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Indiscretion of an American Wife

Indiscretion of an American Wife(1954)


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The working title of the film was Terminal Station, and it was released in Europe as Stazione termini, the Italian title of Cesare Zavattini's screen story. The film marked Italian director Vittorio De Sica's first English language picture, and, according to a Variety pre-production news item, was originally slated as a French-Italian co-production to be directed by Claude Autant-Lara, with Marlon Brando starring. Actress Jennifer Jones was married to executive producer David O. Selznick. Although contemporary news items listed Italian actors Virgilio Riento and Giovanni Grazzo in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been determined.
       A June 1954 Variety news item indicated that Columbia Pictures had paid Selznick $500,000 for the Western Hemisphere rights to the film. The film was shot in its entirety at the recently completed Stazione Termini in Rome, Italy. According to a July 1953 news item in Hollywood Citizen-News, filming took place at the station between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., when the station was closed. Contemporay sources also note that initial showings of the picture were accompanied by a short film, an eight-minute "prologue," featuring Patti Page singing "Autumn in Rome" and "Indiscretion." The two songs, written by Sammy Cahn and Paul Weston, were based on Alessandro Cicognini's love theme from the film.
       According to a September 1952 memo contained in the file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, an early version of the script was rejected for approval by the PCA on the grounds that it was "an improper treatment of adultery." The memo noted that Selznick, during a meeting with PCA officials, indicated he would change the story to one in which the Philadephia housewife "never committed adultery and at the end she would rejoin her husband and renounce the lover." A revised script later met with the approval of the PCA and, in a November 1952 letter to an PCA official, Selznick called the film "...probably the most moral picture ever to come out of Europe."
       Modern sources add the following cast members: Paolo Stoppa (Baggage clerk), Mando Bruno (Employee), Clelia Mantania, Enrico Viarisio, Giuseppe Farelli, Enrico Olorio and Maria Pia Casillo-Ciro. Child actor Dick Beymer, who was later billed under the name Richard Beymer, made his motion picture debut in the film. According to modern sources, Columbia cut seventeen minutes from the picture's original eighty-minute running time. In 1983, the picture was restored to its original length and shown for the first time in the U.S. at that length. Modern sources also note that in addition to Truman Capote, Selznick employed writers Carson McCullers, Paul Gallico and Alberto Moravia to bolster the script.