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Edward, My Son

Edward, My Son(1949)

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"Edward," the title character, is never seen onscreen. The very successful Robert Morley and Noel Langley play upon which this film was based starred Morley and actress Peggy Ashcroft in its initial London run. The play opened in New York at the Martin Beck Theater in September 1948. A September 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that M-G-M paid $160,000 for the rights to the play, and that Orson Welles was initially considered for the part of "Arnold Boult." Deborah Kerr originated her role in the London stage production. Actors Ian Hunter and Leueen MacGrath enacted the same roles in the film that they had in both the London and New York productions of the play. Kerr was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Actor James Donald made his American feature-film debut in Edward, My Son.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPPA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, M-G-M was pressured into adding a retribution scene to the film that did not exist in the play. The added scene had "Arnold Boult" being sent to prison for collecting insurance money by setting fire to his shop. Edward, My Son was the first of several films produced by M-G-M at its newly constructed Elstree Studios, located near London, in Borehamwood, England. Strict laws and union agreements regulating the employment of foreigners in the film industy in England usually limited the number of Americans involved in any one production. As a result, the M-G-M films shot in England were made with a primarily British crew.
       According to a June 1949 Hollywood Reporter news item, M-G-M threatened legal action against the Ford Motor Company for its plans to air a television adaptation of Edward, My Son on June 13, 1949, just as the picture was set to open in New York. The Ford version, which starred Morley, McGrath, Hunter and Carol Goodner, was canceled and replaced with another show. A biography of Spencer Tracy notes that Katharine Hepburn was considered for the role played by Kerr and that Boult was changed from British to Canadian to accommodate the actor's lack of an accent. U.S. Steel Hour television adaptation of the play, directed by Norman Felton and starring Morley and Ann Todd, aired on December 7, 1955 on the CBS network. Walter Pidgeon played "Arnold Boult" and Kerr reprised her film role for an June 18, 1951 Lux Radio Theatre version of the story.