her home in his arms. Margit and Holger are then reconciled by their mutual love for Ann Marie, and the family is reunited at last. +

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.