Indiscreet (1958)

98 or 100 mins | Romantic comedy | 26 July 1958

Director:

Stanley Donen

Writer:

Norman Krasna

Cinematographer:

F. A. Young

Editor:

Jack Harris

Production Designer:

Don Ashton

Production Company:

Grandon Productions, Ltd.
Full page view
HISTORY

An early working title of the film was Kind Sir , the title of the Norman Krasna play on which it was based. The backdrop of the film's opening sequence consists of shots of yellow and red roses, showing the cast and crew credits on gift cards that accompany the roses. The sparsely scored soundtrack heard intermittently throughout the film is played by a piano, providing, as a modern source described, a “politely restrained” mood. “Anna Kalman’s” name appears in reviews and other sources variously as Ann, Anne or Anna, but she is called “Anna” in the film.
       The original 1953 Broadway play Kind Sir , which starred Mary Martin and Charles Boyer, was set in New York. According to a Jan 1958 NYT article, Cary Grant agreed to appear or star in Indiscreet if Ingrid Bergman was cast as the female lead. However, Bergman was already committed to the film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (see below), which was filmed in Great Britain. To accommodate her schedule, the setting of the story for Indiscreet was moved to London.
       The film was shot at Elstree Studios and on location in London. Among the many shots shown of that city are the exteriors of Leicester Art Galleries and the Garrick Club, Piccadilly Circus, Thames Embankment at Cleopatra’s Needle, and the foyer and upstairs of the Crush Bar of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Sounds and shots of Big Ben chiming are used as a continuity device. The Garrick Club’s dining room was recreated in ... More Less

An early working title of the film was Kind Sir , the title of the Norman Krasna play on which it was based. The backdrop of the film's opening sequence consists of shots of yellow and red roses, showing the cast and crew credits on gift cards that accompany the roses. The sparsely scored soundtrack heard intermittently throughout the film is played by a piano, providing, as a modern source described, a “politely restrained” mood. “Anna Kalman’s” name appears in reviews and other sources variously as Ann, Anne or Anna, but she is called “Anna” in the film.
       The original 1953 Broadway play Kind Sir , which starred Mary Martin and Charles Boyer, was set in New York. According to a Jan 1958 NYT article, Cary Grant agreed to appear or star in Indiscreet if Ingrid Bergman was cast as the female lead. However, Bergman was already committed to the film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (see below), which was filmed in Great Britain. To accommodate her schedule, the setting of the story for Indiscreet was moved to London.
       The film was shot at Elstree Studios and on location in London. Among the many shots shown of that city are the exteriors of Leicester Art Galleries and the Garrick Club, Piccadilly Circus, Thames Embankment at Cleopatra’s Needle, and the foyer and upstairs of the Crush Bar of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Sounds and shots of Big Ben chiming are used as a continuity device. The Garrick Club’s dining room was recreated in the studio, as was the Painted Hall in the Palace of Greenwich, where "Anna" and “Philip” dance an eightsome Scottish reel.
       The set of Anna’s flat, according to a Jan 1958 NYT article, was furnished with Pablo Picasso drawings and works by artists Raoul Dufy, Georges Roualt and John Piper that were borrowed from English scene designers Oliver Messel and Roger Furse, and various English art galleries. The automobile Anna’s chauffeur drives is a 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, which, at that time, was valued at $23,000. According to a modern source, Grant bought the car after the completion of filming.
       According to the HR review, “Bergman’s costumes and Grant’s wardrobe are not only the last word from the smart apparel magazines but major contributions to the dramatic situation.” The review noted that Anna’s choice to don a homely flannel nightgown on the night before Philip is to leave for America was a telling comment on her perception of the state of their relationship. Also mirroring Anna and Philip’s relationship was an excerpt from the play in which Anna appears. Anna quotes from the play during the flannel nightgown scene.
       As noted in a May 1958 HCN article, the film employed a split-screen effect showing Philip and Anna in their separate beds in different cities. According to the article, Donen had “two bedrooms built side by side on the sound stage, and…two separate camera and sound crews. Their operations were synchronized, but each color camera photographed only one-half of the action.” Although the characters are supposed to be three hundred miles apart, the effect resulted in their appearing to be “side by side in bed.” This was significant in 1958, when even married couples could not be shown together in the same bed. Because the actors could hear each other’s words as they were spoken, “their emotional reactions had far more romantic impact than if the action of each split-screen half had been staged at different times.” The HR review describes how the act of Grant straightening his blanket in Paris appears “to conquer space by patting Bergman’s London derriere.” The HCN article predicted that this method “might well set a precedent for future scenes of this kind.”
       Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Dec 1957 and Jan 1958 HR news items add Leslie Weston, Len Sharp, Martin Boddey, Diane Clare and Robert Desmond to the cast. A Dec 1957 HR news item and HR production charts indicate that Margaret Johnston was replaced by Phyllis Calvert. According to a modern source, Johnston left because of differences with Donen. Modern sources add John Welsh ( Passport official ), Michael Lewis, and David Coote to the cast.
       Indiscreet marked the first of two films produced by Grandon Productions, Ltd., which was owned by Grant and Donen. [The company's final film was The Grass Is Greener (see above).] According to Aug 1968 DV and HR news items, Grant, Donen, and writer Norma Krasna filed a breach-of-contract suit against Warner Bros. after the studio batched Indiscreet , of which the plaintiffs owned 75% of the profits from the picture, with 47 other films owned wholly by Warner Bros. According to the news items, the studio sold the batch and then divided the profits equally among the pictures, “having the results of depriving the plaintiffs of their proper share of television incomes.” The outcome of the suit is not known. A television movie, Indiscreet , based on Krasna’s play aired in 1988. This version was directed by Richard Michaels and starred Robert Wagner and Lesley-Anne Down.

