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Ladies in Retirement

Ladies in Retirement(1941)

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During the film's opening credits, the camera pans across a marsh, revealing tombstones with the cast members' names inscribed on them. According to pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter, Lillian Gish, Judith Anderson, Pauline Lord, Laurette Taylor and Helen Chandler were all considered for the roles of the demented "Creed" sisters. An item in New York Times added that Rosalind Russell was also interested in playing one of the sisters. Although an April 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Michael Hogan was working on the film's screenplay, the extent of his contribution to the released film has not been determined. According to a news item in Hollywood Citizen-News, Gilbert Miller, the celebrated stage producer who owned the rights to the Reginald Denham-Edward Percy play, disdained the film business and refused to allow any of his plays to be made into motion pictures until he met Lester Cowan. Miller was so impressed by Cowan that he agreed to give him the motion picture rights to the play in exchange for an interest in the production and the position of co-producer. Isobel Elsom also portrayed "Mrs. Fiske" in the stage production. Ida Lupino, who was married at the time to her co-star Louis Hayward, was borrowed from Warner Bros. to appear in this production. According to Lupino's biography, the part of "Ellen Creed" was her favorite film role.
       The picture received Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Score. In 1969, Columbia remade the film as The Mad Room, directed by Bernard Girard and starring Stella Stevens and Shelley Winters. The 1951 NBC teleplay Ladies in Retirement, starring Lillian Gish, Una O'Connor and Betty Sinclair was also based on the Denham-Percy play, as was the 1954 Lux Video Theatre teleplay of the same name. The 1954 version was directed by Richard Goode and starred Claire Trevor, Elsa Lanchester and Edith Barrett, the latter two of whom reprised their screen roles.