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Autumn Leaves (1956)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  1 August 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,379 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 11 critic

Millicent Wetherby is a middle-aged woman whose life is devoid of love and affection. Millicent's solitary existence changes when she encounters Burt Hansen a charismatic younger man. As ... See full summary »


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Title: Autumn Leaves (1956)

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Cast overview:
Millicent Wetherby
Burt Hanson
Virginia Hanson
Mr. Hanson
Ruth Donnelly ...
Liz Eckhart
Shepperd Strudwick ...
Dr. Malcolm Couzzens
Mr. Wetherby
Maxine Cooper ...
Nurse Evans
Marjorie Bennett ...
Frank Gerstle ...
Mr. Ramsey
Leonard Mudie ...
Colonel Hillyer
Maurice Manson ...
Dr. Masterson
Bob Hopkins ...
Desk Clerk


Millicent Wetherby is a middle-aged woman whose life is devoid of love and affection. Millicent's solitary existence changes when she encounters Burt Hansen a charismatic younger man. As Burt successfully woos her and wins her hand in marriage, rumors begin to surface that Millicent's newfound beau is in fact a deranged maniac. Things grow even more complicated for Millicent when a woman claiming to be Hansen's first wife shows up. As Burt begins to lose control of himself, Millicent ponders the most radical of actions against her husband. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In the dark, when I feel his heart pounding against mine - is it love? or frenzy? or terror?




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 August 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Way We Are  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Joan Crawford was very pleased with the way the film turned out, saying "Everything clicked on Autumn Leaves (1956). The cast was perfect, the script was good, and I think Bob handled everything well. I really think Cliff did a stupendous job; another actor might have been spitting out his lines and chewing the scenery but he avoided that trap. I think the movie on a whole was a lot better than some of the romantic movies I did in the past... but somehow it just never became better known. It was eclipsed by the picture I did with Bette Davis". ("Bob" refers to director Robert Aldrich, "Cliff" is her leading man Cliff Robertson and the picture she did with Bette Davis was What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)) See more »


Burt: Aw, Milly. You wouldn't want me to spend the rest of my life with a bubble-gum addict. Would you, Milly?
Milly: Sorry, I goofed!
Burt: You "goofed?" Hey, man, that's "Bop" talk! Where did you ever pick that up?
Milly: Well, why shouldn't I pick up an expression here and there? I'm not THAT old!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over a background of...... leaves. See more »


Referenced in Outrageous! (1977) See more »


Autumn Leaves
Music by Joseph Kosma
Original lyrics by Jacques Prévert ("Les Feuilles Mortes")
English lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Sung by Nat 'King' Cole
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fine Crawford drama
11 May 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This 1956 drama was directed by the re known Robert Aldrich. He brings the old and the new to this film. The old, being the professionalism and experience of Joan Crawford and matching her with the new, up and coming young talented Cliff Robertson. This was his first starring role. Coming from Broadway he brought a very strong presence to the part. He and Joan were splendid together. In one of her rare underplayed roles, where she isn't playing the queen bee, she gives a sensitive and honest portrayal of a lonely woman who accidentally meets a young man and falls in love. Crawford and those wonderful expressive eyes are beautifully photographed with shadows in glorious black and white. Playing opposite her and definitely holding his own, Robertson goes from nice guy to a sort of psychotic mess. His slow changing from one to the other was masterful. He showed his abilities and what was yet to come his way, including his Academy Award performance in CHARLY. Together Joan and Cliff light up the screen in an almost melodramatic way, yet quite realistic. Reminded me of another Crawford film and another new young actor, Jack Palance in SUDDEN FEAR. Rounding out the cast is Lorne Greene as Cliff's no good father, Vera Miles as the wife asking for a divorce and veteran actor Shepperd Strudwick playing the doctor who heals our hero. Look for two well played supporting roles in this. Bringing comedy relief to the drama is veteran actress Ruth Donnely, as the manager of the apartment building Joan lives in. She just walks into the apartments, picks up newspapers and magazines and makes herself at home bringing all the gossip with her. She's a hoot. There's also a cameo performance by Marjorie Bennett as the waitress of a diner. Just her facial expressions as she waits on our lovers is worth the entire scene. She walks off with it. Remember her as the mother of Victor Buono in BABY JANE? Hats off to a seldom seen movie and one of Crawford's best.

31 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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