Old Acquaintance (1943)

110 or 116 mins | Drama | 27 November 1943

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Producer:

Henry Blanke

Cinematographer:

Sol Polito

Editor:

Terry Morse

Production Designer:

John Hughes

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to an LAT news item dated 22 Jan 1941, Warner Bros. purchased the John Van Druten play for $75,000. The play was performed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt on his birthday. The MPPA initially objected to the Van Druten play because "Kit" and "Rudd" live together before "Rudd" becomes involved with "Deirdre." This was changed in the screenplay. HR news items add the following information about the production: Olivia De Havilland was considered for a role in the film and Franchot Tone was scheduled to play the male lead, which had been announced for George Brent before the latter enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. Tone later turned down the role because, under the terms of a government wage freeze order, the studio was not permitted to pay him for his work on this film. Tone was reportedly willing to turn over his salary to a charity, but the Byrnes Act did not allow that option. The Byrnes Act prohibited an actor from earning more than the salary he or she had been paid immediately previous to 27 Oct 1942 when the law went into effect, and Tone's earnings the previous year had been uncharacteristically low because of illness.
       The Warner Bros. Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library adds the following information about the production: Jerome Cowan tested for the role of "Preston" and Rosalind Russell and Irene Dunne were considered for the role of "Kit." Although Edmund Goulding worked on early versions of the screenplay, he waived writing credit on the screenplay. The extent of his contribution is unknown. A 30 Oct 1942 ...

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According to an LAT news item dated 22 Jan 1941, Warner Bros. purchased the John Van Druten play for $75,000. The play was performed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt on his birthday. The MPPA initially objected to the Van Druten play because "Kit" and "Rudd" live together before "Rudd" becomes involved with "Deirdre." This was changed in the screenplay. HR news items add the following information about the production: Olivia De Havilland was considered for a role in the film and Franchot Tone was scheduled to play the male lead, which had been announced for George Brent before the latter enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. Tone later turned down the role because, under the terms of a government wage freeze order, the studio was not permitted to pay him for his work on this film. Tone was reportedly willing to turn over his salary to a charity, but the Byrnes Act did not allow that option. The Byrnes Act prohibited an actor from earning more than the salary he or she had been paid immediately previous to 27 Oct 1942 when the law went into effect, and Tone's earnings the previous year had been uncharacteristically low because of illness.
       The Warner Bros. Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library adds the following information about the production: Jerome Cowan tested for the role of "Preston" and Rosalind Russell and Irene Dunne were considered for the role of "Kit." Although Edmund Goulding worked on early versions of the screenplay, he waived writing credit on the screenplay. The extent of his contribution is unknown. A 30 Oct 1942 HR news item notes that Irving Rapper would replace Edmund Goulding as director because of the latter's illness. According to a modern source, when Edmund Goulding had a heart attack before filming started he was replaced by Vincent Sherman.
       Modern sources add that cameraman Sol Polito was assigned at Bette Davis' request. During rehearsals for the scene when "Millie" rages against "Kit" for stealing her husband, Miriam Hopkins tried to distract and upstage Davis. Although Davis did not lose her temper with Hopkins in public, she never worked with her again. Miriam Hopkins reprised her role in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 29 May 1944, co-starring Alexis Smith. Television versions of the play were broadcast on 14 Nov 1951 on ABC and 29 Nov 1956 on NBC. In 1976 Universal announced a planned remake, but this film was never made. Van Druten's play was also the basis for the 1981 MGM/UA film Rich and Famous starring Candice Bergen and Jacqueline Bisset and directed by George Cukor.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Nov 1943
---
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1943
pp. 3-4
Film Daily
5 Nov 1943
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 1941
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1942
p. 9
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 1942
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 1942
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 1942
p. 24
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 1943
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1943
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1943
p. 7
Los Angeles Times
22 Jan 1941
---
Motion Picture Herald
6 Nov 1943
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Nov 1943
p. 1613
New York Times
15 Nov 1943
p. 20
Variety
3 Nov 1943
p. 16
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
BRAND NAME
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Art Lueker
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Contr to scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Leon Raab
Orch arr
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit pub
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Old Acquaintance by John Van Druten, as produced by Dwight Deere Wiman (New York, 23 Dec 1940).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHORS
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 November 1943
Production Date:
11 Nov 1942--13 Feb 1943
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
27 November 1943
LP12401
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
110 or 116
Length(in feet):
9,931
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

