That Forsyte Woman

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That Forsyte Woman
That Forsyte Woman - Poster.jpg
1949 Theatrical Poster
Directed by Compton Bennett
Produced by Leon Gordon
Written by Jan Lustig
Ivan Tors
James B. Williams
Arthur Wimperis (additional dialogue)
Based on the novel The Man of Property by John Galsworthy
Starring Errol Flynn
Greer Garson
Walter Pidgeon
Robert Young
Janet Leigh
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Edited by Frederick Y. Smith
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
November 3, 1949 (1949-11-03)
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,612,000[1]
Box office $3,697,000[1]
Home Video VHS cover

That Forsyte Woman (released in the United Kingdom as The Forsyte Saga) is a 1949 romance film starring Greer Garson, Errol Flynn, Walter Pidgeon, Robert Young and Janet Leigh. It is an adaptation of The Man of Property, the first novel in The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy.

Walter Plunkett and Arlington Valles were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Color. The original music score was composed by Bronislau Kaper.

Plot summary[edit]

Greer Garson in That Forsyte Woman

Irene (Greer Garson) is the wife of Victorian "man of property" Soames Forsyte (Errol Flynn), having married without love but after many proposals. Rebelling against her husband's preoccupation with material possessions, a list in which she is included, Irene falls in love with unconventional architect Philip Bosinney (Robert Young), who is engaged to Soames' niece June (Janet Leigh), one of Irene's closest friends. Soames learns of Irene's affair with Bosinney, and rather than allowing Irene to leave him, he reasserts his physical rights. When Soames and Bosinney discover that Irene has run away, Bosinney rushes out in the foggy London streets after her, only to be run over in an accident. After Irene learns of Bosinney's death she takes refuge with Soames' cousin Young Jolyon (Walter Pidgeon), who is June's estranged father but has sympathy for Irene's plight. Irene and Young Jolyon eventually marry, after Irene spurns Soames' attempts at reconciliation.

Main cast[edit]

Actor Role
Errol Flynn Soames Forsyte
Greer Garson Irene Forsyte
Walter Pidgeon Young Jolyon Forsyte
Robert Young Philip Bosinney
Janet Leigh June Forsyte
Harry Davenport Old Jolyon Forsyte

Background[edit]

MGM bought the film rights to the Forstye Saga in 1937 after much negootiating over a long period of time.[2] Initial plans were to make an all-star film in the vein of Dinner at Eight or Grand Hotel, with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone mentioned as possible stars.[3] Joseph L. Mankiewicz was assigned to the project, which at one stage was going to be turned into two films.[4]

James Hilton wrote a screenplay in 1938 and in 1939 it was reported the film would be made as a vehicle for Myrna Loy.[5] Clarke Gable was going to star as Soames, in his follow up performance to Gone with the Wind.[6]

This did not proceed. Then in July 1940 it was announced Greer Garson would star in the film, which would most likely use many of the support cast from MGM's 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice (which had starred Garson).[7] Again, no film eventuated.

In 1945 it was announced that Robert Lord was going to produce the first in a series of proposed movies based on the series, from a script by Robert Nathan.[8] Deborah Kerr and Garson were named as possible leads.[9] Eventually Garson was set for the female lead. She had reservations about the script and threatened to pull out but changed her mind after further work on it. [10][11] Compton Bennett signed to direct and eventually producing duties were taken over by Leon Gordon, who said the film would mostly concentrate on the story of A Man of Property (written between 1903-06).[12]

(When the script went to credit arbitration with the American Writers Guild, it was revealed that thirteen writers had done seventeen adaptations in all. The writers included James Hilton, Richard Llewellyn, Robert Nathan, Ivan Tors, Robert Lord, Lawrence Weingarten, John Balderstone, Arthur Wimperis, Ann Cunningham, Franclien McConnell, John Collier, Jan Lustig and J.B. Williams. Under guild rules at the time only three writers could be credited.[13] These ended up being Tors, Lustig and Williams.)

MGM wanted Michael Wilding for one of the leads but were unable to get him.[14] In November it was announced Errol Flynn would join the cast - he was under contract to Warners, but MGM had had a one-picture call on his services ever since Warner Bros borrowed William Powell from MGM for Life with Father.[12] Robert Young, Janet Leigh and Walter Pidgeon rounded out the main stars.

Reportedly, Flynn was originally cast as the bohemian artist Jolyon, and Pidgeon as the stuffy banker Soames. When they met on the set, and discovered that they both were tired of being typecast, they decided to switch roles.[15] (This casting was publicly confirmed in December.[16])

Filming took place from January to March 1949. Flynn and Garson were recalled for reshoots in June.[17]

Robert Young later claimed he developed his English accent from listening to records of Maurice Evans and Laurence Olivier.[18]

Flynn and Garson got along surprisingly well during filming and discussed making another film together, such as a project about female pirate Mary Burns.[19] However this did not eventuate.

