Friday, June 2, 2017

Separate Tables 1958

     This film is based on a play written by Terrence Rattigan.  The Beauregard Hotel in the English seaside town of Bournemoth is where lonely people go to live.  Sometimes hat’s all they can afford and they don’t have anywhere else to go.  It’s usually quiet on the off-season but things are getting stirred up.  John Malcom is an alcoholic and he is divorced from Ann Shankland.  She shows up at the hotel and waits for him.  When he arrives, she tells him she’s getting married and she just wanted to see him.  Pat Cooper runs the hotel and she is secretly engaged to John Malcom.  Major Pollock is always telling stories from the war but an item appears in the newspaper than he doesn’t want anyone to read.  Mrs. Railton-Bell discovers the article in the paper and she tells everyone including her frail and emotional adult daughter Sibyl.  As a secret admirer of Major Pollock and his stories, Sibyl takes the news hard.  
     I could tell this film was based on a play.  Usually I don’t like films based on plays but this one is good.  Maybe because there are a lot of characters, the dialog isn’t stiff and there is an all-star cast?  The role of Sibyl Railton-Bell acted by Deborah Kerr must have been a challenge?  Sibyl is constantly rebuked and browbeaten by her overbearing mother.  She is always cautioned that whatever is happening may bring on one of her emotional outbursts or spells.  Sibyl has never really lived even though she is an adult and has traveled with her mother.  Pat Cooper has the patience of a saint as the manager of the Beauregard.  This time period rated people according to their social status, manners and decorum were very important.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

100 min, Drama directed by Delbert Mann with Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Wendy Hiller, Burt Lancaster, Gladys Cooper, Cathleen Nesbitt, Felix Aylmer, Rod Taylor, Audrey Dalton, May Hallatt.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 77% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 180 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 4* out of 4*

Special Note:  Filmed in West Hollywood, California.  Wendy Hiller won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role as Pat Cooper.  David Niven also won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role as Major Pollock and his screen time of 23 minutes 39 seconds is the shortest ever to win an award in a leading category.  Burt Lancaster starred and also produced this film.  He did re-cutting of the picture and director Delbert Mann became very upset.  As a result, he severed his relationship with the production company.  Rita Hayworth was married to co-producer James Hill and her role was originally to have been acted by Vivien Leigh.  Her husband Laurence Olivier changed his mind and decided not to direct.  Olivier wanted Spencer Tracy to play the role of John Malcolm.  Since Lancaster was producing, he fired Olivier and Leigh did not take her role.  

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