Hangover Square (1945)

77-78 mins | Mystery | February 1945

Director:

John Brahm

Writer:

Barré Lyndon

Producer:

Robert Bassler

Cinematographer:

Joseph La Shelle

Editor:

Harry Reynolds

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Maurice Ransford

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

According to a 25 Jul 1944 HR news item, the studio was negotiating with Marlene Dietrich to appear in this picture. Modern sources claim that Dietrich was sought for the role of "Netta," and that later, after Dietrich refused the part, Geraldine Fitzgerald was under consideration. Aug 1944 HR news items reveal that Laird Cregar was placed under suspension by Twentieth Century-Fox for refusing the lead role in the picture and was temporarily replaced in the part by Glenn Langan. According to modern sources, Cregar, who had urged the studio to purchase Patrick Hamilton's book, refused the role due to his disappointment with scriptwriter Barré Lyndon's changes in the story, which included setting it in an earlier time period and altering the character of "George Harvey Bone." Despite his fears that he would be permanently typecast as a villain and never receive an opportunity to play a more typical leading man, Cregar accepted the role and for it received the only top billing of his career.
       According to conference notes in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, studio production head Darryl F. Zanuck ordered that the time period be shifted from 1937 to 1910, and that the sets from The Lodger be re-used. Although HR production charts include Reginald Gardiner in the cast of the film, he does not appear in the finished picture. An Oct 1944 DV news item reported that on 9 Oct 1944, producer Robert Bassler and actor George Sanders came to blows over Sanders' reluctance to perform a "tag line" in one scene. ... More Less

According to a 25 Jul 1944 HR news item, the studio was negotiating with Marlene Dietrich to appear in this picture. Modern sources claim that Dietrich was sought for the role of "Netta," and that later, after Dietrich refused the part, Geraldine Fitzgerald was under consideration. Aug 1944 HR news items reveal that Laird Cregar was placed under suspension by Twentieth Century-Fox for refusing the lead role in the picture and was temporarily replaced in the part by Glenn Langan. According to modern sources, Cregar, who had urged the studio to purchase Patrick Hamilton's book, refused the role due to his disappointment with scriptwriter Barré Lyndon's changes in the story, which included setting it in an earlier time period and altering the character of "George Harvey Bone." Despite his fears that he would be permanently typecast as a villain and never receive an opportunity to play a more typical leading man, Cregar accepted the role and for it received the only top billing of his career.
       According to conference notes in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, studio production head Darryl F. Zanuck ordered that the time period be shifted from 1937 to 1910, and that the sets from The Lodger be re-used. Although HR production charts include Reginald Gardiner in the cast of the film, he does not appear in the finished picture. An Oct 1944 DV news item reported that on 9 Oct 1944, producer Robert Bassler and actor George Sanders came to blows over Sanders' reluctance to perform a "tag line" in one scene. Modern sources add that their confrontation occurred over the scene at the film's end, when "George" is playing the piano inside the burning home and "Middleton" assures "Sir Henry" that it is best to leave "George" as he is.
       Several reviews compared Hangover Square to The Lodger , which was a successful 1944 Twentieth Century-Fox film produced by Bassler, directed by John Brahm, written by Lyndon and starring Cregar and Sanders. Hangover Square marked the screen debut of Faye Marlowe, the daughter of dance director Fanchon, and also featured the final film appearance of Cregar, who died on 9 Dec 1944 of a heart attack precipitated by severe dieting and abdominal surgery. In praising Cregar's performance, the Time reviewer stated, "The late Laird Cregar, brilliant and touching in his embodiment of the hero's anguished, innocent, dangerous confusion, will leave cinemaddicts pondering sadly on the major roles he might have played." Although modern sources refer to Bernard Herrmann's original composition for the film as "Concerto Macabre" or "Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra," music cue sheets contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also located at UCLA, list the piece simply as "Concerto." A modern source credits Ignace Hilsberg with playing the piece for the film's soundtrack. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Jan 1945.
---
Daily Variety
11 Oct 44
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Jan 45
p. 3, 6
Down Beat
15 Apr 45
p. 7.
Film Daily
18 Jan 45
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 44
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 44
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 44
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 44
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 44
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 45
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 45
p. 7.
Los Angeles Examiner
31 Mar 1945.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Sep 44
p. 2093.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Jan 45
p. 2277.
New York Times
8 Feb 45
p. 15.
Variety
17 Jan 45
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr to dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Transparency projection shots
Transparency projection shots
DANCE
Linda Darnell's dance coach
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Research dir
Research asst
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Linda Darnell
Piano double for Laird Cregar in concert seq
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Hangover Square
or, The Man with Two Minds by Patrick Hamilton (London, 1941).
MUSIC
Concerto by Bernard Herrmann
"Wedding of the Winds" by John T. Hall.
SONGS
"Have You Seen Joe?" "Why Do They Wake Me Up So Early in the Morning?" "All for You" and "So Close to Paradise," music by Lionel Newman, lyrics by Charles Henderson
"Gay Love," music by Bernard Herrmann, lyrics by Charles Henderson.
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1945
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 February 1945
Production Date:
late August--4 November 1944
addl scenes mid November 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
6 February 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13223
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77-78
Length(in feet):
6,966
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10428
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the early 1900s, composer George Harvey Bone finds himself walking along Fulham Road in London, and, unaware that he has just murdered an antique dealer named Ogilby, struggles to remember the events of the previous night. When George reaches his flat in Hangover Square, he is greeted by his friend Barbara and her father, Sir Henry Chapman. Sir Henry is pleased with George's progress on a new concerto and offers to conduct it at a soirée he is hosting in the winter. George is delighted by Sir Henry's generosity, but later reveals to Barbara that he has had another blackout and is uncertain about the origin of the bloodstained dagger in his pocket. Just then, George and Barbara hear a newsboy shout out the news of a murder in Fulham, and George decides to follow his doctor's recommendation and consult Allan Middleton, a Scotland Yard doctor who specializes in problems of the mind. George explains to Middleton that while he has always had "black moods," lately they have lasted longer, and he fears that he could be capable of violence. Middleton's questions prompt George to disclose that he has been working too hard, and that the moods are initiated by any loud, discordant sound. Middleton then promises to investigate and sends George home. Later that night, Middleton visits George and assures him that he must be innocent of Ogilby's murder, as the blood on George's coat was his own, and the disreputable nature of Ogilby's clientele has led police to suspect revenge or theft as the motive for the murder and subseqent burning of the shop. Middleton cautions George against working so much ... +


