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It was cited by director Martin Scorsese as one of his favorite films of all time, and he assessed Gene Tierney as one of the most underrated actresses of the Golden Era.
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For the proposal scene, Cornel Wilde had trouble reacting convincingly to Gene Tierney's advances, but each time they did a take the crew was so impressed, they whistled at her. Finally, John M. Stahl said to Wilde, "They all seem to understand how the scene should be played. Why can't you?"
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The famous (and dramatic) swimming scene that takes place in the lake for Darryl Hickman's character was in water so cold that the young actor caught pneumonia.
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Was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2018, by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
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The title is taken from a line from William Shakespeare's "Hamlet".
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Although Gene Tierney was nominated for an Academy award for this film, she lost to Joan Crawford who won for Mildred Pierce (1945).
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The original choice for the role of Ellen was Rita Hayworth, who turned it down.
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Features Gene Tierney's only Oscar-nominated performance.
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The California filming locations included Bass Lake in the High Sierras, Monterey, and Busch Gardens. They also shot Ellen's first meetings with Richard and her father's memorial in Sedona, AZ. Although most of the lake scenes were shot in Busch Gardens, a unit did film some long shots and other backgrounds in Warm Springs, GA.
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Gene Tierney's character Ellen is paid the compliment of being compared in looks to an exotic Arabian woman. Indeed, Tierney had played an exotic Arabian woman in Sundown (1941).
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The car Richard drives in Warm Springs, Georgia is a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe convertible coupe. It had an MSRP of $946. The color was called "Mayfair Maroon" and was only used by Ford for that one model year.
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On 22 May 1944, after Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the screen rights to the novel, a Hollywood Reporter news item speculated that the studio would cast Tallulah Bankhead and Ida Lupino in the film.
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This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #1020.
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 17, 1947 with Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde reprising their film roles.
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The classical music in this film was composed by Frederic Chopin. Cornel Wilde was nominated for an Academy Award this same year for "A Song To Remember", the biography of Frederic Chopin.
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A January 18, 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Faye Marlowe had been "pencilled in for the role of the good sister", and on April 6, 1945, a studio press release announced that Thomas Mitchell would play "Glen Robie".
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On a Saturday night, before finishing work for the week, John M. Stahl asked Gene Tierney to run through the drowning scene so cinematographer Leon Shamroy could see the staging and know how to light it. When she finished, Stahl was upset. "That was perfect," he said, "just the way it should be done. But, oh God, you will never get it again, never in a million years." He refused to believe Tierney's protestation that she had been rehearsing it exactly that way for weeks which left her a nervous wreck on her Sunday off. Monday morning they shot the scene, and she nailed it.
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This is the second film to feature Gene Tierney as Vincent Price's ill-fated love interest. The first was Laura (1944).
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While shooting the drowning scene, John M. Stahl was particularly tough on Darryl Hickman. He never even referred to him by name, calling him "boy" or "son" the entire time. Then word came back from Hollywood that Darryl F. Zanuck thought the rushes were some of the best he had ever seen. Suddenly Hickman was one of Stahl's favourite actors, and he took to picking on Cornel Wilde and calling him "son" and "boy."
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The PCA approved a November 29, 1944 draft of the film's screenplay, while strongly cautioning the studio about the depiction of Ellen's forced miscarriage: "It will be absolutely essential to remove any flavour...that Ellen plans to murder the unborn child merely because she is misshapen. It should be definitely established that her reason for murdering the child is that she thinks that the newborn will replace her in her husband's affections. This is important in order to avoid any of the flavour that is normally connected with what could be termed 'abortion'.'" A February 7, 1945 script draft was disapproved because of an inference that "Ellen" and "Richard" had "an illicit sex affair" before their marriage. The studio was again cautioned about the miscarriage, and the PCA approved a later screenplay.
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