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The Constant Nymph (1943)

Not Rated | | Drama, Music, Romance | 10 July 1943 (Mexico)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writers:

Kathryn Scola (screenplay), Margaret Kennedy (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Boyer ... Lewis Dodd
Joan Fontaine ... Tessa Sanger
Alexis Smith ... Florence Creighton
Brenda Marshall ... Toni Sanger
Charles Coburn ... Charles Creighton
May Whitty ... Lady Constance Longborough (as Dame May Whitty)
Peter Lorre ... Fritz Bercovy
Joyce Reynolds ... Paula Sanger
Jean Muir ... Kate Sanger
Montagu Love ... Albert Sanger
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Roberto (as Edward Ciannelli)
Janine Crispin ... Marie
Doris Lloyd ... Miss Hamilton
Joan Blair Joan Blair ... Lina Kamaroff
André Charlot André Charlot ... Dr. Renee (as Andre Charlot)
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Storyline

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 <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He tried to divide his heart and broke theirs.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 July 1943 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

La ninfa constante See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For a long time, this film wasn't available because the rights to Margaret Kennedy and Basil Dean's play, Margaret Kennedy's novel and the original film rights owned by Gaumont British all became separated at different times in the late 1950s and eventually expired. The script and screen version used in 1943 was a combination of novel and play. Separate contracts were negotiated at that time with both authors. The Kennedy Estate had no objection to the film being shown, but it would have required expensive legal intervention to resolve the contractual situation. Somehow this must have been straightened out as the film is now available. The Library of Congress Film Archive restored it and it premiered at the Turner Classic Movie Festival in spring 2011 and aired later on the TCM cable movie channel. See more »

Connections

Version of The Constant Nymph (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

Tomorrow
(uncredited)
Words by Margaret Kennedy
by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Sung by Joan Fontaine (dubbed by Sally Sweetland) with chamber group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stunning Korngold score but disappointing in every other respect...
28 November 2005 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Having heard for years that THE CONSTANT NYMPH was one of Joan Fontaine's favorite performances and knowing that Erich Wolfgang Korngold wrote the score for it, I looked forward to the film with much anticipation when I finally had a chance to see it.

Unfortunately, aside from good performances from Charles Boyer and Alexis Smith, I found Miss Fontaine's Tessa just too cloying and simpering to be realistic. I thought she played the awkwardness of youth much better in LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, a really much more solid and forceful role. Tessa just seems to be a girl inordinately fond of a musician who doesn't realize, until too late, what the girl means to him.

Oddly enough, the scenes between Boyer and Alexis Smith are more developed than any of the quieter scenes between Boyer and Fontaine. Smith makes the wife a sympathetic creature because her jealousy is easy to comprehend.

An altogether disappointing film aside from a glorious score by Korngold that leads to the final concerto where he fully develops the love theme for Boyer and Fontaine.

Unfortunately, most of the sets for the country scenes early in the story look like painted backdrops so that one never gets the feeling that Tessa's environment is a real one. Nor does the story give Joan Fontaine ample opportunity to fully flesh out her character since she is missing from much of the middle portion of the film.

For a great Fontaine performance, I suggest viewing LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN with Joan at her best.


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