Indiscretion of an American Wife (1954)

63-64 mins | Romance | May 1954

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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Terminal Station , and it was released in Europe as Stazione termini , the Italian title of Cesare Zavattini's screen story. The film marked Italian director Vittorio De Sica's first English language picture, and, according to a Var pre-production news item, was originally slated as a French-Italian co-production to be directed by Claude Autant-Lara, with Marlon Brando starring. Actress Jennifer Jones was married to executive producer David O. Selznick. Although contemporary news items listed Italian actors Virgilio Riento and Giovanni Grazzo in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been determined.
       A Jun 1954 Var news item indicated that Columbia Pictures had paid Selznick $500,000 for the Western Hemisphere rights to the film. The film was shot in its entirety at the recently completed Stazione Termini in Rome, Italy. According to a Jul 1953 news item in HCN , filming took place at the station between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., when the station was closed. Contemporay sources also note that initial showings of the picture were accompanied by a short film, an eight-minute "prologue," featuring Patti Page singing "Autumn in Rome" and "Indiscretion." The two songs, written by Sammy Cahn and Paul Weston, were based on Alessandro Cicognini's love theme from the film.
       According to a Sep 1952 memo contained in the file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, an early version of the script was rejected for approval by the PCA on the grounds that it was "an improper treatment of adultery." The memo noted that Selznick, during a meeting ... More Less

The working title of the film was Terminal Station , and it was released in Europe as Stazione termini , the Italian title of Cesare Zavattini's screen story. The film marked Italian director Vittorio De Sica's first English language picture, and, according to a Var pre-production news item, was originally slated as a French-Italian co-production to be directed by Claude Autant-Lara, with Marlon Brando starring. Actress Jennifer Jones was married to executive producer David O. Selznick. Although contemporary news items listed Italian actors Virgilio Riento and Giovanni Grazzo in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been determined.
       A Jun 1954 Var news item indicated that Columbia Pictures had paid Selznick $500,000 for the Western Hemisphere rights to the film. The film was shot in its entirety at the recently completed Stazione Termini in Rome, Italy. According to a Jul 1953 news item in HCN , filming took place at the station between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., when the station was closed. Contemporay sources also note that initial showings of the picture were accompanied by a short film, an eight-minute "prologue," featuring Patti Page singing "Autumn in Rome" and "Indiscretion." The two songs, written by Sammy Cahn and Paul Weston, were based on Alessandro Cicognini's love theme from the film.
       According to a Sep 1952 memo contained in the file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, an early version of the script was rejected for approval by the PCA on the grounds that it was "an improper treatment of adultery." The memo noted that Selznick, during a meeting with PCA officials, indicated he would change the story to one in which the Philadephia housewife "never committed adultery and at the end she would rejoin her husband and renounce the lover." A revised script later met with the approval of the PCA and, in a Nov 1952 letter to an PCA official, Selznick called the film "...probably the most moral picture ever to come out of Europe."
       Modern sources add the following cast members: Paolo Stoppa ( Baggage clerk ), Mando Bruno ( Employee ), Clelia Mantania, Enrico Viarisio, Giuseppe Farelli, Enrico Olorio and Maria Pia Casillo-Ciro. Child actor Dick Beymer, who was later billed under the name Richard Beymer, made his motion picture debut in the film. According to modern sources, Columbia cut seventeen minutes from the picture's original eighty-minute running time. In 1983, the picture was restored to its original length and shown for the first time in the U.S. at that length. Modern sources also note that in addition to Truman Capote, Selznick employed writers Carson McCullers, Paul Gallico and Alberto Moravia to bolster the script. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Apr 1954.
---
Daily Variety
21 Apr 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
30 Apr 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
31 Jul 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 54
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Apr 54
p. 2270.
New York Times
26 Jun 54
p. 7.
Variety
10 Sep 1952.
---
Variety
30 Sep 1952.
---
Variety
20 Oct 1953.
---
Variety
21 Oct 1953.
---
Variety
22 Oct 1953.
---
Variety
21 Apr 54
p. 6.
Variety
9 Jun 1954.
---
Variety
4 Aug 83
p. 2.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Vittorio De Sica Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photographed in its actual settings by
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
COSTUMES
Miss Jones' cost des
SOUND
Post-production audio
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech assoc
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Statzione termini
Terminal Station
Release Date:
May 1954
Production Date:
10 October--24 December 1952 in Rome, Italy
Copyright Claimant:
Selznick Releasing Organization, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 March 1954
Copyright Number:
LP3528
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
63-64
Length(in feet):
5,695
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16463
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Mary Forbes, a married Philadelphia housewife and mother, falls in love with an Italian-American professor named Giovanni Doria while visiting her sister in Rome, Italy. Mary has a one-month romantic adventure with Giovanni, but is unable to continue the infidelity, and decides to leave Rome. She boards the first train to Paris, but before the train leaves the station, Mary catches sight of Giovanni, who has learned of her hasty departure from her sister. Giovanni asks Mary why she left without a word, but their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Mary's young nephew, Paul. Paul leaves, and as the train pulls out of the station, Mary is transfixed by Giovanni's gaze and decides to postpone her departure so that she can explain her feelings. In a quiet corner of the station restaurant, Giovanni reminds Mary that she had told him only the day before that she loved him. Mary, however, cannot put the thought of her husband and young daughter Catherine out of her mind. When Giovanni tells Mary that he had dreams of a happy life with both she and Catherine in Pisa, he rekindles her passion. Giovanni persuades Mary to go with him to his apartment, but as they are leaving the terminal, she sees Paul. Flustered, Mary offers to buy a hot chocolate for the boy and sends him to the restaurant to wait for her. Mary then tells Giovanni that she feels that their relationship is doomed, and that they should part, but Giovanni, angered by her sudden change of heart, slaps her across the face and leaves. Paul waits with Mary for the next train, and they ... +