In 1924, prize-winning novelist Kit Marlowe returns to her home town to give a lecture and is greeted by her old friend, Millie Drake. In the years since they last saw each other, Millie has married and is now pregnant with her first child, news that Kit learns first from Millie's husband Preston. At first Millie is upset that Kit does not seem eager to see her, but later, after Kit apologizes, Millie confesses that she too has written a book designed to be a best seller. Eight years later, Millie is a wealthy and successful writer of popular fiction. She and Preston and their eight-year-old daughter Deirdre are in New York City to attend the opening of Kit's play. Millie's success has helped destroy her marriage, however, and the afternoon before opening night, Preston, who is drinking heavily, tells Kit that he is in love with her. Replying that Millie would always be between them, Kit tries to patch up her friend's marriage, but Preston leaves Millie after asking Kit to keep an eye on Deirdre. Ten years later, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Kit joins the Red Cross and broadcasts a request for money over the radio. Preston, who is now in the army, hears Kit's speech and telephones her. Kit agrees to join him for a drink, sending Rudd Kendall, her younger lover, to fetch Deirdre as a surprise for Preston. Preston surprises Kit as well when he announces his engagement. The next morning, Rudd, having received his commission, begs Kit to marry him immediately. Because of the difference in their ages, Kit turns him down, ...

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In 1924, prize-winning novelist Kit Marlowe returns to her home town to give a lecture and is greeted by her old friend, Millie Drake. In the years since they last saw each other, Millie has married and is now pregnant with her first child, news that Kit learns first from Millie's husband Preston. At first Millie is upset that Kit does not seem eager to see her, but later, after Kit apologizes, Millie confesses that she too has written a book designed to be a best seller. Eight years later, Millie is a wealthy and successful writer of popular fiction. She and Preston and their eight-year-old daughter Deirdre are in New York City to attend the opening of Kit's play. Millie's success has helped destroy her marriage, however, and the afternoon before opening night, Preston, who is drinking heavily, tells Kit that he is in love with her. Replying that Millie would always be between them, Kit tries to patch up her friend's marriage, but Preston leaves Millie after asking Kit to keep an eye on Deirdre. Ten years later, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Kit joins the Red Cross and broadcasts a request for money over the radio. Preston, who is now in the army, hears Kit's speech and telephones her. Kit agrees to join him for a drink, sending Rudd Kendall, her younger lover, to fetch Deirdre as a surprise for Preston. Preston surprises Kit as well when he announces his engagement. The next morning, Rudd, having received his commission, begs Kit to marry him immediately. Because of the difference in their ages, Kit turns him down, and a disappointed Rudd joins the now-grown Deirdre for a walk. The two spend the day together and fall in love. In the meantime, Kit changes her mind about Rudd and reveals her plans to marry him to Millie. After Preston tells Millie he is remarrying and wants to see Deirdre more often, he confesses that he was once in love with Kit. Overcome with jealousy, Millie tells Deirdre about Kit's marriage plans and then accuses Kit of stealing her husband. Fed up with her friend's tantrums, Kit gives Millie a thorough shaking. That night Rudd breaks the news to Kit that he has fallen in love with Deirdre. Although it is a shock, Kit pretends to be delighted and rushes off to make sure that a disillusioned Deirdre does not miss her chance for a happy marriage. Later, Millie stops by Kit's apartment to apologize and Kit forgives her. Millie then describes her new book, Old Acquaintance , about two longtime women friends, and the two women drink to it.

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

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