Strangers When We Meet (1960)

117 mins | Melodrama | July 1960

Director:

Richard Quine

Writer:

Evan Hunter

Producer:

Richard Quine

Cinematographer:

Charles Lang Jr.

Editor:

Charles Nelson

Production Designer:

Ross Bellah

Production Company:

Bryna-Quine Productions
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HISTORY

The opening credits are shown over a sequence in which "Larry Coe" drops off his son "David" at the school bus stop, where he first notices his new neighbor, "Maggie Gault." According to a Dec 1957 DV news item, Barbizon Productions, owned by Morris Helprin and Alfred Crown, initially bought the screen rights to Evan Hunter's novel. Although a Sep 1959 HR news item noted that Chris Robinson was being considered for a featured role in the film, Robinson does not appear in released the film. An Oct 1959 HR news item added Herb Armstrong to the cast, but Armstrong's appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       A 1 May 1960 LAT article noted that the Bel-Air house Larry is designing in the film actually belonged to Richard Quine, the film's producer-director. Production notes contained in the film's file at the AMPAS Library add that Columbia produced a half-hour documentary about the building of the house, which was to be shown at trade exhibitions of the manufacturers whose products were used in its construction. Much of the film was shot in and around Bel-Air, West Los Angeles and Malibu. The scene in which Larry meets Maggie at the amusement park was filmed at the Kiddyland amusement park in Los Angeles, where according to local lore, divorced fathers from Beverly Hills took their children. The site was torn down in the late 1970s to make room for construction of the Beverly Center shopping mall.
       Strangers When We Meet marked the feature film debut of Sue Ann Langdon and the first picture that Quine produced and ... More Less

The opening credits are shown over a sequence in which "Larry Coe" drops off his son "David" at the school bus stop, where he first notices his new neighbor, "Maggie Gault." According to a Dec 1957 DV news item, Barbizon Productions, owned by Morris Helprin and Alfred Crown, initially bought the screen rights to Evan Hunter's novel. Although a Sep 1959 HR news item noted that Chris Robinson was being considered for a featured role in the film, Robinson does not appear in released the film. An Oct 1959 HR news item added Herb Armstrong to the cast, but Armstrong's appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       A 1 May 1960 LAT article noted that the Bel-Air house Larry is designing in the film actually belonged to Richard Quine, the film's producer-director. Production notes contained in the film's file at the AMPAS Library add that Columbia produced a half-hour documentary about the building of the house, which was to be shown at trade exhibitions of the manufacturers whose products were used in its construction. Much of the film was shot in and around Bel-Air, West Los Angeles and Malibu. The scene in which Larry meets Maggie at the amusement park was filmed at the Kiddyland amusement park in Los Angeles, where according to local lore, divorced fathers from Beverly Hills took their children. The site was torn down in the late 1970s to make room for construction of the Beverly Center shopping mall.
       Strangers When We Meet marked the feature film debut of Sue Ann Langdon and the first picture that Quine produced and directed under his contract with Columbia as an independent producer. Although they never married, Quine and Kim Novak had a well-publicized engagement at the time of the film's production. A modern source adds that Glenn Ford was originally to appear as Larry, but bowed out of the production after refusing to work with Novak. After Ford quit, Kirk Douglas, the owner of Bryna Productions, the company that co-produced the film, stepped in and offered to star and co-produce. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 May 1960.
---
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1957.
---
Daily Variety
25 May 60
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 May 60
p. 7.
Filmfacts
1960
p. 151.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1958.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1959
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 1959
p. 24.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 1959
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 1959
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1960.
p. 3.
LAT This Week Magazine
1 May 1960
pp. 14-16.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 May 60
p. 716.
New York Times
30 Jun 60
p. 22.
Variety
25 May 60
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
House des
House des
Contractor
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
Mr. Douglas' clothes by
Tailored by
SOUND
Rec supv
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Strangers When We Meet by Evan Hunter (New York, 1958).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Strangers When We Meet," words by Richard Quine, music by George Duning.
DETAILS
Release Date:
July 1960
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 29 June 1960
Los Angeles opening: 20 July 1960
Production Date:
6 October--18 December 1959
Copyright Claimant:
Bryna-Quine Productions
Copyright Date:
1 July 1960
Copyright Number:
LP18335
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Color
Eastman Color by Pathé
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
Photographic lenses by Panavision
Duration(in mins):
117
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19591
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, writer Roger Altar, who has won public acclaim but critical scorn for his pulp novels, hires architect Larry Coe to design a house based on the photos of a prize-winning house that Larry designed eight years earlier. While shopping at the local market, Larry meets his new neighbor, Margaret Gault, and is rendered speechless by her beauty. When Margaret returns home, her mother, Mrs. Wagner, whom Margaret has never forgiven for committing adultery, states that she knows that Margaret is not in love with her husband Ken and predicts that she also will be unfaithful one day. The next day, Larry deliberately walks his son David to the school bus stop so that he can meet Margaret, whom he calls Maggie, and convince her to accompany him to the Bel-Air site where he is to build Roger’s house. Larry, excited by the prospect of building an innovative structure, is pleased that Maggie shares his enthusiasm and has even sought out the eight-year-old magazine article containing the photo of his last major accomplishment. When Larry sends the completed plans to Roger, Roger is fearful that he will be laughed at for building an “odd ball” house and balks until Larry accuses him of pandering to his critics and convinces him to take a chance. One night, while Larry and his wife Eve are dining with Larry’s former employer, Stanley Baxter, Stanley asks Larry to design a new wing for a factory in Hawaii. Larry, who longs for his earlier acclaim and fears that life is passing him by, is reluctant to work on such a prosaic project, but Eve, concerned with ... +