In the early 1900s, composer George Harvey Bone finds himself walking along Fulham Road in London, and, unaware that he has just murdered an antique dealer named Ogilby, struggles to remember the events of the previous night. When George reaches his flat in Hangover Square, he is greeted by his friend Barbara and her father, Sir Henry Chapman. Sir Henry is pleased with George's progress on a new concerto and offers to conduct it at a soirée he is hosting in the winter. George is delighted by Sir Henry's generosity, but later reveals to Barbara that he has had another blackout and is uncertain about the origin of the bloodstained dagger in his pocket. Just then, George and Barbara hear a newsboy shout out the news of a murder in Fulham, and George decides to follow his doctor's recommendation and consult Allan Middleton, a Scotland Yard doctor who specializes in problems of the mind. George explains to Middleton that while he has always had "black moods," lately they have lasted longer, and he fears that he could be capable of violence. Middleton's questions prompt George to disclose that he has been working too hard, and that the moods are initiated by any loud, discordant sound. Middleton then promises to investigate and sends George home. Later that night, Middleton visits George and assures him that he must be innocent of Ogilby's murder, as the blood on George's coat was his own, and the disreputable nature of Ogilby's clientele has led police to suspect revenge or theft as the motive for the murder and subseqent burning of the shop. Middleton cautions George against working so much and advises him to relax more, and so George goes to a pub. There, George is stunned by beautiful singer Netta Longdon, whose pianist boyfriend, Mickey, is a friend of George's. George introduces himself to Netta, but her interest in him is piqued only when he plays a captivating tune. The scheming Netta flirts with George and induces him to look after her cat in order to get him to compose for her. George's song brings in a profit for Mickey and Netta, and Mickey encourages Netta to continue to date George, even though she finds him dull. George is unaware of Mickey's relationship with Netta, and is infuriated one night when he discovers that Netta has broken a date with him in order to sing at a nightclub for theatrical producer Eddie Carstairs. Barbara, who has witnessed George's confrontation with Netta, reprimands him for wasting his talent on a common singer, and George's agitation leads to another blackout when he hears a loud noise. While in his trance, George attempts to strangle Barbara with a thuggee cord made from a drape sash, but stops and escapes without being seen. Unaware that George was her attacker, Barbara seeks comfort from him, and he promises to finish his concerto. George then works compusively on his composition and days later is visited by Netta, who chastises him for neglecting her. George informs Netta that he is through with her, but her seductive charm overcomes his resolve, and he forgets his concerto to write more songs for her opening night at Carstairs' theater. Believing that Netta has promised herself to him, George proposes to her a week later and is heartbroken to discover that she is engaged to Carstairs. George staggers home, but a loud noise throws him into a trance and he returns to Netta's hotel, where he strangles her. After rolling Netta's body in a carpet and covering her face with a mask, George carries her to the top of a massive Guy Fawkes Day bonfire, and soon all evidence of George's crime has vanished. The police are baffled by Netta's disappearance, and Middleton is puzzled by reports that George was acting suspiciously on the night she was last seen. George denies any culpability and finishes his concerto, although mounting evidence prompts Middleton to question him repeatedly. On the night of Sir Henry's soiree, Middleton asks George to come to Scotland Yard, but George locks him in a coal shed and goes to the Chapmans' house. There, as George is playing piano under Sir Henry's direction, memories of killing Netta overwhelm him. He runs off to another room while Barbara continues the performance, then makes a full confession to Middleton, who has been freed. Middleton gently tells George that he is not responsible for his actions, but when Superintendent Clay insists that George be arrested before the end of the concerto, George eludes his captors and sets the Chapman house on fire. Completely insane, George plays the finale while the house burns down around him, and Middleton assures the distraught Barbara and Sir Henry that "it's better this way." +

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

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