6.8/10
2,182
51 user 19 critic

Autumn Leaves (1956)

Approved | | Drama | 8 October 1956 (Italy)
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 »

Director:

Robert Aldrich
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Joan Crawford ... Millicent 'Milly' Wetherby Hanson
Cliff Robertson ... Burt Hanson
Vera Miles ... Virginia Hanson
Lorne Greene ... Mr. Hanson
Ruth Donnelly ... Liz Eckhart
Shepperd Strudwick ... Dr. Malcolm Couzzens
Selmer Jackson ... Mr. Wetherby
Maxine Cooper ... Nurse Evans
Marjorie Bennett ... Waitress
Frank Gerstle ... Mr. Ramsey
Leonard Mudie ... Colonel Hillyer
Maurice Manson ... Dr. Masterson
Bob Hopkins Bob Hopkins ... Desk Clerk
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

"He was so young - so eager and I was so lonely..." See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's original title was "The Way We Are", but this was changed to capitalize on the success of the Nat "King" Cole song "Autumn Leaves", which was enjoying considerable popularity at the time. See more »

Quotes

Liz Eckhart: If you ask me, you give 'em the brush off. But don't ask me why.
Milly: Maybe I'm just too choosy.
Liz Eckhart: Maybe you're just plain scared.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Feud: Bette and Joan: The Other Woman (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Autumn Leaves
(Les Feuilles Mortes)
Music by Joseph Kosma
French lyrics by Jacques Prévert
English lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole
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User Reviews

 
A fine film and a fine performance by Joan
18 November 2009 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

Joan Crawford aged like fine wine, and even at 51 she is quite believable as the romantic lead here. She plays Millicent Wetherby, a lonely 40ish woman who has sacrificed her youth taking care of her invalid father. Now he is gone and she feels like life has passed her by until Burt Hanson (Cliff Robertson in only his second film appearance) interrupts her chicken salad one night at a diner. He practically pries open her life, and they begin dating even though he is over ten years younger than she. She tries to be practical, but he sweeps her off her feet and the two elope to Mexico. Then she starts to notice little things...he has told her he was from Racine, now he says he is from Chicago. Burt meets Joan's employer and talks about all of the battles he saw in the military when he has told her previously that he was a supply clerk and never saw action during his time in the service, but the final straw is when an ex-wife she didn't even know about shows up at her door.

This is a hard film to characterize. It's definitely not a soaper, but it has aspects of that. It has romance, dealing with mental illness, and even elements of a thriller to it. It deals with the self-doubt we all have about the choices we have made in life. No high-camp Johnny Guitar is this film. Although, don't get me wrong, I love Joan in her campy 50's films too.

Cliff Robertson is almost at the bottom of the bill on this one, even though he really is the male lead. This is only his second film, yet he pulls off the part of the child-like Burt like a pro. It's also good to see Ruth Donnelly as Milly's ever-supportive older neighbor twenty years after she was a contract player over at Warner Brothers. I highly recommend this film for anyone who even remotely enjoys Joan Crawford's films. You don't have to be a big fan to appreciate this one.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1956 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Way We Are See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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