In Los Angeles, writer Roger Altar, who has won public acclaim but critical scorn for his pulp novels, hires architect Larry Coe to design a house based on the photos of a prize-winning house that Larry designed eight years earlier. While shopping at the local market, Larry meets his new neighbor, Margaret Gault, and is rendered speechless by her beauty. When Margaret returns home, her mother, Mrs. Wagner, whom Margaret has never forgiven for committing adultery, states that she knows that Margaret is not in love with her husband Ken and predicts that she also will be unfaithful one day. The next day, Larry deliberately walks his son David to the school bus stop so that he can meet Margaret, whom he calls Maggie, and convince her to accompany him to the Bel-Air site where he is to build Roger’s house. Larry, excited by the prospect of building an innovative structure, is pleased that Maggie shares his enthusiasm and has even sought out the eight-year-old magazine article containing the photo of his last major accomplishment. When Larry sends the completed plans to Roger, Roger is fearful that he will be laughed at for building an “odd ball” house and balks until Larry accuses him of pandering to his critics and convinces him to take a chance. One night, while Larry and his wife Eve are dining with Larry’s former employer, Stanley Baxter, Stanley asks Larry to design a new wing for a factory in Hawaii. Larry, who longs for his earlier acclaim and fears that life is passing him by, is reluctant to work on such a prosaic project, but Eve, concerned with financial stability, pressures him into accepting the commission. At the bus stop the next morning, Larry invites Maggie to join him at the Bel-Air job site, but she refuses. When Larry admits that he wants to see her again, however, Maggie, feeling neglected and unloved by her husband, whose ardor has dwindled over the years, agrees to meet Larry the following evening. On the night of her assignation, Maggie tells Ken that she is going out with friends, and when she mentions his lack of sexual interest, he silences her. At a Malibu hotel, Maggie confides to Larry that her father was the only other person who ever called her Maggie. After a tenuous start, the lovers finally consummate their affair. At home, Larry sees his wife, washing the dishes and wearing her hair in curlers, and longs for the sexy Maggie. Using the house project as an excuse for spending time away from home, Larry continues to see Maggie. One day, when Maggie goes to meet Larry at a restaurant, she is tailed by a man. Excusing herself from the table to call home, Maggie is accosted by the man in the lobby. Hearing the commotion, Larry comes to Maggie’s defense and slugs the man, who then runs off. Although Maggie initially claims that she does not know her assailant, she finally admits that he forced himself on her the summer before. When she recalls the incident, in which she left her door open and took sleeping pills, Larry becomes enraged and accuses her of wanting that to happen. Stung, Maggie drives off. That night, the tormented Larry calls Maggie’s house, but when Ken answers, hangs up the phone. When Maggie fails to appear at the bus stop the next morning, Larry goes to Maggie’s house, where he is met by Mrs. Wagner. After Larry leaves, Maggie’s perceptive mother comments “so now it has happened to you.” Concerned with Larry's distance and hoping to draw him back into her life, Eve decides to throw a neighborhood party and calls Maggie to invite her and Ken, but Maggie hedges about accepting the invitation. At the party, Stanley tells Larry that his company was so impressed by his work on the factory that they want him to design an entire city in Hawaii, a project that would take five years to complete and require a move to Hawaii. Demurring, Larry asks Stanley not to mention the offer to Eve until he has a chance to discuss it with her. Larry is shocked by the arrival of Maggie and Ken, and later, alone with Maggie, asks her why she came. Just as Larry writes “I love you” on a sheet of paper, Felix Anders, the Coes’s snide neighbor, enter the room and Larry crumples the paper. After the Gaults leave, Felix insinuates that he knows Larry is having an affair and warns him that Eve is also suspicious. When Larry denies the accusation, Felix hands him the crumpled love note. After Eve goes to Palm Springs for the weekend with her parents, Larry unexpectedly meets Maggie at an amusement park, where they have both taken their children. Warning that Felix knows about them, Larry declares that either she wants “more or less,” to which Maggie responds she wants their relationship to stay the same. Larry then suggests that they stop seeing each other. Soon after, Stanley phones the house, and when Eve answers, tells her about the Hawaiian job offer. When Larry comes home, Eve, upset, asks why he never mentioned the offer and the two argue. As Larry storms out of the house, Eve tells him not to come back. Larry goes to visit Roger, who, although he has received rave reviews for his new book, is still unhappy. When the womanizing Roger envies Larry because “he is married, has a family and knows where he’s going,” Larry replies that he is a phony and confides that he has been unfaithful. Larry concludes by saying that although he loves his mistress, he does not want to hurt his wife. He then calls Maggie and arranges to meet her the next day at Roger’s completed house. Meanwhile, Eve, who is about to step into the shower, is paid an unexpected visit by Felix, who begins to flirt with her menacingly. When he tugs at her bathrobe, she becomes hysterical and throws him out. As Felix leaves, Larry pulls up in his car and upon finding Eve in tears, deduces what has happened. After Larry slugs Felix, Felix smugly observes that Larry is no better than he. Finally admitting to Larry that she knows he is having an affair, Eve asks him to leave and he takes refuge in his office, located in a wing of the house. Later, Eve enters the office sobbing, and after asking what she did wrong, avows that she cannot live without him. The next day, when Larry and Maggie meet at Roger’s vacant house, Larry tells her that he is going to Hawaii to build a city. As they acknowledge their love for each other, they are interrupted by the contractor, who assumes that Maggie is Larry’s wife. Saying goodbye, Maggie drives down the driveway and out of Larry’s life. +

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

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