Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)

116 mins | Comedy-drama | 27 November 1942

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was International Honeyoon . Although George Sanders is listed in the cast in early HR production charts, his name drops out after 26 Jun 1942 and he does not appear in the final film. HR news items note that RKO borrowed George Barnes from David Selzick's company to photograph the film and Emmett Dolan from Paramount to write the screenplay. Another news item in HR adds that writer Sheridan Gibney was called in to revise Ginger Rogers' character shortly after production began. An article in NYT commented upon the "film's tasteless humor," warning that it was dangerous to mix romantic comedy with stark tragedy.
       This picture was Leo McCarey's first production at RKO. The picture also marked Walter Slezak's American screen debut. According to a news item in HR , Slezak won a three-year contract with the studio as a result of his performance in this film. Other news items in HR note that in Sep 1942, McCarey shot additional scenes for insurance before Cary Grant and Rogers began new assignments. According to modern sources, Grant and Rogers couldn't agree on who should receive top billing, and consequently, Rogers' name appeared first in half of the prints and Grant received top billing in the other half. In the viewed print, Grant received top billing, but in CBCS and in the Radio City Music Hall program, Rogers received top billing. This picture received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Recording. Modern sources credit Mel Berns with makeup and John Miehle with still photography. ... More Less

The working title of this film was International Honeyoon . Although George Sanders is listed in the cast in early HR production charts, his name drops out after 26 Jun 1942 and he does not appear in the final film. HR news items note that RKO borrowed George Barnes from David Selzick's company to photograph the film and Emmett Dolan from Paramount to write the screenplay. Another news item in HR adds that writer Sheridan Gibney was called in to revise Ginger Rogers' character shortly after production began. An article in NYT commented upon the "film's tasteless humor," warning that it was dangerous to mix romantic comedy with stark tragedy.
       This picture was Leo McCarey's first production at RKO. The picture also marked Walter Slezak's American screen debut. According to a news item in HR , Slezak won a three-year contract with the studio as a result of his performance in this film. Other news items in HR note that in Sep 1942, McCarey shot additional scenes for insurance before Cary Grant and Rogers began new assignments. According to modern sources, Grant and Rogers couldn't agree on who should receive top billing, and consequently, Rogers' name appeared first in half of the prints and Grant received top billing in the other half. In the viewed print, Grant received top billing, but in CBCS and in the Radio City Music Hall program, Rogers received top billing. This picture received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Recording. Modern sources credit Mel Berns with makeup and John Miehle with still photography. Claudette Colbert starred with Brian Aherne in a 12 Apr 1943 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of the story. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Nov 1942.
---
Film Daily
4 Nov 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1942.
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 42
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
7 Nov 1942.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Nov 42
p. 1006.
New York Times
13 Nov 42
p. 28.
New York Times
15 Nov 1942.
---
Variety
4 Nov 42
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Fred Giermann
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
International Honeymoon
Release Date:
27 November 1942
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 12 November 1942
Production Date:
8 June--21 August 1942
addl scenes 2 September--29 September 1942
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
4 November 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11735
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
116
Length(in feet):
10,506
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8518
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In Vienna, 1938, Katie O'Hara, a gold-digging ex-burlesque queen from Brooklyn posing as Phildelphia socialite Katherine Butt-Smith, is about to attain her dream of wealth and status by marrying Baron Von Luber of Austria. On the eve of her wedding, Katie is visited by foreign correspondent Pat O'Toole, who is writing an article that will expose the baron as a Nazi undercover agent. Recognizing Katie as a Brooklyn stripper, Pat becomes infatuated with her, and when the baron arrives to inform her that they are leaving immediately for Czechoslovakia, Pat follows her to Prague, where Katie and the baron are married. After the fall of Czechoslovakia, the baron and his bride board a train for Poland. When the baron is questioned by the police about an illegal cache of money found in his wife's purse, Pat enters Katie's compartment to warn her about her husband. Katie, content with her diamond ring and expensive jewels, refuses to listen, however, and sends Pat back to his compartment--alone except for his saxophone. In Warsaw, Pat meets Katie at her hotel and invites her to a café, where he continues to lobby her to leave the baron. While Katie and Pat flirt with each other over drinks, the baron offers to sell Polish General Borelski guns so that his countrymen can defend themselves against the Germans. When the guns fail to work, Pat contacts the general, who has come to realize that the guns, which are useless, are part of the baron's plot to destroy Poland. Soon after, the general, who is the only person who can testify against the baron, is assassinated, and the baron ... +