Release[edit]

In August 1949 it was announced the film's US title would be That Forsyte Woman.[20]

The movie was selected for the Royal Command Performance of 1949.[21] This happened on 17 November, attended by the King, Queen and two princesses.[22]

Critical Reception[edit]

The Washington Post said "while it's long, talkative and musty, there is a certain lush sincerity about it."[23] The Los Angeles Times said the casting of Errol Flynn as Soames "is about the only neat trick with which the filmmaker's have succeeded in enlivening a photographed novel and one that is virtually without other surprises."[24]

Box Office[edit]

The film was the 9th most popular movie at the British box office in 1949.[25] It recorded admissions of 1,341,629 in France.[26]

According to MGM records the film made $1,855,000 in the US and Canada and $1,855,000 overseas, ultimately earning the studio a loss of $574,000.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 'The Eddie Mannix Ledger’, Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study, Los Angeles
  2. ^ STUDIO AND SCREEN: Directors Wanted--A Comic Colman--Health and Beauty Films The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 28 Oct 1937: 12.
  3. ^ "FORSYTE SAGA" BY GALSWORTHY TO BE FILMED WITH ALL-STAR CAST: Radio Sports Announcer Awarded Lead Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 29 May 1937: A7.
  4. ^ Hedda Hopper's HOLLYWOOD Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 Apr 1939: 13.
  5. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Warners Sins Ruth Gordon for Role of Wife in 'The Life of Dr. Ehrlich ANOTHER NEW FILM FRIDAY 'Hollywood Cavalcade,' History of the Cinema Since Sennett Days, to Open at Roxy Merle Oberon Is Released Yola D'Avril With Universal Of Local Origin By DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 10 Oct 1939: 32.
  6. ^ DRAMA: Mickey Rooney Heads Box-Office Champions Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 Dec 1939: 13.
  7. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Metro to Revive Galsworthy's 'Forsyte Saga' as a Probable Vehicle for Greer Garson MUNI IN BEETHOVEN ROLE Two Pictures, 'My Love Came Back' at Strand and 'Maryland' at Roxy, in Second Week "Chad Hanna" to be in Color Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 19 July 1940: 25.
  8. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 11 Dec 1945: 20.
  9. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 07 Mar 1947: 28.
  10. ^ UA WILL RELEASE 'VIOLENT HOUSE': Cassidy and Banks in Deal for Their Film Based on Lewis Browne's Novel By THOMAS F. BRADYSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 03 Feb 1948: 31.
  11. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 12 July 1948: A4.
  12. ^ a b FLYNN WILL STAR IN 'FORSYTE SAGA': To Appear With Greer Garson in Metro Film Adaptation of Galsworthy Trilogy By THOMAS F. BRADYSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 08 Nov 1948: 24.
  13. ^ OWN TO THE SEA IN EXPLOITATION: The Movie Junket Comes Into Its Own Again at New Bedford Fete By THOMAS M. PRYORNEW BEDFORD, Mass.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 20 Feb 1949: X5.
  14. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 05 Nov 1948: a6.
  15. ^ Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer & Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 162-163
  16. ^ ARNALL TAKES POST IN MOVIE INDUSTRY: Former Governor of Georgia to Be Voted Tomorrow as Head of Independents By THOMAS F. BRADYSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 11 Dec 1948: 12.
  17. ^ DEL RUTH TO DIRECT MILTON BERLE FILM: Signed by Warners to Handle 'Always Leave Them Laughing' -- Wald Producing Movie By THOMAS F. BRADYSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 24 June 1949: 29.
  18. ^ Greer Garson Assigned To 'Forsyte' Film By Frank Daugherty Special to The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 04 Feb 1949: 5.
  19. ^ Flynn and Dandy: LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD WITH HEDDA HOPPER Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 29 May 1949: C4.
  20. ^ RKO AND WARNERS BUY NEW STORIES: Former Acquires 'Macao,' by Robert Williams -- 'Fires of Orinoco' Goes to Latter By THOMAS F. BRADYSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 Aug 1949: 6.
  21. ^ KING TO SEE METRO FILM: Approves 'That Forsyte Woman' for Command Performance New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 04 Oct 1949: 32.
  22. ^ THOUSANDS ATTEND ROYAL MOVIE SHOW: King, Queen, Two Princesses at Command Performance of American Picture New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 18 Nov 1949: 33.
  23. ^ A Leisurely Job On the Forsytes By Richard L. Coe. The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 10 Nov 1949: 19.
  24. ^ 'That Forsyte Woman' Saga of Victorians Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 08 Feb 1950: B9.
  25. ^ "Lockwood out to regain status.". The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 13 January 1951. p. 6 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  26. ^ 1951 French box office figures at Box Office Story

External links[edit]