Act of Love (1953)

104-105 or 108 mins | Drama, Romance | March 1953

Director:

Anatole Litvak

Writer:

Irwin Shaw

Producer:

Anatole Litvak

Cinematographer:

Armand Thirard

Production Designer:

Noel Howard

Production Company:

Benagoss Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Girl on the Via Flaminia and Somewhere in the World . Portions of several songs are heard in the film, including square dance music and a brief rendition of the traditional "Yankee Doodle," but the titles and composers have not been confirmed. LAT and DV news items noted that film rights to Alfred Hayes's novel were originally purchased in 1949 by actor Gary Cooper. Cooper, who paid $40,000 for the rights, initially hired the author to work on a screenplay, but later that same year sold the rights to Leland Hayward and Anatole Litvak for $50,000 as well as some profits from the production. Irwin Shaw was then hired to write the screenplay, which was being scripted to star Montgomery Clift. Hayward's participation in the final production has not been determined. The United Artists pressbook noted that Kirk Douglas' sons Michael and Joel made their feature debuts in the scene during which "Robert Teller" is being chased by military police. Although several children appear in this scene, their faces are not clearly discernible, and modern sources provide no confirmation.
       According to a HR news item, this film was shot in both English and French versions. A NYT article noted that French author Joseph Kessel wrote the scenario for the French version, which, according to MFB , was released as Quelque part dans le monde , although modern sources list the title as Un acte d’amour . Release of the American version was held up due to ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Girl on the Via Flaminia and Somewhere in the World . Portions of several songs are heard in the film, including square dance music and a brief rendition of the traditional "Yankee Doodle," but the titles and composers have not been confirmed. LAT and DV news items noted that film rights to Alfred Hayes's novel were originally purchased in 1949 by actor Gary Cooper. Cooper, who paid $40,000 for the rights, initially hired the author to work on a screenplay, but later that same year sold the rights to Leland Hayward and Anatole Litvak for $50,000 as well as some profits from the production. Irwin Shaw was then hired to write the screenplay, which was being scripted to star Montgomery Clift. Hayward's participation in the final production has not been determined. The United Artists pressbook noted that Kirk Douglas' sons Michael and Joel made their feature debuts in the scene during which "Robert Teller" is being chased by military police. Although several children appear in this scene, their faces are not clearly discernible, and modern sources provide no confirmation.
       According to a HR news item, this film was shot in both English and French versions. A NYT article noted that French author Joseph Kessel wrote the scenario for the French version, which, according to MFB , was released as Quelque part dans le monde , although modern sources list the title as Un acte d’amour . Release of the American version was held up due to a dispute with author Ira Wolfert. Wolfert, who had written a novel called An Act of Love , was paid $5,000 for use of the title. Numerous news items indicate that the Advertising Code Administration required the producers to change a line of advertising that read "There is a thin line between an act of sin and an act of love" and an illustration of prostitutes. The approved advertising read "There is a world of difference between an act of love and an act of sin."
       According to modern sources, the French and American versions share cast and crew. Modern sources list the production dates as 5 Jan—14 Apr 1953, with Mar 1954 as a Paris, France release date, as well as the following additional credits for the French film crew of Un acte d’amour : Scr and dial (in association with Irwin Shaw) Joseph Kessel; Set dec asst Auguste Capelier; Cost Antoine Mayo and Gladys de Segonzac; Cost asst Léon Zay; Ed asst Jacqueline Thiédot; Makeup Louis Loue (with Roger Chanteau); Hair Alex Archamboult and Joseph Marino; Photog Léo Mirkine; Cam op Louis Née; Scr supv Jeanee Witla; Unit mgr Louis Théron and Eugène Nase; Asst unit mgr asst Margot Capelier; Asst dir Serge Vallin; Dir prod Pierre Laumont; Prod co Filmour Benagoss; and Dist co Les Artistes Associés. Additional cast listed for Un acte d’amour are listed as follows: Dora Doll ( A professional ), Jess Hahn ( Soldier ), Edmond Ardisson ( Villefranche hotel mgr ), Jean-Pierre Cassel ( Dancer ), Gérard Sety, Martine Alexis, Georges Béver, Dominique Davray, Yves Brainville, Dominique Mercas and Gérard Buhr. Their appearances in the American version have not been confirmed. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Jan 1954.
---
Daily Variety
20 Jul 1949.
---
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1949.
---
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1951.
---
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1952.
---
Daily Variety
5 Nov 1952.
---
Daily Variety
10 Jun 1953.
---
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1953.
---
Daily Variety
15 Dec 53
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Feb 1954.
---
Film Daily
17 Dec 53
p. 8.
Harrison's Reports
19 Dec 1953
p. 203.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 1953
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 53
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 1954.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
25 Dec 1953.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Jan 1949.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Dec 1953.
---
Monthly Film Bulletin
May 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Dec 53
p. 2109.
New York Times
15 Mar 1953.
---
New York Times
10 Jan 1954.
---
New York Times
12 Feb 54
p. 20.
New Yorker
20 Feb 1954.
---
Variety
17 Jun 1953.
---
Variety
26 Dec 53
p. 6.
Variety
17 Feb 1954.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Anatole Litvak Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus
Songs
SOUND
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Girl on the Via Flaminia by Alfred Hayes (New York, 1949).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Somewhere in the World
The Girl on the Via Flaminia
Quelque part dans le monde
Release Date:
March 1953
Production Date:
began 1 December 1952 in Paris, Villefranche and Victorine Studios, Nice, France
Copyright Claimant:
Benagoss Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 December 1953
Copyright Number:
LP3669
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded by Magnaphone; Western Electric
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
104-105 or 108
Length(in feet):
9,435
Countries:
France, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Robert Teller arrives by bus at Villefranche, a small town in the French Riviera. Although briefly sidetracked by a fellow American tourist who thinks they have met, Bob goes directly to the Hotel Belle Rive and requests a specific room. A little later, a woman joins him at an outdoor café table so she can avoid being propositioned by U.S. Navy sailors on shore leave. During their conversation, Bob recalls that he first visited France in World War II: During the U.S. Army liberation of Paris, Bob kisses Nina, one of many French women rewarding American soldiers with affection. Nina insists that he remember her name and gives him her address. After some time on the front, Bob returns to Paris and is put to work as a clerk in an Army office. Bob becomes reacquainted with vivacious Nina, who trades his German camera on the black market so he can pay to rent a private room in town. When Nina decides to move to Cannes with an American captain with “good teeth,” she tells Bob he can rent her apartment over a café as long as he will share it with her friend, Lise Marie Elisabeth Greifonnet, a beautiful and melancholy woman who has lost everything in the war. Nina hopes that the brash but war-weary American will fall in love with Lise. Lise, however, is resolutely unaffected by Bob’s charm, and resents that they must pretend to be married so that the owners, Adele La Caux, her husband Fernand and their war-embittered son Claude, will allow them to remain. Like Claude, Lise is offended by the ... +


