The story opens in Copenhagen in the year 1776 on the wedding night of the King and Princess Caroline Mathilde. But the marriage was a political alliance, and the Princess felt only repugnance for her dissolute husband. On the night of their marriage the King leaves Copenhagen on a pleasure trip abroad, but his fast life proves too much for his weak constitution. Summoned to attend him, an ... See full summary »
A win on the football pools in postwar Britain changes lives. A happy family is turned into an unhappy argumentative lot until it is discovered the coupon apparently didn't get posted. A ... See full summary »
A woman travels to England to attend her parents' funeral. She is told by officials that they died of natural causes together, but she doesn't buy it. She comes to suspect that the nurse ... See full summary »
The port city of Bristol, England, in the 1800s is home to Java Head, a sailing ship line company. The owner has two sons. One, a handsome seafarer, is in love with a local girl, but cannot... See full summary »
The film spotlights famed composer Franz Schubert, who loves a woman from afar. He stands by in quiet desperation as his beloved is married to a dashing military officer, then pours his ... See full summary »
"Autumn Crocus" was the first play of UK writer Dodie Smith, using pseudonym A.L. Anthony. The West End hit starred Francis Lederer in the Novello role, with Martita Hunt and Fay Compton who repeated the school teacher role in the 1934 film. Intriguingly, this 1931 plot was borrowed (or inspired?)American playwright Arthur Laurents whose 1952 play, "Time of the Cuckoo" with Shirley Booth also had a spinster school teacher seeking romance on her first trip abroad, and finding it with a handsome local. (The UK teacher longs for the Alps, while the US teacher goes for Venice.) I utterly adore Ivor Novello, but sadly must report that, in the light of modern sensibilities, here he does NOT play a romantic or sympathetic figure. Rather, he is comes off as a smarmy serial seducer of fragile tourists. To avoid a spoiler, I won't add to my list of his casual cruelties. Technically a beautiful film and an exquisite performance by Fay Compton, but today's audiences would cheer and clap rather than grow misty eyed at the conclusion.
"Time of the Cuckoo" was then filmed as "Summertime" in 1955 with Katharine Hepburn as the teacher, the seducer (Rossano Brazzi)being somewhat less caddish, thus allowing more poignancy. Then Richard Rodgers, with Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, turned the plot into the less-than-successful musical. "Do I Hear a Waltz?" Since most older woman today are single by choice and have traveled extensively, we are unlikely to see any further reincarnations of this plot.
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