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HISTORY

The working title of this film was This Changing World . The opening credits are presented by an offscreen narrator's voice speaking over an image of St. Paul's Cathedral. The narrator explains: "St. Paul's Cathedral, London...That's right...Happily still standing after so much that has taken place in recent years. And to many of us, it's a symbol of something that will surely survive any other trials that may yet be in store. This may be the reason why a number of people banded themselves together to make this picture possible. In order of their appearance, these are the players who took part. Many others offered their services, but could not eventually appear through no fault of their own. The main point was the eagerness of everyone to take part in a job of real teamwork..." The narration is followed by a list of actors in order of their appearance. The name of Sir Cedric Hardwicke, who appeared before Anna Lee and after Charles Laughton, is omitted from this list, however. His name is included in the end credits, which are not as all-inclusive as the opening credits. Doreen Munroe's name is misspelled as "Monroe" in the onscreen credits. The narrator then continues: "Of course, it takes more than actors to make a picture, and we were fortunate in being able to make use of many offers of assistance... among them, these writers..." This is followed by a list of the film's writers. The narrator continues: "Also these directors and producers contributed their time and skill." A list of the film's directors follows. The narrator then concludes:"[their cooperation] symbolizes the common ... More Less

The working title of this film was This Changing World . The opening credits are presented by an offscreen narrator's voice speaking over an image of St. Paul's Cathedral. The narrator explains: "St. Paul's Cathedral, London...That's right...Happily still standing after so much that has taken place in recent years. And to many of us, it's a symbol of something that will surely survive any other trials that may yet be in store. This may be the reason why a number of people banded themselves together to make this picture possible. In order of their appearance, these are the players who took part. Many others offered their services, but could not eventually appear through no fault of their own. The main point was the eagerness of everyone to take part in a job of real teamwork..." The narration is followed by a list of actors in order of their appearance. The name of Sir Cedric Hardwicke, who appeared before Anna Lee and after Charles Laughton, is omitted from this list, however. His name is included in the end credits, which are not as all-inclusive as the opening credits. Doreen Munroe's name is misspelled as "Monroe" in the onscreen credits. The narrator then continues: "Of course, it takes more than actors to make a picture, and we were fortunate in being able to make use of many offers of assistance... among them, these writers..." This is followed by a list of the film's writers. The narrator continues: "Also these directors and producers contributed their time and skill." A list of the film's directors follows. The narrator then concludes:"[their cooperation] symbolizes the common efforts of ourselves and our allies to make secure the ideals for which the picture stands."
       According to materials in the production file on the film in the AMPAS Library, this picture was based on an idea by Hardwicke. According to a May 1941 NYT , however, article, the film was originally conceived by a group of British and French nationals living in Hollywood as a way to raise money for war refugees. After the collapse of France, the British writers and actors decided to carry on with the project. A HR news item adds that the production was halted for rewrites in Sep 1942 after America's entry into the war. The MPH review notes that the players, writers and directors worked without pay and that RKO distributed the film at cost. The profits were distributed to British and American charities connected to the United Nations war effort. According to a 21 Sep 1942 item in HR , Frank Lloyd directed the London blitz sequences that open and close the film. A production still for the film revealed that Charles Coburn appeared in a scene with Claude Rains, however Coburn was not in the released film. A Nov 1941 HR news item adds that Edmund Goulding directed the sequence in which "the Ismays" are running the Trimble house as a hotel. In his biography, Herbert Wilcox stated that he directed the sequence depicting the building of the Trimble house and the meeting between "Bill" and "Lesley." This marked British actress Jessie Matthews' sole appearance in an American film. According to modern sources, Ray Bolger [who was not identified in the viewed print] played a sentry in the film and René Clair replaced Alfred Hitchcock as one of the directors. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Apr 43
p. 135.
Daily Variety
24 Dec 42
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Mar 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 1942.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 43
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Jan 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Jan 43
p. 1125.
New York Times
25 May 1941.
---
New York Times
13 Mar 43
p. 9.
Variety
20 Jan 43
p. 9.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Montague Love
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus setting
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coordinator
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
This Changing World
Release Date:
26 March 1943
Production Date:
late May 1941--early January 1943
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
19 March 1943
Copyright Number:
LP11962
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
104-105
Length(in feet):
9,391
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7396
SYNOPSIS

During World War II, American reporter Gates Trimble Pomfret is about to leave London for home when he receives a cable from his father in New York, instructing him to sell the ancestral house and acquire the Trimble portrait. Following his father's orders, Gates proceeds to the house at 6 Pomfret Street. As he knocks at the door, German bombs begin to fall and he takes shelter in the cellar of the house. There he sees a plaque proclaiming that Eustace Trimble built the house. After the bombing ends, Gates returns upstairs and meets Lesley Trimble, the current occupant of the house. Lesley resents Gates's blatant disrespect for the old house and after telling him to discuss the sale with her solicitor, she climbs up the stairs, leaving him behind. After Gates follows her and apologizes for his insensitivity, she explains that she was born in the house when it was a hotel, and later she and her mother lovingly restored the edifice to its original purpose as a single family residence. After admonishing Gates to respect the memories of those that lived in the house, Lesley recounts the history of the dwelling: In 1804, Admiral Eustace Trimble buys an empty plot of land five miles from London. When the house is completed, he proudly displays it to his son Bill, noting the plaque he has installed in the cellar. During a raging storm one night, a woman collapses, exhausted, at the Trimble doorway. Later that evening, two men come looking for her, stating that she is Susan Trenchard, the ward of Ambrose Pomfret, who has betrothed her to William Barstow, one of the ... +


