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William A. Seiter
Fourteen-year-old Tessa is hopelessly in love with handsome composer Lewis Dodd, a family friend. Lewis adores Tessa, but has never shown any romantic feelings toward her. When Tessa's father dies, Lewis contacts her late mother's wealthy family so they'll take care of Tessa and her sisters. Lewis becomes taken with Tessa's haughty cousin Florence and the two soon marry and head off for Florence's estate in England. Meanwhile, Florence sends Tessa and her sister Paula off to finishing school. The girls run away from school and Tessa moves in with Florence and Louis. Florence soon becomes consumed with jealousy over the bond between her husband and Tessa. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Joan Fontaine got the lead role of Tessa by a lucky chance. One day, she was having lunch at Romanoff's in Hollywood, with her husband, actor Brian Aherne. The two had just flown in by airplane from their grape ranch in Indio, California, and Fontaine was in a leather flight suit with her hair done in pigtails. Director Edmund Goulding walked into the restaurant, and stopped by their table to say hello to his good friend Aherne. Goulding complained that he was having trouble casting a lead actress for his next movie, "The Constant Nymph." Although he had considered Joan Leslie, she was wrong for the part. And, Goulding explained, "Jack Warner wants a star in the lead, but she has to be consumptive, flat-chested, anemic, and fourteen!" "How about me?" said Fontaine. "Who are you?" asked Goulding, not recognizing the freckled girl in pigtails sitting next to him. "Joan Fontaine," said the actress. Goulding looked startled. "You're perfect!" Fontaine was signed for the part the next day, and later called it "the happiest motion-picture assignment of my career." See more »
Saw this film in theatrical release back in the 1940's and remember so well the music by Korngold. Outstanding acting by Charles Boyer, Joan Fontaine and the first film appearance of Alexis Smith. Most notable was the final 7/8 minutes of the film which presented a full scale cantata for solo soprano and orch written by Korngold. It was a "first" Something like this had never been done before in a Hollywood film. I have searched for years to obtain a video but without success.
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