To Each His Own (film)

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To Each His Own
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
Produced by Charles Brackett
Written by Charles Brackett (story)
Jacques Théry
Dodie Smith (uncredited)
Starring Olivia de Havilland
Mary Anderson
John Lund
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography Daniel L. Fapp
Edited by Alma Macrorie
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
March 12, 1946 (1946-03-12)
Running time
122 minutes
Country United States
Language English

To Each His Own is a 1946 American drama film.[1][2] It was directed by Mitchell Leisen, and stars Olivia de Havilland, Mary Anderson, Roland Culver, and John Lund in his first on-screen appearance, where he played dual roles as father and son. The screenplay was written by Charles Brackett and Jacques Théry. A young woman bears a child out of wedlock and has to give him up.

De Havilland won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Brackett and Théry were nominated for Best Writing, Original Story.


In World War II London, fire wardens Josephine "Jody" Norris (Olivia de Havilland) and Lord Desham (Roland Culver) keep a lonely vigil. When Jody saves Desham's life, they become better acquainted. With a bit of coaxing, the ageing spinster tells the story of her life, leading to a flashback.

Jody is the belle of her small American hometown of Piersen Falls. Both Alex Piersen (Phillip Terry) and traveling salesman Mac Tilton (Bill Goodwin) propose to her. However, she turns them both down. A disappointed Alex marries Corinne (Mary Anderson). When handsome US Army Air Service fighter pilot Captain Bart Cosgrove (John Lund) flies in to promote a World War I bond drive, he and Jody quickly fall in love, though they have only one night together.

A pregnant Jody is advised (out of town) that her life is in danger and she needs an operation. She agrees, though she would lose her unborn child. However, when she learns that Bart has been killed in action, she changes her mind. She secretly gives birth to their son in 1919. She tries to arrange it so that she can "adopt" the boy without scandal by having him left on the doorstep of a family with too many children already, but the scheme backfires. Corrine loses her own newborn that same day, but is consoled by Jody's. Jody has to love her son, named Gregory or "Griggsy", from afar.

Her father dies, forcing her to sell the family drug store. When Jody asks to become Griggsy's nurse, Corrine turns her down; she has suspected all along that Jody is the boy's real mother. Knowing that her husband never loved her, Corrine is determined to keep the one person who does.

Jody moves to New York City to work for Mac. She discovers to her surprise that he is a bootlegger, using a cosmetics business as a front. The same day, the place is raided by the police, leaving Mac with nothing but the cosmetics equipment. Jody persuades him to make cold cream; with her drive and determination, she builds up a thriving business, and they become rich.

In 1924, she forces Corrine to give her Griggsy by threatening to block a desperately needed bank loan for Alex's failing business. After two months, however, the four-year-old (played by Billy Ward) is still so miserably homesick, Jody gives up and sends the boy back.

Heartbroken, Jody leaves the US to immerse herself in work, setting up and running the English branch of her Lady Vyvyan Cosmetics Company. During World War II, her son (played by John Lund) becomes a pilot in the 8th Air Force. When he gets a leave in London, Jody meets his train and fusses over him. He only knows her as a family friend. Lord Desham, who is attracted to Jody, uses his influence to arrange for the young man to marry his WREN fiancée without the customary delay. After some broad hints from Desham, Lieutenant Pierson finally realizes why Jody has been so helpful and asks his mother (by that title) for a dance.

Home media[edit]

  • To Each His Own (VHS). Universal Studios. February 17, 1998. 
  • To Each His Own (DVD (region 2)). Universal Studios. 


The film was remade in India as the Hindi hit film Aradhana (1969)[3][4] which made Rajesh Khanna a major star.[5][6]


  1. ^ Variety film review; March 13, 1946, page 10.
  2. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; March 16, 1943, page 43.
  3. ^ "Aradhana (1969) - Movie connections". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  4. ^ " Dial D for Darjeeling". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ ", Movies: The different avatars of Rajesh Khanna". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Shadoian, Jack (September 1, 1998). "Exacting standards: Director Mitchell Leisen's film "To Each His Own" epitomizes the director's work". Film Comment 34 (5): 40. Retrieved 2011-02-03. Seeing Leisen's films, though, kindles the urge to get up in arms, hoist a banner or two in the hope of securing the director his rightful share of the limelight. Segue to To Each His Own, a quintessential Leisen weepie -- what one could unkindly call glittery trash created by the best minds of the motion picture industry, but that just might be wonder-full enough to do the job.  Shadoian is a film scholar who wrote the monograph Dreams and Dead Ends: The American Gangster Film (1978, 2003).

External links[edit]