Four of Somerset Maugham's short stories are brought to the screen with each introduced by the author himself. In the first story, The Facts of Life, a young man with great potential on the... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
W. Somerset Maugham ...
Himself - Host
Basil Radford ...
Naunton Wayne ...
Leslie (segment "The Facts of Life")
Ian Fleming ...
Ralph (segment "The Facts of Life")
Jack Raine ...
Thomas (segment "The Facts of Life")
...
Mrs. Garnet (segment "The Facts of Life")
...
Branksome (segment "The Facts of Life")
Jack Watling ...
Nicky (segment "The Facts of Life")
Nigel Buchanan ...
John (segment "The Facts of Life") (as Nigal Buchanan)
...
Jeanne (segment "The Facts of Life")
Jean Cavall ...
Cabaret Artist (segment "The Facts of Life")
...
George Bland (segment "The Alien Corn")
Raymond Lovell ...
Sir Frederick Bland (segment "The Alien Corn")
Irene Browne ...
Lady Bland (segment "The Alien Corn")
...
Paula (segment "The Alien Corn")
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Storyline

Four of Somerset Maugham's short stories are brought to the screen with each introduced by the author himself. In the first story, The Facts of Life, a young man with great potential on the tennis courts goes to Monte Carlo and soon finds himself doing the exact opposite of what his father recommended. In 'The Alien Corn', an aspiring pianist devotes himself to perfecting his artistic skills but finds he likely hasn't the talents to reach the heights he so desperately craves. In 'The Kite', a young man who lives at home and loves kite flying goes against his overbearing mother's wishes and marries the girl he's been dating. He's soon back home, much to his mother's delight, but re-considers when his wife takes up a new hobby. In the final chapter 'The Colonel's Lady', a middle-aged man is shocked to learn that his somewhat dowdy wife has written a collection of racy poems and is now a best-selling author. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

22 November 1948 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Arte de Viver  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an unusual coincidence, Quartet has two actors who would both have eternal associations with the James Bond series. Bernard Lee, who would later play M, and Honor Blackman, who would play one of the most famous Bond girls in Goldfinger (1964), Pussy Galore. Despite the name Ian Fleming on the credits, he is not the same man who wrote the Bond novels. See more »

Quotes

Himself, Host: In my twenties, the critics said I was brutal. In my thirties, they said I was flippant; in my forties, they said I was cynical; in my fifties they said I was competent - and then, in my sixties, they said I was superficial.
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Connections

Followed by Trio (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Impromptu
by Franz Schubert
Played by Eileen Joyce
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User Reviews

 
Tepid Material from Maugham's Short Stories
7 June 2007 | by (Virginia, U.S.) – See all my reviews

The star rating above represents an average for the four separate stories, independently filmed and contained within this feature-length film. The first story, "The Facts of Life," gets a 5. The second, "The Alien Corn," also gets a 5. The third, "The Kite," gets only a 3. But the fourth, "The Colonel's Wife" gets a 6. The biggest problem is the material. Maugham's short stories simply haven't aged well, even given the fact that the short story, as a literary genre, is a distinctly tough category in which to produce truly compelling product. And too often, Maugham's story telling is full of gratuitous choice -- if the characters choose one way, the story obviously will end a particular way, if they choose the other course of action, the ending will match that choice. There isn't a lot of surprise here, and not very much in the way of caring about the characters either. It's not the stuff great literature is founded upon, and the movie displays those faults tellingly. Still, good acting, crisp story lines, balanced, even nuanced pacing make this outing quite tolerable, and even engaging in some places.


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