More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Apr 58
pp. 230-31, 240.
Box Office
9 Jun 1958.
---
Daily Variety
28 May 58
p. 3.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1968.
---
Film Daily
29 May 58
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
5 May 1958.
---
Hollywood Citizen-News
7 May 1958.
---
Hollywood Citizen-News
17 Jul 1958.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 1957
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 1957
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 1958
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 1958
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 1968.
---
Life
7 Jul 1958
p. 69.
Los Angeles Examiner
17 Jul 1958.
---
Los Angeles Mirror-News
12 Nov 1957.
---
Los Angeles Mirror-News
17 Jul 1958.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Jul 1958.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Jul 1958.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Aug 1958
Part V, pp. 1-2.
MFB
Aug 1958
p. 99.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 May 58
p. 848.
New York Times
28 Jan 1958.
---
New York Times
27 Jun 58
p. 18.
Newsweek
7 Jul 1958.
---
Time
21 Jul 1958.
---
Variety
28 May 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Scenic artist, Painted Hall
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cary Grant's ward
Jewelry by
Furs by
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus comp
SOUND
Sd rec
Sd rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title credits des
DANCE
Adv for Scottish reel
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Casting dir
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Kind Sir by Norman Krasna, produced by Joshua Logan (New York, 4 Nov 1953).
SONGS
"Indiscreet," music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Kind Sir
Release Date:
26 July 1958
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 June 1958
Los Angeles opening: 16 July 1958
Production Date:
18 November 1957--early February 1958 at Elstree Studios, Elstree, England
Copyright Claimant:
Grandon Productions, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
26 July 1958
Copyright Number:
LP15267
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
98 or 100
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18977
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Bored with her companions, popular stage star Anna Kalman returns early from Europe to her fashionable London apartment, surprising her housekeeper and chauffeur, Doris and Carl Banks. Anna, who is single and nearing middle-age, confides to her sister, Margaret Munson, that her recent, handsome paramour could not hold a conversation, but Margaret tells her not to expect so much from a man and consoles her that “someone will turn up.” She invites Anna to join her and her husband Alfred at a banquet hosted by the Foreign Office, in which Alfred holds an important position. Anna declines, being uninterested in listening to the banquet speaker discuss “hard currency,” and continues preparing for a quiet evening by removing her makeup with cold cream. Unknown to Anna, Alfred has invited Philip Adams, an American banker-diplomat from Paris who is to address the banquet, to use the apartment to change his clothes. When Philip arrives, Anna is surprised by the unexpected and handsome guest, and he is equally impressed with her, despite the cold cream on her face. Noting Anna’s interest, Margaret asks her where “Mrs. Adams can dress," as a way to determine if Philip is married and Philip says, "There is no Mrs. Adams." Philip convinces Anna to attend the banquet and while the others are changing clothes, Alfred tells Margaret that the Foreign Office is trying to woo Philip to accept a NATO post in Paris. At the end of the evening, while waiting in Anna’s apartment for his train back to Paris, Philip tells her that he is ambivalent about the NATO job. Because their mutual attraction seems obvious, ... +


