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Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Music | 10 December 1948 (USA)
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Set to music, a symphony conductor envisions multiple possible scenarios for dealing with his wife's infidelity.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
August Henshler
Barbara Lawrence ...
Barbara Henshler
Kurt Kreuger ...
Tony Windborn
...
Hugo Standoff
Edgar Kennedy ...
Detective Sweeney
Al Bridge ...
House Detective (as Alan Bridge)
Julius Tannen ...
O'Brien
Torben Meyer ...
Dr. Schultz
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Storyline

Sir Alfred De Carter suspects his wife of infidelity. While conducting a symphony orchestra, he imagines three different ways of dealing with the situation. When the concert ends, he tries acting out his fantasies, but things do not go as well in reality as they did in his imagination. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Will somebody "get her" tonite?

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Comedy | Music

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

10 December 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Symphony Story  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The camera zooms to a big closeup of Rex Harrison's left eye just before fading to each of Alfred de Carter's infidelity fantasies. Harrison happened to be blind in that eye, the result of childhood measles. See more »

Goofs

Just prior to the first murder-scenario fantasy, Sir Alfred's shadow is visible on the rear-screen projection screen as the camera tracks in on his eye. See more »

Quotes

August Henshler: Too much temperament. Give me the simple viewpoint!
Barbara: You've got it, boy, you don't have to yearn for it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

William Tell Overture
(1829) (uncredited)
Music by Gioachino Rossini (as Gioacchino Rossini)
In the score during the fire scenes
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User Reviews

 
A great symphony of a comedy
23 July 2005 | by (Jacksonville Beach, FL) – See all my reviews

Though he directed a few more movies over the years, Unfaithfully Yours was the last great hurrah from one of Hollywood's greatest comedy writer-directors, Preston Sturges. But Lawdy, what a way to go out.

The movie stars Rex Harrison in what might be seen as a kinder, gentler cousin of his egomaniacal diction professor in My Fair Lady (1964). Here, Harrison is Sir Alfred de Carter, a world-renowned symphony conductor who is still astoundingly infatuated with the woman he refers to as his "bride," Daphne (charming Linda Darnell). The movie never declares how long or short of a time the Carters have been married, but judging from their passion level, one would guess they're still in the honeymooning stage.

(The far more down-to-earth married couple, Alfred's in-laws August and Barbara, are portrayed wonderfully by Rudy Vallee and Barbara Lawrence. Barbara gets all the great barbs off against her husband, who is only to happy to show his ignorance of them.)

One day, August accosts Alfred with the unfortunate news that he paid a detective to tail Daphne while Alfred was out of town. Alfred is so convinced of his wife's fidelity that his reaction starts at outrage and goes haywire from there. Little by little, though, Alfred is given reason to think that Daphne might have needed some spying-on after all. At his concert that evening, Alfred conducts three pieces by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner, and with each piece, Alfred imagines the stylish revenge he will extract upon Daphne for her presumed cheating.

From this sober-sounding scenario, Sturges--as he always did--goes all over the place, from sparkling dialogue to skittering slapstick to rich drenches of sentiment. And the melange has never worked better than it does here. Just for kicks, take three of the movie's set-pieces: Alfred's achingly funny dressing-down of August for siccing a detective on Daphne, the first fantasy where Alfred hatches an elaborate murder scheme, and Alfred's drunken attempt to carry out the scheme. Three scenes of complete different tones, and they all plausibly fit into the same movie. Now try to imagine any modern-day comedy-maker whose work would display the wit of any of those scenes.

The Criterion Collection DVD of the movie does it full justice. It includes a seemingly irrelevant but nonetheless enjoyable critique of Sturges' work from Monty Python alumnus Terry Jones. And an interview with Sturges' widow Sandy, as well as copies of voluminous memoes to Sturges from uncredited producer Darryl Zanuck, demonstrate why the movie was initially a colossal box-office failure. Zanuck hounded Sturges to the point that the gifted creator of (to name but two) The Palm Beach Story and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek began doubting himself as a writer, resulting in the final humiliation of Zanuck cutting the film on his own. Then a timely scandal involving Rex Harrison forever killed the box-office chances of a black comedy starring Harrison as an ostensible woman-murderer.

Happily, Unfaithfully Yours, like Chaplin's similarly dark Monsieur Verdoux, survived its prudish times and has become renowned as a great movie. Alfred's take on Delius might be delirious (as professed by one of his fans, played by the great Sturges alumnus Edgar Kennedy)...but Sturges himself remains stupendous.


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