The Pied Piper (1942)

84 or 86-87 mins | Drama | 21 August 1942

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HISTORY

Nunnally Johnson's onscreen credit reads "Produced and Written for the screen by Nunnally Johnson." An abridged version of Nevil Shute's novel appeared in Collier's from 8 Nov 1941 to 3 Jan 1942, and in the Apr 1942 issue of Reader's Digest. According to HR news items, Irving Pichel replaced Archie Mayo after Mayo was switched by Twentieth Century-Fox to Tampico (see entry), and studio publicity noted that Peggy Ann Garner replaced Clare Sandars in the role of "Sheila Cavanaugh" after Sandars was stricken with measles. Studio publicity also notes that some scenes were shot on location in Agoura, CA. Although Morton Lowry is listed in the Var review as playing "Roger Dickinson," he is not in the finished film. A 30 Mar 1942 studio press release reported that Lowry was to play the "romantic part opposite" Anne Baxter. According to a modern source, the picture marked the screen debut of actor Jim Backus, but he could not be identified in the viewed print. Rochester, NY was chosen as the site of the film's world premiere because throughout the picture, "Howard" and "Ronnie Cavanaugh" argue about whether Rochester is a state or city.
       The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Cinematography (black and white), and Monty Woolley received a nomination for Best Actor. The picture was also named one of FD's Ten Best Pictures of 1942. Although some modern sources claim that the picture is based on the fable "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," the fable merely provided inspiration for Nevil Shute's novel. Roddy McDowall and Anne ...

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Nunnally Johnson's onscreen credit reads "Produced and Written for the screen by Nunnally Johnson." An abridged version of Nevil Shute's novel appeared in Collier's from 8 Nov 1941 to 3 Jan 1942, and in the Apr 1942 issue of Reader's Digest. According to HR news items, Irving Pichel replaced Archie Mayo after Mayo was switched by Twentieth Century-Fox to Tampico (see entry), and studio publicity noted that Peggy Ann Garner replaced Clare Sandars in the role of "Sheila Cavanaugh" after Sandars was stricken with measles. Studio publicity also notes that some scenes were shot on location in Agoura, CA. Although Morton Lowry is listed in the Var review as playing "Roger Dickinson," he is not in the finished film. A 30 Mar 1942 studio press release reported that Lowry was to play the "romantic part opposite" Anne Baxter. According to a modern source, the picture marked the screen debut of actor Jim Backus, but he could not be identified in the viewed print. Rochester, NY was chosen as the site of the film's world premiere because throughout the picture, "Howard" and "Ronnie Cavanaugh" argue about whether Rochester is a state or city.
       The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Cinematography (black and white), and Monty Woolley received a nomination for Best Actor. The picture was also named one of FD's Ten Best Pictures of 1942. Although some modern sources claim that the picture is based on the fable "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," the fable merely provided inspiration for Nevil Shute's novel. Roddy McDowall and Anne Baxter reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 21 Dec 1942, co-starring Frank Morgan. A second Lux version was broadcast on 6 Nov 1944, starring Frank Morgan and Signe Hasso. Shute's novel was filmed for television under the title Crossing to Freedom; this British-American co-production starred Peter O'Toole and Mare Winningham and aired in the United States on 8 Apr 1990.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Jul 1942
---
Daily Variety
8 Jul 1942
p. 3
Film Daily
8 Jul 1942
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 1942
p. 14
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 1942
p. 15
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 1942
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 1942
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1942
p. 5
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 1942
p. 13
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1942
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 1942
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 1942
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 1942
p. 7
Motion Picture Daily
8 Jul 1942
---
Motion Picture Herald
12 Sep 1942
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Jul 1942
p. 765
New York Herald Tribune
26 Apr 1942
---
New York Times
13 Aug 1942
p. 15
Variety
8 Jul 1942
p. 8
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Gen press rep
Dir of pub
Curly Twiford
Trainer of Pete the singing owl
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Pied Piper by Nevil Shute (New York, 1942).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"Ma grand'tante," music by Leo Arnaud, lyrics by Nunnally Johnson.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 August 1942
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Rochester, NY: 16 Jul 1942
Production Date:
23 Mar--18 May 1942
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
21 August 1942
LP12949
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84 or 86-87
Length(in feet):
7,746 , 7,859
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8417
SYNOPSIS

