The Swan (film)

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The Swan
Swan Poster.jpg
Movie poster
Directed by Charles Vidor
Produced by Dore Schary
Written by John Dighton
Based on A hattyú (1920 play; The Swan)
by Ferenc Molnár
Starring Grace Kelly
Alec Guinness
Louis Jourdan
Jessie Royce Landis
Estelle Winwood
Brian Aherne
Agnes Moorehead
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Robert Surtees
Edited by John D. Dunning
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • April 26, 1956 (1956-04-26) (U.S.)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,094,000[1]
Box office $3,749,000[1]

The Swan (1956) an Eastman Color in CinemaScope is a remake of The Swan (1925), a Paramount Pictures release. Another film version was released as One Romantic Night (1930).

The film is a romantic comedy released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Charles Vidor, produced by Dore Schary from a screenplay by John Dighton, and based on the play by Ferenc Molnár. The original music score was by Bronislau Kaper, the cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg and Robert Surtees, the art direction by Randall Duell and Cedric Gibbons, and the costume design by Helen Rose.

The film stars Grace Kelly, Alec Guinness and Louis Jourdan with Agnes Moorehead, Jessie Royce Landis, Brian Aherne, Leo G. Carroll, Estelle Winwood, and Robert Coote.


The film, set in 1910, deals with the story of the daughter of a minor branch of a European royal house who is being considered as a wife for her cousin, the heir to the throne.

Princess Alexandra (Grace Kelly) is the princess, her cousin the crown prince, Albert (Alec Guinness), and her brothers' tutor Dr. Nicholas Agi (Louis Jourdan), a commoner for whom she thinks she may feel more affection than she does for the prince.

The princess's relatives – played by Jessie Royce Landis, Estelle Winwood, and Brian Aherne – are comically eccentric, and Agnes Moorehead, as the queen who shows up near the end to find out if the princess has made the grade, is crankily imperious. Leo G. Carroll plays their butler. Van Dyke Parks also appears in this movie.

Princess Alexandra is urged by her mother to accept Albert so that their family may regain a throne that was taken from them by Napoleon. Princess Alexandra tries to gain Albert's attention; he is otherwise taken with sleeping late, shooting duck and playing football with Alexandra's two younger brothers. Alexandra's mother urges her to show interest in the tutor, Mr. Agi, to make Albert jealous and stimulate a proposal from him.

Agi is already taken with Alexandra and when she invites him to the farewell ball for the crown prince he eagerly accepts. Later when they are dancing at the ball it appears that Albert is getting jealous but instead he is more interested in playing the bass viol in the orchestra.

Later, Agi tells Alexandra how he feels about her. She tells him that it was all a ploy to get Albert to propose to her and she suspected he felt this way. She realizes that she has some feelings for him but he refuses her. Albert comes to find out about this situation and is a little taken aback. Albert and Agi trade insults. Agi then storms out and tries to leave the next morning.

Alexandra, distraught over what happened, tries to leave with him, but he refuses her again. Albert's mother shows up and gets the entire story and is aghast. Albert gives his blessing to the pair and says that when he is king he will allow them back into the country. However, Agi ends up leaving the mansion without Alexandra.

Albert tries to console Alexandra by telling her she is like a swan: on the water she looks serene, but on land she is more like a goose. Albert then offers Alexandra his arm and they walk back into the mansion together.


Background and production notes[edit]

The 1925, 1930, and 1956 films are all based on a Hungarian play entitled A Hattyú, Vígjáték Három Felvonásban (The Swan, A Comedy in Three Acts) [2] by Ferenc Molnár (Budapest, 1914).

For the 1956 film, the role of Prince Albert was originally offered to Rex Harrison, then to Joseph Cotten, before being given to Alec Guinness. This was Guinness' first American film.

Grace Kelly had previously appeared in the CBS Television production of The Swan on June 9, 1950.

The film was shot on location in North Carolina, at the 1895 Biltmore Estate of George W. Vanderbilt in Asheville and at Lake Junaluska.

MGM held the release of The Swan to correspond with the wedding day of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco, on April 18, 1956.


The score was composed by Bronislau Kaper and conducted by Johnny Green, with orchestrations by Robert Franklyn. One piece of source music, "Rakoczy March", an 1809 piece by John Bihari, was conducted by Miklós Rózsa.[3]

MGM Records released two suites of portions of the music from the film on long-playing record after the release of the film. The complete score was released in 2004, on cd, on the Film Score Monthly label.


According to MGM records the film earned $1,763,000 in the US and Canada and $1,986,000 elsewhere but the high cost meant it resulted in loss of $798,000.[1]

Earlier film versions[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

The original Broadway production of The Swan opened on Broadway in 1923, with Eva Le Gallienne as Princess Alexandra, Philip Merivale as Prince Albert, and Basil Rathbone as the tutor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Bond, Jeff; Lukas Kendall (2004). Bronislau Kaper. "The Swan". Film Score Monthly (CD insert notes). Culver City, California, U.S.A. 7 (5): 4. 

External links[edit]