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A Walk in the Spring Rain

A Walk in the Spring Rain(1970)

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A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970), based on Rachel Maddux's 1966 novel of the same name, centers around a middle-aged professor's wife (Ingrid Bergman) who moves to an isolated farm while her husband writes a book. There, she is attracted to and has an affair with a local man (Anthony Quinn) and the affair ends in tragedy.

Producer Stirling Silliphant (who also wrote the screenplay) had visited Bergman at her home in Danhomen in 1968 to show her the unfinished script for the film. Bergman, who had complained that there were so few scripts for women her age, liked the story and wanted to work with Anthony Quinn again (they were co-starred in the 1964 film The Visit), so she agreed. The director would be Guy Green, best known as David Lean's cameraman on Oliver Twist (1948) and Great Expectations (1946).

Shot on location in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, and Knoxville, Tennessee, the film's climactic fight scene between Anthony Quinn and his son (played by Tom Fielding) was choreographed by martial arts legend Bruce Lee. Lee, a friend of Silliphant's, was on location from April 16-24, 1969.

Regarding Bergman's co-star Anthony Quinn, the actress wrote in her autobiography, "...Tony and I were very good friends. But that doesn't mean we didn't argue heatedly about various scenes as I always had great difficulty in being diplomatic and didn't think about what I was going to say before I said it. I remember in one scene, the sun was just right, everything was ready to shoot. We did a rehearsal and I turned to Tony and said, "You are not going to play it that way, are you?" Well, he was furious. "Who is directing this movie, anyway, you or Guy?" He went over to Guy Green and said he wanted to get out of the picture. Burt Lancaster was free and he was sure Burt would be happy to do the part with me. He'd had enough of my interfering." With the ideal lighting conditions at stake, Bergman swallowed her pride and went over to the director, saying "I'm sorry. I am so terribly sorry. I shall never ever open my mouth again about how you should play a scene. Let's just go on shooting, because we want this picture in the can." So we made up."

A Walk in the Spring Rain had its premiere in Knoxville, Tennessee, on April 9, 1970 with Bergman and the book's author in attendance. According to Bergman, "I sat next to Rachel Maddux, and all through the film she was saying to me, "What is this?...What happened to the scene when she?...This isn't meant to be here...this is later...Haven't they understood that?"...I didn't know what I could do to help her. The book had been so well written, full of the country and the true feelings of a woman in this situation...and now poor Rachel Maddux had seen her book go down the drain. So she went to the ladies' room and cried. I went after her and tried to comfort her...The film had been a good try. We'd started off with such high hopes. I thought maybe we could do a film with that elusive feeling which Brief Encounter [1945] had. We'd worked hard. We'd done our best and at the end of it we'd made Rachel Maddux cry."

Most critics were also disappointed by A Walk in the Spring Rain. Lawrence J. Quirk wrote in Screen Slant, "[Bergman] is, in fact, better by far than the film itself, for it had been rather indifferently written and produced by Stirling Silliphant and directed by Guy Green with a lack of sharpness and a slackness of approach that fails to take full advantage of the more climactic moments. Indeed, whatever sharpness and romantic power the film possesses can be credited to Miss Bergman, who seems to be dragging the film along with the force of a sleek diesel hitched to a set of toy trolley cars." Howard Thompson in The New York Times called it "a dreary, tedious, unconvincing drama of middle-aged love. [It] should have been a beauty. It's a bore."

Producer: Stirling Silliphant
Director: Guy Green
Screenplay: Stirling Silliphant; Rachel Maddux (novel)
Cinematography: Charles Lang
Music: Elmer Bernstein
Film Editing: Ferris Anderson, Jr.
Cast: Anthony Quinn (Will Cade), Ingrid Bergman (Libby Meredith), Fritz Weaver (Roger Meredith), Katharine Crawford (Ellen Meredith), Tom Fielding (Boy Cade), Virginia Gregg (Ann Cade), Mitchell Silberman (Bucky).
C-98m.

by Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES:
Bergman, Ingrid & Burgess, Alan Ingrid Bergman: My Story
Campbell, Sid and Lee, Greglon Yimm Remembering the master: Bruce Lee, James Yimm Lee, and the creation of Jeet Kune Do
Quirk, Lawrence J. The Films of Ingrid Bergman

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