Conspiracy of Hearts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Conspiracy of Hearts
Conspiracy of Hearts British film poster.jpg
Original British cinema poster
Directed by Ralph Thomas
Produced by Betty E. Box
Earl St. John
Written by Robert Presnell Jr.
Based on "original material" by "Dale Pit" (Adrian Scott)
Starring Lilli Palmer
Sylvia Syms
Yvonne Mitchell
Ronald Lewis
Music by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Cinematography Ernest Steward
Edited by Alfred Roome
Distributed by Rank Film Distributors (UK)
Paramount Pictures (USA)
Release date
Running time
113 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Conspiracy of Hearts is a 1960 British Second World War film, directed by Ralph Thomas, about nuns in Italy smuggling Jewish children out of an internment camp near their convent to save them from the Holocaust. It stars Lilli Palmer, Sylvia Syms, Yvonne Mitchell and Ronald Lewis, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Film Promoting International Understanding at the 18th Golden Globe Awards in 1961.


In 1943 Italy, some nuns protect Jewish children who have escaped from a concentration camp.


TV Production[edit]

The film was originally a teleplay credited to Dale Pitt, a writer who was acting as a "front" for blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Adrian Scott.[1] This teleplay was set in 1946 and concerned nuns helping Jewish children to get to Palestine. It aired in 1956 as an episode of Goodyear Playhouse directed by Robert Mulligan.[2]


The film version was written by Robert Presnell Jnr, who set the story in 1943. Presnell was reportedly a front for Dalton Trumbo. The script was optioned by Albert C. Gannaway in 1958 who could not get finance.[3]

Betty Box became enthusiastic about the movie and wanted to make it. She took it to the Rank Organisation. Box says Rank did not want them to make the movie but allowed her because of the success of the Doctor in the House series. "They said, 'It's religion, it's nuns, it's wartime, who wants to know? Tell you what, make us another Doctor and you can do it!"[4] Box and Thomas made Doctor in Love (1960) as a pay off for Rank financing the movie.

The film was shot on location in Italy and at Pinewood Studios in London. Some filming took place at La Certosa di Galluso monastery near Florence.[5]


The film was a financial success being the 5th most popular film at the British box office in 1960.[4] (Doctor in Love was even more popular.)

US rights were bought by Barney Balaban of Paramount. Thomas says Balaban paid the largest amount Rank had received for a picture until then.[6]


  1. ^ Obitiary of Dale Pitt at Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ Conspiracy of Hearts 1956 TV Version at IMDB
  3. ^ Bernard F Dick, Radical Innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten, p 202
  4. ^ a b Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Metheun 1997 p86
  5. ^ Picture Filmed in Italian Monastery Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 05 June 1960: G5.
  6. ^ Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema 1997 p 559
  • Box, Betty, Lifting the Lid, 2001

External links[edit]