The Sign of the Ram (1948)

84 or 88 mins | Drama | March 1948

Director:

John Sturges

Writer:

Charles Bennett

Cinematographer:

Burnett Guffey

Editor:

Aaron Stell

Production Designers:

Stephen Goosson, Sturges Carne

Production Company:

Signet Productions
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HISTORY

This film marked the return of actress Susan Peters to the screen after a three-year absence due to an accident in 1945 that left her wheelchair-bound. It was also her final film. In the early 1940's, Peters was billed as Suzanne Carnahan, her real name. Peters' last previous picture was the 1945 film Keep Your Powder Dry (see entry). According to a contemporary article in NYT, producer Irving Cummings and his son Irving Cummings, Jr. formed the independent production company Signet Productions in conjunction with the Orsatti Agency, which represented Susan Peters. The article also notes that Signet signed a distribution deal with Columbia, which provided production facilities for them. Peters reportedly received thirty-three percent of the film's profits. According to a pre-production HR news item, some background filming was set to take place at Lizard's Head, in Cornwall, England. ...

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This film marked the return of actress Susan Peters to the screen after a three-year absence due to an accident in 1945 that left her wheelchair-bound. It was also her final film. In the early 1940's, Peters was billed as Suzanne Carnahan, her real name. Peters' last previous picture was the 1945 film Keep Your Powder Dry (see entry). According to a contemporary article in NYT, producer Irving Cummings and his son Irving Cummings, Jr. formed the independent production company Signet Productions in conjunction with the Orsatti Agency, which represented Susan Peters. The article also notes that Signet signed a distribution deal with Columbia, which provided production facilities for them. Peters reportedly received thirty-three percent of the film's profits. According to a pre-production HR news item, some background filming was set to take place at Lizard's Head, in Cornwall, England.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Feb 1948
---
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1948
p. 3
Film Daily
2 Feb 1948
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1947
p. 9
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 1948
pp. 3-4
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 1948
p. 8
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Feb 1948
p. 4050
New York Times
10 Aug 1947
---
New York Times
4 Mar 1948
p. 30
New York Times
7 Mar 1948
---
Variety
4 Feb 1948
p. 13
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Irving Cummings Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Stephen Goossón
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Hans J. Salter
Mus
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd eng
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Sign of the Ram by Margaret Ferguson (Philadelphia, 1945).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1948
Production Date:
14 Jul--23 Aug 1947
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp.
4 March 1948
LP1486
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84 or 88
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12616
SYNOPSIS

The peaceful setting of the St. Aubyn family estate, known as Bastions, on England's western coast, masks the troubled state that exists within its walls. It is to this estate that Sherida Binyon has been summoned to serve as personal secretary to the wheelchair-bound poet Leah St. Aubyn. Soon after arriving at Bastions, Sherida is introduced to Leah's husband Mallory and her three stepchildren, Jane, Christine and Logan. As Sherida settles into her new home, Leah continues her flirtation with her physical therapist, Dr. Simon Crowdy. Simon, however, is in love with Jane. Prompted by the gossipy ramblings of her friend, Clara Brastock, Leah begins to have delusions that Sherida and her husband are having an affair. Later, when Leah denies Simon's request for permission to marry Jane, she is subjected to a frank analysis of her problems by the doctor. He tells her that she is exhibiting obsessions that are typical of those born under the astrological sign of the ram, Aries. He also accuses Leah of conditioning Jane to cling to her out of a perverse need to keep her "band of slaves intact." Stung by Simon's words, Leah exacts her revenge by lying to Jane and telling her that Simon confided in her that he thought Jane was getting too serious about their relationship. After attempting to destroy Jane and Simon's relationship, Leah next tries to drive a wedge between Logan and his new love, Catherine Woolton. She does not succeed, however, and the couple eventually announce their betrothal and intention to move to London. One day, while Logan is gone on a trip, Leah summons Catherine ...

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The peaceful setting of the St. Aubyn family estate, known as Bastions, on England's western coast, masks the troubled state that exists within its walls. It is to this estate that Sherida Binyon has been summoned to serve as personal secretary to the wheelchair-bound poet Leah St. Aubyn. Soon after arriving at Bastions, Sherida is introduced to Leah's husband Mallory and her three stepchildren, Jane, Christine and Logan. As Sherida settles into her new home, Leah continues her flirtation with her physical therapist, Dr. Simon Crowdy. Simon, however, is in love with Jane. Prompted by the gossipy ramblings of her friend, Clara Brastock, Leah begins to have delusions that Sherida and her husband are having an affair. Later, when Leah denies Simon's request for permission to marry Jane, she is subjected to a frank analysis of her problems by the doctor. He tells her that she is exhibiting obsessions that are typical of those born under the astrological sign of the ram, Aries. He also accuses Leah of conditioning Jane to cling to her out of a perverse need to keep her "band of slaves intact." Stung by Simon's words, Leah exacts her revenge by lying to Jane and telling her that Simon confided in her that he thought Jane was getting too serious about their relationship. After attempting to destroy Jane and Simon's relationship, Leah next tries to drive a wedge between Logan and his new love, Catherine Woolton. She does not succeed, however, and the couple eventually announce their betrothal and intention to move to London. One day, while Logan is gone on a trip, Leah summons Catherine to the house and tells her lies about her estranged parents. This time, Leah succeeds in breaking up the couple when Catherine believes her claim that Logan fled to London after learning that there was insanity in her family. Devastated by Leah's words, Catherine vows never to see Logan again, then disappears. Her disappearance is soon explained by a suicide note that she wrote, which is delivered to Bastions by Catherine's stepfather. A search for Catherine leads Mallory and others to Echo Cove, where she is rescued from death by Mallory. Logan eventually discovers his stepmother's lies, and he and Jane both vow never to return to Bastions. Meanwhile, the confused Christine, having been told by Leah that Sherida is the source of the family's troubles, attempts to kill Sherida by poisoning her with an overdose of pills. With the extent of Leah's sinister machinations obvious to all, Christine is sent away to boarding school and the St. Aubyn family lies in ruin. Now driven to desperation by her family's rejection, Leah wheels herself to the edge of an oceanside cliff and falls to her death.

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

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