During World War II, American reporter Gates Trimble Pomfret is about to leave London for home when he receives a cable from his father in New York, instructing him to sell the ancestral house and acquire the Trimble portrait. Following his father's orders, Gates proceeds to the house at 6 Pomfret Street. As he knocks at the door, German bombs begin to fall and he takes shelter in the cellar of the house. There he sees a plaque proclaiming that Eustace Trimble built the house. After the bombing ends, Gates returns upstairs and meets Lesley Trimble, the current occupant of the house. Lesley resents Gates's blatant disrespect for the old house and after telling him to discuss the sale with her solicitor, she climbs up the stairs, leaving him behind. After Gates follows her and apologizes for his insensitivity, she explains that she was born in the house when it was a hotel, and later she and her mother lovingly restored the edifice to its original purpose as a single family residence. After admonishing Gates to respect the memories of those that lived in the house, Lesley recounts the history of the dwelling: In 1804, Admiral Eustace Trimble buys an empty plot of land five miles from London. When the house is completed, he proudly displays it to his son Bill, noting the plaque he has installed in the cellar. During a raging storm one night, a woman collapses, exhausted, at the Trimble doorway. Later that evening, two men come looking for her, stating that she is Susan Trenchard, the ward of Ambrose Pomfret, who has betrothed her to William Barstow, one of the men who has come to claim her. Taking an instant dislike to the men, Bill refuses to let them see Susan, and Mrs. Trimble banishes them from her house at gunpoint. Soon after, Pomfret comes to claim his ward, and Susan announces that she is planning to marry Bill, thus freeing her from Pomfret's dictates. To Susan's surprise, Bill accepts her offhanded proposal and soon after their wedding, he is called to fight in the Napoleonic Wars. Susan gives birth to a son on the day that word arrives of Napoleon's defeat at Trafalger. The good news is followed by bad, however, when the family is notified that Bill has died in battle. As Susan's son grows to maturity, the family suffers financial setbacks and Pomfret buys the Trimble house out of vindictiveness. He never feels comfortable in the house, however, and one night, when he hears the voice of Admiral Trimble reclaiming his residence, Pomfret slashes the Admiral's portrait and the next morning is found dead. When Gates interrupts Lesley's story by asking if there were any good Pomfrets, she tells him about Dexter Pomfret, an iron manufacturer and amateur lepidopterist. One day, Mildred Trimble, the Admiral's great granddaughter, appears at the Pomfret house to buy back her great grandfather's portrait. Neither Mildred nor the portrait leave the house, however, because Mildred and Dexter marry. After Mildred suggests that Dexter build iron bathtubs, his business soars, raising the family to prominence. Dexter's son Anthony is knighted and Anthony's children, reared with great wealth and pretentions, lose touch with their heritage. Jim Trimble, a humble coal delivery man, retains his pride in the house that Eustace Trimble, his kinsman, built, however. When Jim decides to sail to America to start a new life, he asks Jenny Jones, the Pomfret's maid, to join him and she accepts. After the death of Lord and Lady Trimble- Pomfret, their son Augustus, who has moved to New York, puts the house up for sale. In 1917, the structure is called Trimble Hall and serves as a hotel run by Mrs. Ismay and her daughter Marjorie. On the night before Nan and Henry Barringer's son, Captain Archibald Barringer, a decorated war hero, is to return home and visit them at the hotel, Ned Trimble, an American soldier, arrives at the hotel, anxious to spend his twenty-four hour leave in his ancestral home. When Archie is delayed, the Barringers invite Ned to their table for dinner, and as Mrs. Barringer speaks fondly of her son, a telegram arrives, announcing his death. After Mrs. Barringer retires to her room to be alone, Mr. Barringer insists that Ned and Marjorie join him for dinner and together they solemnly toast Archie. After dinner, Marjorie gives Ned a tour of the hotel, ending in the cellar, where Ned sees Eustace's plaque. The next morning, Ned proposes to Marjorie and the two are wed before he returns to duty. When the armistice is declared, Marjorie retreats to the cellar and remembers Ned's endearments to her. Returning to the present, Lesley continues that she and her mother, Marjorie, restored the hotel with money left by her father. As Gates muses about how each generation of Trimbles and Pomfrets seems to find their way to the house, the bombs begin to fall once more. As soon as Lesley and Gates take shelter in the cellar, a direct hit by a bomb demolishes the house but leaves the cellar intact. After the bombing ceases, Gates and Lesley inspect the ruins of the house. When they find the portrait of the Admiral still hanging, Gates suggests that they rebuild the house because so many memories still live there. +

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.