Bored with her companions, popular stage star Anna Kalman returns early from Europe to her fashionable London apartment, surprising her housekeeper and chauffeur, Doris and Carl Banks. Anna, who is single and nearing middle-age, confides to her sister, Margaret Munson, that her recent, handsome paramour could not hold a conversation, but Margaret tells her not to expect so much from a man and consoles her that “someone will turn up.” She invites Anna to join her and her husband Alfred at a banquet hosted by the Foreign Office, in which Alfred holds an important position. Anna declines, being uninterested in listening to the banquet speaker discuss “hard currency,” and continues preparing for a quiet evening by removing her makeup with cold cream. Unknown to Anna, Alfred has invited Philip Adams, an American banker-diplomat from Paris who is to address the banquet, to use the apartment to change his clothes. When Philip arrives, Anna is surprised by the unexpected and handsome guest, and he is equally impressed with her, despite the cold cream on her face. Noting Anna’s interest, Margaret asks her where “Mrs. Adams can dress," as a way to determine if Philip is married and Philip says, "There is no Mrs. Adams." Philip convinces Anna to attend the banquet and while the others are changing clothes, Alfred tells Margaret that the Foreign Office is trying to woo Philip to accept a NATO post in Paris. At the end of the evening, while waiting in Anna’s apartment for his train back to Paris, Philip tells her that he is ambivalent about the NATO job. Because their mutual attraction seems obvious, Anna invites Philip to the ballet on Saturday, to which he responds that he is married. To clear up the misconception he caused earlier, Philip explains that he meant his wife is not “here tonight” and says that he is separated, but cannot divorce. Having clarified his situation, Philip contends that there are chivalrous “rules” of behavior for men concerning women. At first, Anna is resigned to never see Philip again, but as he is leaving the building, she has the concierge intercept him and again invites him to the ballet. On Saturday, he arrives at her apartment, preceded by dozens of yellow roses he has sent. As they walk to the exclusive Players’ Club for dinner, Anna is stopped by fans seeking autographs. At dinner, they are so immersed in their conversation that they are late for the ballet, and then give up their seats to a young couple and return to the club to talk. Reluctant to end the evening, they walk along the Thames, while she tacitly decides whether to continue the relationship. When they reach her apartment, Anna invites Philip up for a drink. In the morning, when Philip phones Anna from his hotel room bed, she invites him to her apartment for breakfast. Over the meal, Philip tells Anna that he has decided to take the NATO job. In the following months, their relationship flourishes, as Philip calls Anna every night from Paris and visits on weekends, finally taking a second apartment in her building. Although they conduct their relationship discreetly to protect Anna’s reputation with her public, Margaret warns Anna that NATO, through Scotland Yard, keeps track of Philip’s activities and is aware of their affair. Margaret also tells Anna that Philip is married and is surprised that Anna already knows, yet still hopes to marry him in the future. Anna begins work on a new play, which eventually opens to great acclaim. Her relationship with Philip grows stronger, and they spend Christmas together. When she learns that Philip has bought the Sea-Witch , the yacht she tried to charter for her birthday, she suggests that he spends money on her because of his guilty conscience. Despite the fact that Philip is married, Anna is content with her life. Doris is pleased for Anna’s happiness, but Carl pessimistically predicts that “it can’t go on with him married.” One day, Philip returns from Paris with news that NATO is relocating him for five months to a New York post. Unhappy, Anna suggests he get a divorce