Mary Forbes, a married Philadelphia housewife and mother, falls in love with an Italian-American professor named Giovanni Doria while visiting her sister in Rome, Italy. Mary has a one-month romantic adventure with Giovanni, but is unable to continue the infidelity, and decides to leave Rome. She boards the first train to Paris, but before the train leaves the station, Mary catches sight of Giovanni, who has learned of her hasty departure from her sister. Giovanni asks Mary why she left without a word, but their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Mary's young nephew, Paul. Paul leaves, and as the train pulls out of the station, Mary is transfixed by Giovanni's gaze and decides to postpone her departure so that she can explain her feelings. In a quiet corner of the station restaurant, Giovanni reminds Mary that she had told him only the day before that she loved him. Mary, however, cannot put the thought of her husband and young daughter Catherine out of her mind. When Giovanni tells Mary that he had dreams of a happy life with both she and Catherine in Pisa, he rekindles her passion. Giovanni persuades Mary to go with him to his apartment, but as they are leaving the terminal, she sees Paul. Flustered, Mary offers to buy a hot chocolate for the boy and sends him to the restaurant to wait for her. Mary then tells Giovanni that she feels that their relationship is doomed, and that they should part, but Giovanni, angered by her sudden change of heart, slaps her across the face and leaves. Paul waits with Mary for the next train, and they find a seat next to an Italian woman who has gone into labor. Mary helps the woman find a doctor and briefly watches her three children for her. Giovanni, meanwhile, becomes remorseful and returns to the station to find Mary. Giovanni eventually finds Mary, but is nearly struck by a passing train while running to meet her. They embrace and make their way to a darkened train compartment, where they engage in a passionate kiss. Giovanni begs Mary's forgiveness, but, moments later, the two are arrested for public lovemaking and taken before the police commissioner. The commissioner tells Mary and Giovanni that the charge requires a trial, but then decides to release Mary because she has a husband and child. Giovanni escorts Mary to the train, and the two bid each other a sad farewell. +

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.