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The Story of Three Loves (1953)

 -  Drama | Fantasy | Music  -  26 March 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 587 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 4 critic

An anthology film consisting of three very different stories about love set in Europe and told in flashback.


(segment), (adaptation), 6 more credits »
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Title: The Story of Three Loves (1953)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
Nina Burkhardt (segment "Equilibrium")
Mrs. Hazel Pennicott (segment "Mademoiselle")
Mademoiselle (segment "Mademoiselle")
Pierre Narval (segment "Equilibrium")
Thomas Clayton Campbell Jr. (segment "Mademoiselle")
Charles Coutray (segment "The Jealous Lover")
Paula Woodward (segment "The Jealous Lover")
Aunt Lydia (segment "The Jealous Lover")
Tommy: aged 11 (segment "Mademoiselle")
Flirt at Bar (segment "Mademoiselle")
Marcel (segment "Equilibrium")
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Saleswoman (segment "Mademoiselle") (scenes deleted)
John Pickard ...
Ship's Officer (segment "Equilibrium") (scenes deleted)
Ship's Officer (segment "Equilibrium") (scenes deleted)


Three loosely connected love stories. The first story: Paula is a talented dancer who cannot truly live unless she dances. But has a heart condition, which means she cannot live if she does. The second story: Tommy despises his French tutor, and hates being a child. He wants to be an adult so he can do what he wants. He gets his wish, being transformed into a handsome young man for one evening, and learns about whole new side of his French tutor. Third story: Pierre Narval is trapeze artist who gave it up when his partner died doing a dangerous stunt at his bidding. He rescues Nina, a beautiful young woman, after she throws herself into the Seine, and convinces her to become his new aerial partner. Her husband had been killed by the Nazis during the war, and she blames herself. They fall in love, which is tested when Nina must perform the stunt which killed Pierre's former partner. Written by John Oswalt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dangerous Love. Jealous Love. Forbidden Love.


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 March 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Story of Three Loves  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


MGM gave composer Miklos Rozsa only a week's notice to come up with a ballet for Moira Shearer. The composer said the assignment was beyond his range under the circumstances and was asked to provide an alternate piece. He selected Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini." See more »


Mrs. Hazel Pennicott: [Mrs. Pennicott drops her purse] How awkward of me!
[Madamoiselle reaches down and gets it for her]
Mrs. Hazel Pennicott: Thank you. Thank you, my dear. You're kind... and very pretty too! Are you crying or smiling?
[No answer]
Mrs. Hazel Pennicott: Maybe both. Did you bring someone to the station, or are you waiting for someone?
[No answer]
Mrs. Hazel Pennicott: Maybe both? Somebody gone... somebody expected. But if you're waiting, don't wait too long because when one is as young as you are, one doesn't have to wait for anyone. They'll find you wherever you are....
See more »


Sobre las Olas
("Over the Waves") (uncredited)
Originally composed by Juventino P. Rosas (1888)
Adapted as "The Loveliest Night of the Year" in 1950 by Irving Aaronson
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Instrumental version heard under trapeze sequences
See more »

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User Reviews

Mixed bag of good, poor and mediocre love story trio.

This is truly a mixed bag with three love stories (approximately 40 minutes each)in varying degrees of success. The first is essentially a two character drama of an aspiring ballerina who must not dance due to a fatal heart condition. She (Moira Shearer) haunts the ballet and meets the famous choreographer (James Mason) who after seeing her perform on what she thought was an empty stage, is enchanted and takes her home to dance for him. She dances her heart out (to Rachmaninov's 18th variation of the Paganini Rhapsody) He falls in love, now inspired to write his greatest ballet, she disappears somewhat like Cinderella at midnight, only to arrive home and expire. This is well done due to the brilliance of the leads. The second story presents child actor Ricky Nelson who is fed up with his governess (Leslie Caron) and wishes to be a man to escape her. An eccentric witch (well played by Ethel Barrymore) provides the means and for four magical hours he becomes Farley Granger, who of course meets the governess and, as an adult, falls in love, only to part before the stroke of midnight (again like Cinderella) and return to his childhood. (Interesting to note that Caron twice bids Granger to "be gay" - in light of his recent coming out as a gay man, this is a bit of unexpected tongue in cheek humor). The episode is inventive but fails ultimately due to Caron's overacting and Nelson's peevishness. It needed better casting and direction. The third piece involves a near suicide (Pier Angeli) who is rescued from the Seine by haunted former arealist Kirk Douglas, whose carelessness caused the death of his former partner. He prods her into joining him as she cares not to cling to life. She has a dark secret also involving a similar "accident" which caused her husband's death. This is an interminably dull and boring piece and is quite below the quality or intended quality of the former two. All in all, romantic and watchable with gorgeous and lush Oscar-nominated Art Direction.

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