and marry her, but then, horrified by her behavior, apologizes profusely. Because his ship leaves the next day and he will miss her birthday, Philip asks her to drink a toast at the first stroke of Big Ben at midnight, and promises that he will do the same from his ship at sea. That day, while playing snooker with Alfred, Philip asks for permission to fly to New York instead of sail, so that he can spend three extra days with Anna and surprise her by walking into her apartment on her birthday at midnight. Alfred then asks why Philip pretends to be a married man when he is not. Philip, who is surprised that Alfred knows the truth, explains his position: When a man meets and is attracted to a woman, he courts her and, if they are old enough, she “favors” him. She wants to get married, and, if he is “not the marrying kind,” she is destined for disappointment. Women, Philip says, never believe a man who says he will never marry. Therefore, because he is uninterested in matrimony, he tells a woman early in their relationship, before she gives her “favors,” that he is already married, so that she will never expect more from him. Philip considers his action a kind of chivalry, and adds that he loves Anna in a way he has never loved before. Meanwhile, Anna decides to leave her play and fly to New York, where she can surprise Philip. When she tells Alfred, he feels compelled to reveal Philip’s plans to be with her on her birthday. Anna cries in delight, gushing that Philip is good and kind until Margaret blurts out that he is not. By looking at Alfred’s confidential documents from Scotland Yard behind his back, Margaret has learned that Philip has been lying about his marital status. Anna, humiliated to think how she begged his forgiveness for asking him to marry her, becomes angry, exclaiming, “How dare he make love to me and not be a married man!” Despite her anger, Anna decides to pretend she knows nothing and to attend a party with him. At the event, Anna and Philip dance a complicated Scottish reel, during which Philip, pleased with the way his plans are commencing, gleefully covers his lack of dancing skills with playfulness, oblivious to Anna’s growing resentment. During the event, one of Anna’s former paramours, David, sends her a single red rose as a token of friendship, which inspires her to plan revenge. To make Philip jealous, she secretly invites David to come to her apartment on her birthday at 11:30. Returning to her apartment with Philip after the party, she pretends to take a call from David. Claiming to have a headache, she then sends Philip away without a kiss. The next day, she fills her apartment with red roses, making it appear they are from David. However, her scheming is jeopardized when David is hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy and must cancel. Quickly revising her plans, Anna presses a reluctant Carl to wait in her bedroom in a dressing gown and instructs him to open the bedroom door, stand in the doorway briefly, then close the door after the first stroke of twelve. At precisely midnight, Philip arrives, says his wife has agreed to divorce him and asks Anna to marry him. As instructed, Carl opens and closes the door, but before Anna can explain, Philip leaves, believing that he saw David in her bedroom. However, he comes back, and upon recognizing Carl, accuses Anna of belittling their “fine and spiritual” love with a “cheap and shoddy trick.” Although she accuses Philip of lying to her, he maintains that he has behaved honorably and “stuck by the rules.” She argues that he proposed only because she made him jealous and he insists that he would have proposed--eventually. Sadly, she says they have lost their chance for happiness together and are not fated for marriage. When he disagrees, she suggests they continue as if the last two days never happened, but Philip is shocked that she would continue as before, unmarried. This makes her cry, but he consoles her by saying “You’ll like being married.”


+

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.