Escape Me Never (1947 film)

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Escape Me Never
Escapemenever1947.jpg
1947 film
Directed by Peter Godfrey
LeRoy Prinz
Produced by Henry Blanke
Written by Thames Williamson
Leonore Coffee
Based on play by Margaret Kennedy
based on her novel The Fool of the Family
Starring Errol Flynn
Ida Lupino
Eleanor Parker
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Edited by Clarence Kolster
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
November 7, 1947
Running time
104 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2.3 million (US rentals)[1]

Escape Me Never is a 1947 American melodrama film directed by Peter Godfrey and starring Errol Flynn, Ida Lupino, Eleanor Parker, and Gig Young.[2] It is an adaptation of the play Escape Me Never by Margaret Kennedy which had previously been made into a film of the same name in 1935.[3]

It was the final Warner Brothers film with a musical score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold to be released, but Korngold later adapted the music of Richard Wagner for Republic Pictures' 1954 production Magic Fire and wrote some original music for the film as well.

Plot[edit]

The story takes place in Venice at the turn of the 20th century. A young composer by the name of Caryl Dubrok (Gig Young) has a love affair with wealthy English heiress, Fenella MacLean (Eleanor Parker), until her parents by mistake start believing that Caryl is living with young widow Gemma Smith (Ida Lupino) and her infant baby.

The MacLean family leaves Venice in a hurry and takes refuge at a safe distance up in the Dolomite mountains. It turns out that Gemma is really living with Caryls big brother Sebastian (Errol Flynn), who showed pity of the young lonely mother and let her stay with him. Sebastian is set on helping his brother explain the misunderstanding to the MacLeans.

Caryl and Sebastian bring Gemma and her baby along on the trip into the mountains. They survive by singing in the streets for money, since both Caryl and Sebastian are aspiring composers and musicians.

When Caryl hurts his foot one day, Gemma and Sebastian sing alone in the street, and encounter a very beautiful woman whom Sebastian instantly falls for. He is unaware that it is Fenella he has met in the street, and starts pursuing her while Gemma goes back to Caryl.

With the inspiration Sebastian gets from Fenella's alluring beauty, he composes a music piece as the beginning of a ballet that same night. In the morning Gemma finds out that it was Fenella they met the night before. To avoid further misunderstandings, Gemma and Sebastian leave, marry and move to London. Sebastian continues working on the ballet he started in the mountains.

A while later the MacLean family move back to London and Caryl follows them, taking a job as music agent. Caryl and Fenella are soon engaged to be married, but as soon as Sebastian is finished composing his ballet, Fenella arranges for him to perform his piece in London.

When the ballet is a success, Sebastian and Fenella are again acquainted. Sebastian is so busy with rehearsing and perfecting his ballet that he neglects to take Gemma to the hospital when her baby is sick. Fenella gets caught up in her relationship with the young Sebastian and breaks off her engagement to Caryl.

Fenella and Sebastian spend a weekend at the MacLean's country estate and become smitten by each other. While they are away, Gemma's baby dies from its illness and the devastated Gemma vanishes. After the weekend, when Sebastian comes back to London and finds his wife has disappeared, he is ridden by guilt, realizing how much she meant to him.

Sebastian starts reworking the ballet, inspired by his love for Gemma, and when it is finished and has its first performance, Gemma comes back to watch it and reunite with Sebastian.[4]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Elisabeth Bergner appeared on stage in a revival of the play in 1942.[5][6]

Warner Bros announced they would make a film version in August 1943, as a follow up to the popular The Constant Nymph. Leonore Coffee was reported as working on the script with Henry Blanke to produce and Joan Leslie mentioned as a possible star.[7]

Lupino and Flynn were announced for the film in September 1945, with Peter Godfrey attached to direct. Shooting started later that year.[3] It was completed in February 1946.[8]

Lupino sang two songs in the film.[9] She was meant to be billed after Flynn and Parker but protested and succeeded in being billed after Flynn.[10]

Reception[edit]

Box Office[edit]

The film took a while to be released and earned an estimated $2.3 million in rentals in the US and Canada according to Variety.[1] However it failed to recover its costs.[11]

Critical[edit]

Bosley Crowther, writing for The New York Times, called the film "something harsh and unbelievable, like a terrible faux-pas in a grade-school play." He describes Lupino's performance as "downright embarrassing" and compares Flynn's to a "singing-waiter in a Hoboken café." Crowther gives Eleanor Parker his "deepest sympathy".[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Top Grossers of 1947", Variety, 7 January 1948 p 63
  2. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | ESCAPE ME NEVER (1947)". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  3. ^ a b LUPINO AND FLYNN TO BE CO-STARRED: NAMED BY WARNER BROTHERS FOR 'ESCAPE ME NEVER'--TWO FILMS OPEN TODAY OF LOCAL ORIGIN Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 27 Sep 1945: 25.
  4. ^ http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/136/Escape-Me-Never/
  5. ^ NEWS OF THE STAGE: Elisabeth Bergner Will Revive 'Escape Me Never' -- Thornton Wilder's Play Is Due in Autumn New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 09 July 1942: 16.
  6. ^ RETURN CANCELED FOR 'SPRING AGAIN': Comedy, With Grace George and C. Aubrey Smith, to' Begin Road Tour in Maplewood BERLIN SHOW EXTENDED 'This Is The Army' Will Stay at Broadway Until Aug. 29 -- Skowhegan to Do 'Claudia' New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 22 July 1942: 23.
  7. ^ DRAMA AND FILM: Nymph Has Successor in 'Escape Me Never' Woolley to Spend 'Centenhial Summer;' Schulberg Will Stage Plays, Film Them Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 16 Aug 1943: 13.
  8. ^ Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer * Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 149
  9. ^ News of the Screen The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 07 Jan 1946: 5.
  10. ^ https://archive.org/stream/variety168-1947-11#page/n85/mode/1up
  11. ^ Glancy, H. Mark. "Warner Bros film grosses, 1921-51." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. March 1995.
  12. ^ Crowther, Bosley (1947-11-04). "' Escape Me Never' Is New Feature at the Strand -- 'High Tide,' With Lee Tracy, Bill at Rialto". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 

External links[edit]