In Vienna, 1938, Katie O'Hara, a gold-digging ex-burlesque queen from Brooklyn posing as Phildelphia socialite Katherine Butt-Smith, is about to attain her dream of wealth and status by marrying Baron Von Luber of Austria. On the eve of her wedding, Katie is visited by foreign correspondent Pat O'Toole, who is writing an article that will expose the baron as a Nazi undercover agent. Recognizing Katie as a Brooklyn stripper, Pat becomes infatuated with her, and when the baron arrives to inform her that they are leaving immediately for Czechoslovakia, Pat follows her to Prague, where Katie and the baron are married. After the fall of Czechoslovakia, the baron and his bride board a train for Poland. When the baron is questioned by the police about an illegal cache of money found in his wife's purse, Pat enters Katie's compartment to warn her about her husband. Katie, content with her diamond ring and expensive jewels, refuses to listen, however, and sends Pat back to his compartment--alone except for his saxophone. In Warsaw, Pat meets Katie at her hotel and invites her to a café, where he continues to lobby her to leave the baron. While Katie and Pat flirt with each other over drinks, the baron offers to sell Polish General Borelski guns so that his countrymen can defend themselves against the Germans. When the guns fail to work, Pat contacts the general, who has come to realize that the guns, which are useless, are part of the baron's plot to destroy Poland. Soon after, the general, who is the only person who can testify against the baron, is assassinated, and the baron is jailed for questioning. After the fall of Warsaw, Pat visits Katie in her hotel suite, where she begins to discern the trail of destruction that her husband has wrought across Europe. When the children of Anna, her Jewish maid, run terrified into her suite, seeking refuge from the Germans, Katie decides to take a stand and helps them escape the country by giving Anna her passport. After learning that the baron has been freed, Katie decides to leave her husband, and Pat arranges to have her name put on a casualities list to prevent the baron from searching for her. When the Gestapo demands Katie's and Pat's passports, Katie presents them with Anna's passport, and as a result, they are imprisoned as Jews. Rescued by the American consul, they follow the baron across Norway, Holland and Belgium to Paris. In Paris, they visit Le Blanc's photo studio to have new passport photos taken. After Pat leaves Katie at the studio to go shopping, Le Blanc, an American counter-agent, recognizes her as the baron's wife and implores her to return to her husband to discover his plans for France. That evening, Pat professes his love to Katie and proposes. When Katie tries to tell him of her mission, Pat begs her not to break the magical spell of the night. The next morning, Katie leaves Pat before he awakens. While drowning his loneliness in a Paris café, Pat discovers that the baron is seated at the table next to his, dressed in a Nazi uniform. The baron informs Pat that his wife has returned. He confides his suspicions about her constant questions, and threatens to turn her into the secret police unless Pat agrees to broadcast German propaganda into the United States. After the baron departs, Le Blanc, who is seated at the next table, suggests that Pat accept the baron's offer and then double-cross him. Later, Katie visits Le Blanc's studio with a roll of film that she has shot of her husband. In one of the baron's crossword puzzles as captured on film, Le Blanc discerns a Nazi secret code. After he sends the code to U.S. intelligence, the Nazis break into the studio, shoot Le Blanc and arrest Katie. Katie is imprisoned in her hotel suite, where Anna, now a maid at the hotel, helps her escape by giving her a maid's uniform. Meanwhile, at the radio studio, Pat has taken Le Blanc's advice and alters his speech to portray the baron as dangerously power-hungry. After the embarrased baron is arrested by the suspicious Gestapo, Katie joins Pat at the studio, and the pair board a ship bound for America. As Pat leaves to speak to the ship's purser, Katie is approached by the baron, who informs her that he has been pardoned by Hitler. Fearful that he plans to continue his destructive ways in America, Katie threatens him, and they begin to struggle along the railing of the deck. Rejoining Pat on the deck below, a shaken Katie recounts how she pushed the baron overboard in self-defense. When Pat informs the captain that a man is overboard, the captain turns the ship around, but when Katie informs him that the baron can't swim, the captain abandons his search. +

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.