Whirlpool (1950)

97 mins | Drama | January 1950

Director:

Otto Preminger

Producer:

Otto Preminger

Cinematographer:

Arthur Miller

Editor:

Louis Loeffler

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Methinks the Lady and Dilemma . Letters from spring 1945, contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, indicate that M-G-M was the first studio to express interest in producing a film based on Guy Endore's novel, and that Pandro S. Berman was to be the producer. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Endore collaborated with Harry Kleiner on several drafts of a screenplay for the picture, but it is doubtful that any of their work was used in the finished film. In Apr 1946, an HR news item announced that William Eythe would star in the picture, although in Jun 1946, HR noted that Eythe was to be replaced by Cornel Wilde. According to studio records, Thomas Brown Henry was originally set for the role of "Mr. Simms." None of these actors appeared in the final film. Due to screenwriter Ben Hecht's self-proclaimed anti-British views, in regard to England's political relationship with Palestine, the Cinematograph Exhibitors Association of Great Britain passed a resolution in 1948 stating that none of its members would show a film with which Hecht was associated, according to a 26 Nov 1950 NYT article. The article notes that Whirlpool was exhibited in England, however, because Hecht's work on the picture took place before the ban was enacted. Hecht's name was removed from the onscreen credits, and the pseudonym "Lester Bartow" was ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Methinks the Lady and Dilemma . Letters from spring 1945, contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, indicate that M-G-M was the first studio to express interest in producing a film based on Guy Endore's novel, and that Pandro S. Berman was to be the producer. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Endore collaborated with Harry Kleiner on several drafts of a screenplay for the picture, but it is doubtful that any of their work was used in the finished film. In Apr 1946, an HR news item announced that William Eythe would star in the picture, although in Jun 1946, HR noted that Eythe was to be replaced by Cornel Wilde. According to studio records, Thomas Brown Henry was originally set for the role of "Mr. Simms." None of these actors appeared in the final film. Due to screenwriter Ben Hecht's self-proclaimed anti-British views, in regard to England's political relationship with Palestine, the Cinematograph Exhibitors Association of Great Britain passed a resolution in 1948 stating that none of its members would show a film with which Hecht was associated, according to a 26 Nov 1950 NYT article. The article notes that Whirlpool was exhibited in England, however, because Hecht's work on the picture took place before the ban was enacted. Hecht's name was removed from the onscreen credits, and the pseudonym "Lester Bartow" was inserted. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Dec 1949.
---
Daily Variety
23 Nov 49
p. 3, 19
Film Daily
28 Nov 49
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 46
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 46
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 48
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 49
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 49
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 49
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Nov 49
pp. 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 50
p. 4.
Los Angeles Examiner
14 Jan 1950.
---
Motion Picture Daily
28 Nov 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Nov 49
p. 97.
New York Times
14 Jan 50
p. 9.
New York Times
26 Nov 1950.
---
Variety
23 Nov 49
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Gene Tierney's cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Methinks the Lady by Guy Endore (New York, 1945).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Methinks the Lady
Dilemma
Release Date:
January 1950
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles, Chicago and New York openings: 13 January 1950
Production Date:
6 June--mid July 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
27 January 1950
Copyright Number:
LP2940
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
97
Length(in feet):
8,746
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
13925
SYNOPSIS

In a Los Angeles department store, unorthodox therapist David Korvo watches as Ann Sutton, wife of famous psychoanalyst Dr. Bill Sutton, is stopped for shoplifting. After convincing the manager that arresting her would mean a scandal for the store, he arranges to meet her the next day. Although Ann assumes that Korvo is a blackmailer, he gives her the store records to destroy, and invites her to a party a few days later. There, Korvo informs her that he can tell that she is a kleptomaniac, and is tired and hurt by emotional pressures. When Ann admits that she cannot sleep, Korvo assures her that he can help and then hypnotizes her without her knowledge. A patient of Bill's, Theresa Randolph, sees them together and moments later warns Ann that Korvo must be after her money, to which Ann responds angrily. After a deep night's sleep, she gratefully accepts an appointment with Korvo, but insists they meet in his building's bar instead of his apartment. In the bar, Ann agrees to see Korvo professionally, and then leaves to call Theresa to apologize. Her absense gives him enough time to steal her glass and scarf, then break his own glass and ask the waiter to clean it up. A few nights later, Ann, under a hypnotic spell, retrieves the recordings of Theresa's therapy sessions with Bill and hides them in Theresa's house. While entering the house, she trips an alarm, then sits calmly next to Theresa's body, which has been strangled with Ann's scarf. Ann is arrested, and when she cannot tell Lieutenant James Colton what she did that night, he assumes that she is in love with Korvo ... +


In a Los Angeles department store, unorthodox therapist David Korvo watches as Ann Sutton, wife of famous psychoanalyst Dr. Bill Sutton, is stopped for shoplifting. After convincing the manager that arresting her would mean a scandal for the store, he arranges to meet her the next day. Although Ann assumes that Korvo is a blackmailer, he gives her the store records to destroy, and invites her to a party a few days later. There, Korvo informs her that he can tell that she is a kleptomaniac, and is tired and hurt by emotional pressures. When Ann admits that she cannot sleep, Korvo assures her that he can help and then hypnotizes her without her knowledge. A patient of Bill's, Theresa Randolph, sees them together and moments later warns Ann that Korvo must be after her money, to which Ann responds angrily. After a deep night's sleep, she gratefully accepts an appointment with Korvo, but insists they meet in his building's bar instead of his apartment. In the bar, Ann agrees to see Korvo professionally, and then leaves to call Theresa to apologize. Her absense gives him enough time to steal her glass and scarf, then break his own glass and ask the waiter to clean it up. A few nights later, Ann, under a hypnotic spell, retrieves the recordings of Theresa's therapy sessions with Bill and hides them in Theresa's house. While entering the house, she trips an alarm, then sits calmly next to Theresa's body, which has been strangled with Ann's scarf. Ann is arrested, and when she cannot tell Lieutenant James Colton what she did that night, he assumes that she is in love with Korvo and killed Theresa out of jealousy. Bill arrives at the station and does not believe Ann's pleas of innocence, as he has learned that the police have found a glass supposedly left by Ann in Korvo's apartment, and that Ann is alleged to have argued with both Korvo and Theresa. Bill then remembers a therapy session during which Theresa claimed that Korvo stole her daughter's inheritance and that she had threatened to expose him. Bill suspects Korvo may have killed Theresa because of the accusation, but Colton soon discovers that Korvo is recuperating from surgery that was done on the day of the murder. After Bill offers to play the recordings of Theresa's sessions, he finds them missing. Bill, his lawyer and Colton then question Ann again, but Bill thinks she is lying and leaves, after which she confesses to being a kleptomaniac. Bill learns about her revelation and immediately runs to Colton to tell him that he believes Ann was hypnotized into stealing the records and that Korvo then hypnotized himself to rise immediately after surgery to kill Theresa. Colton does not agree but, sympathetic because of the recent loss of his own wife, consents to take Ann back to Theresa's house to jog her memory. Meanwhile, Korvo, hearing that the police believe the records will pinpoint the murderer, hypnotizes himself so that he can go to Theresa's without pain and destroy the recordings. There, he hears Colton, Bill and Ann enter, and hides while Bill assures Ann that she can trust him to heal her. As Ann regains her memory, Korvo desperately holds them at gunpoint and plays the records while making his way to the door. Before he can escape, Korvo dies from internal bleeding, and Colton calls for an ambulance as Ann and Bill embrace. +

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.