Robert Teller arrives by bus at Villefranche, a small town in the French Riviera. Although briefly sidetracked by a fellow American tourist who thinks they have met, Bob goes directly to the Hotel Belle Rive and requests a specific room. A little later, a woman joins him at an outdoor café table so she can avoid being propositioned by U.S. Navy sailors on shore leave. During their conversation, Bob recalls that he first visited France in World War II: During the U.S. Army liberation of Paris, Bob kisses Nina, one of many French women rewarding American soldiers with affection. Nina insists that he remember her name and gives him her address. After some time on the front, Bob returns to Paris and is put to work as a clerk in an Army office. Bob becomes reacquainted with vivacious Nina, who trades his German camera on the black market so he can pay to rent a private room in town. When Nina decides to move to Cannes with an American captain with “good teeth,” she tells Bob he can rent her apartment over a café as long as he will share it with her friend, Lise Marie Elisabeth Greifonnet, a beautiful and melancholy woman who has lost everything in the war. Nina hopes that the brash but war-weary American will fall in love with Lise. Lise, however, is resolutely unaffected by Bob’s charm, and resents that they must pretend to be married so that the owners, Adele La Caux, her husband Fernand and their war-embittered son Claude, will allow them to remain. Like Claude, Lise is offended by the arrogant Americans who have overtaken their city, yet Claude sneers at Lise as another French woman who has sold herself to the Americans. Lise is unable to find employment with the U.S. Army and, when she follows up on a tip from two well-meaning women, suffers a humiliating interview with a Latin American official who dismisses her upon learning she will not date him. Destitute, Lise is about to pawn a necklace when she is caught in a police round-up of black marketeers, but she is quickly released. Bob is delighted when Lise returns to the flat, despite her distrust and sullen demeanor. After Bob humbly admits that he was nothing more than a classified advertising salesman before the war and kisses Lise, she melts and offers her first smile. Bob and Lise, now a happy couple, visit the palace at Versailles and later attend a USO square dance. During their trip home on the subway, Lise reveals that the happiest time of her life was during a family vacation at the Hotel Belle Rive, where she stayed in a room with rose-patterned wallpaper, and dreamed of the day she would return with a lover. Bob is forced to return to the barracks before curfew, leaving Lise alone on the dark streets where she is rescued by Claude from the unwelcome attention of British soldiers. Having seen the genuine love between Bob and Lise, Claude now puts his faith in her and gives her a special gift: a German bullet extracted from his skull, strung like a pendant on a chain. The next day, French and military police come to the café to question Adele and the others because Adele had referred an American soldier to a woman who then robbed him. Lise is ordered to verify her documents with a magistrate because she has no marriage certificate. When Lise does not return, Fernand goes to see Bob at his office and tells him what must be happening to her as he speaks: Lise is arrested because her own papers are two years out of date and she is unable to provide proof of marriage. She is incarcerated with a group of tough, bullying prostitutes and the experience terrifies her. Hours later Lise is given a medical examination, is fully documented and released, but will ever after have a tarnished reputation with the police. Lise returns home in a daze, only to endure more punishment from the disappointed Claude, who grabs her and threatens to cut her throat. Bob rescues Lise before she is hurt and pledges to marry her despite her protests that she made an unfair bargain for love. Bob seeks out his commanding officer, Henderson, to approve the marriage but Henderson refuses because he thinks Bob has made the decision in haste. Henderson believes that he is doing Bob a favor by having him transferred immediately. Bob makes a desperate bid to keep his promise to Lise by jumping from the transport truck so he can meet his sergeant, who has promised to provide false paperwork allowing the marriage. Bob is caught, however, and fails to keep his appointment with either Lise or the sergeant. A military police officer agrees to call Lise on Bob’s behalf, but his message is cryptic, and Claude appears unexpectedly and tells her she has been used. Lise walks to a bridge by the river and disappears. Bob’s thoughts now return to the present. The tourist, Henderson, approaches him again, finally remembering their prior relationship. When he inquires about Lise, Bob says that she was found in the river a long time before. In the hotel room with rose wallpaper, Bob recalls Lise’s voice. +

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

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