Mr. Howard, an Englishman vacationing in the South of France in 1940, is horrified when he learns of the evacuation of Dunkirk and the possibliity of Hitler invading England. Deciding that his place is at home, Howard makes plans to leave immediately for Paris and from there go to London. Despite Howard's dislike of children, fellow Englishman Cavanaugh, a League of Nations official, and his wife persuade him to escort their children, Ronnie and Sheila, back to England while they return to Switzerland. On the way to Paris, Howard and his charges stop in Joigny, where their train is commandered by the French military. When they board a bus to Chartres, Howard realizes that he has acquired a new ward, Rose, a French girl whose father works in London. Although Howard is angry at Ronnie, for whom he has a particular dislike, for inviting Rose to join them, he allows her to remain. Once again the travelers are disrupted, first when their bus breaks down and then when it is attacked by German aircraft. Howard soon realizes that he has a fourth child in tow: Pierre, a shell-shocked French lad whose parents were killed in the aerial assault. The final addition to the group is Willem, a Dutch boy, and Howard is mystified by the children's ability to understand each other despite their different languages. Howard takes his charges to the home of the Rougerons, whom he had met on a previous vacation. The Rougeron's daughter Nicole agrees to accompany Howard and the children to the seaside, in the hope of convincing her uncle Aristide to ferry them across the Channel. On the train ...

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Mr. Howard, an Englishman vacationing in the South of France in 1940, is horrified when he learns of the evacuation of Dunkirk and the possibliity of Hitler invading England. Deciding that his place is at home, Howard makes plans to leave immediately for Paris and from there go to London. Despite Howard's dislike of children, fellow Englishman Cavanaugh, a League of Nations official, and his wife persuade him to escort their children, Ronnie and Sheila, back to England while they return to Switzerland. On the way to Paris, Howard and his charges stop in Joigny, where their train is commandered by the French military. When they board a bus to Chartres, Howard realizes that he has acquired a new ward, Rose, a French girl whose father works in London. Although Howard is angry at Ronnie, for whom he has a particular dislike, for inviting Rose to join them, he allows her to remain. Once again the travelers are disrupted, first when their bus breaks down and then when it is attacked by German aircraft. Howard soon realizes that he has a fourth child in tow: Pierre, a shell-shocked French lad whose parents were killed in the aerial assault. The final addition to the group is Willem, a Dutch boy, and Howard is mystified by the children's ability to understand each other despite their different languages. Howard takes his charges to the home of the Rougerons, whom he had met on a previous vacation. The Rougeron's daughter Nicole agrees to accompany Howard and the children to the seaside, in the hope of convincing her uncle Aristide to ferry them across the Channel. On the train ride there, Howard learns that Nicole and his son John, an R.A.F. pilot who was shot down two months earlier, were in love, and they comfort each other with their memories of him. After they reach a small village near Brest, Aristide arranges for a fisherman named Focquet to transport them across the Channel. As they are boarding the boat, however, the group is captured by German soldiers. They are taken to Major Diessen, a Gestapo officer, who refuses to believe Howard's story, suspecting instead that he is the spy who arranged for the English bombardment of Brest during a visit by Hitler. When Howard offers to confess to whatever charges Diessen wants as long as Nicole, Focquet and the children are released, the major is intrigued. Diessen learns from Howard that he intended to send the youngsters to his daughter in America for safekeeping and that he does not care that Pierre is Jewish. When Howard asserts that he would do the same for a German child, Diessen agrees to allow the group to go free if Howard will send his young niece Anna, who is half-Jewish, to his brother in New York. Howard agrees, and after bidding farewell to Nicole, takes the children to England. Soon after, Howard is in his London club, where he assures his friends that he did not have too much difficulty returning from France.

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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.