I Thank a Fool


1h 40m 1962
I Thank a Fool

Brief Synopsis

A woman once convicted of euthanasia gets a job caring for her prosecutor's wife.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1962
Premiere Information
Philadelphia opening: 12 Sep 1962
Production Company
Eaton Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel I Thank a Fool by Audrey Erskine Lindop (London, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

After spending 2 years in prison for the mercy killing of her incurably ill lover, Canadian Dr. Christine Allison accepts employment with Stephen Dane, the prosecuting attorney at her trial. Dane explains that he wants her to look after his wife, Liane, who has been mentally unbalanced since she caused the death of her father in an automobile crash. Gradually, however, Christine begins to suspect that Dane has another reason for hiring her and is not really concerned about his wife's welfare. Her doubts increase when Liane's supposedly dead father, Captain Ferris, reappears. Determined now to help Liane, Christine takes her to her alleged lush country home in Ireland. The shock of having to admit that it is a hovel and that her father is a drunken schemer is too much for Liane, and she suffers a breakdown. On a doctor's advice, Christine gives her a sedative. When she finds Liane dead from an overdose, Christine fears that Dane arranged matters so that again she will be charged with mercy killing. But he defends her and traps Captain Ferris into admitting that he hid the empty bottle after Liane took all the pills it contained. After confessing complicity in the death of his daughter, Captain Ferris falls to his death.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1962
Premiere Information
Philadelphia opening: 12 Sep 1962
Production Company
Eaton Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel I Thank a Fool by Audrey Erskine Lindop (London, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

I Thank a Fool


In 1941 two young actresses on the brink of major Hollywood stardom, Ingrid Bergman and Susan Hayward, appeared together in the film melodrama Adam Had Four Sons. They got along well, and Hayward was very admiring of the more advanced Bergman, later saying, "She was wonderful to me." She noted that "Some actors and actresses are like blank walls, so unresponsive you can't do your best. Ingrid is just the opposite - she worked as hard for my close-ups as her own." Hayward would later name Bergman as her favorite actress. In 1957 another melodrama - I Thank a Fool, based on the novel by Audrey Erskine Lindop - was announced for production by MGM, with Sol C. Siegel as producer, Peter Greenville as director and Bergman as star. When Bergman withdrew from the project, Hayward eventually was named as her replacement. Hayward was quoted as saying at the time, "If it was good enough for Ingrid Bergman, it's good enough for me!" The movie, now produced by Anatole de Grunwald and directed by Robert Stevens, was filmed by MGM's British studios and released in 1962. Karl Tunberg, whose best-known screenplay credit was the 1959 Ben-Hur, adapted Lindop's book and took several liberties with its structure. There were reports that further changes were made to placate Hayward, who did not approve of euthanasia, an important plot element. Hayward plays Dr. Christine Allison, a Canadian physician living in Liverpool who takes the life of her married lover in a mercy killing and is sentenced to two years in prison for manslaughter. Upon her release, with her license to practice medicine revoked, Christine has difficulty finding work until receiving an offer from an unexpected source - Stephen Dane (Peter Finch), the barrister who mercilessly prosecuted her and sent her to jail. Dane has an attractive but mentally disturbed young wife, Liane (Diane Cilento), who needs supervision and nursing care at their English estate. Suspicious of Dane's motives but desperate to earn a living, Christine accepts the position and becomes fond of Liane, whom she suspects to be schizophrenic. She has been told by Dane that Liane's mental breakdown was caused by her father's death in an automobile accident. To her astonishment, that father, Captain Ferris (Cyril Cusack), shows up very much alive at the Dane home one day while the couple are out. Christine pleads with him to stay and see his daughter, but he mysteriously refuses. Upon Liane's return, Christine tells her that her father is alive and living in her childhood home in Caragh, a small village in Ireland. She persuades Liane to travel there, and the two find Ferris living a dissolute life, drinking heavily and womanizing. Hints are dropped that he may have sexually abused his daughter when she was younger. Liane has another breakdown, and further developments convince Christine that she has been set up by sinister plotting on Dane's part. Everything gets resolved in sudden and at times puzzling bursts of melodrama, along with a few red herrings and an ambiguous ending. And just what does that title mean? A solid supporting cast includes Athene Seyler as the tweedy, mysterious aunt who interviews Christine; Kieron Moore as the sexily insinuating Irish stable-boy at the Dane home; J. G. Devlin as the canny village coroner; Miriam Karlin as one of Christine's fellow prisoners; Peter Sallis as an unscrupulous doctor; and Richard Wattis as a sleazy lawyer. Appearing early on as a suspicious nurse is Brenda de Banzie, a familiar face from Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 The Man Who Knew Too Much among many other films. The film has strong technical elements including confident direction by Stevens, a TV veteran especially known for episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone; and imaginative camerawork by English cinematographer Harry Waxman. The celebrated stage designer Sean Kenny, who rarely did film work, handled the art direction. Ron Goodwin contributed the lush musical score, which reportedly replaced an earlier effort by Gail Kubik. Most of the film was shot at MGM's studios at Borehamwood, England, with some location shooting in Liverpool and Ireland. The final scenes were filmed in the Irish fishing village of Crookhaven (pop. 38) in West Cork, Ireland. Some local villagers appeared on-camera. Despite its technical sheen, I Thank a Fool was not well-received by critics, with some feeling that Hayward's role was too subdued for her colorful personality and others complaining that she and Finch shared little onscreen chemistry. Cilento drew criticism for an erratic Irish accent, although Cusack and Devlin won praise for their character turns. After the movie's initial engagements MGM recorded a loss of $1,207,000. According to Hayward biographer Beverly Linet, the star and her director were "at odds" from the beginning of the project. Hayward feigned indifference to the movie's poor reception, claiming that "I don't like critics very much. I have much more respect for my own opinion." But she was sufficiently discouraged by reaction to I Thank a Fool to take a year off before beginning work on her next project, Stolen Hours (1963).
I Thank A Fool

I Thank a Fool

In 1941 two young actresses on the brink of major Hollywood stardom, Ingrid Bergman and Susan Hayward, appeared together in the film melodrama Adam Had Four Sons. They got along well, and Hayward was very admiring of the more advanced Bergman, later saying, "She was wonderful to me." She noted that "Some actors and actresses are like blank walls, so unresponsive you can't do your best. Ingrid is just the opposite - she worked as hard for my close-ups as her own." Hayward would later name Bergman as her favorite actress. In 1957 another melodrama - I Thank a Fool, based on the novel by Audrey Erskine Lindop - was announced for production by MGM, with Sol C. Siegel as producer, Peter Greenville as director and Bergman as star. When Bergman withdrew from the project, Hayward eventually was named as her replacement. Hayward was quoted as saying at the time, "If it was good enough for Ingrid Bergman, it's good enough for me!" The movie, now produced by Anatole de Grunwald and directed by Robert Stevens, was filmed by MGM's British studios and released in 1962. Karl Tunberg, whose best-known screenplay credit was the 1959 Ben-Hur, adapted Lindop's book and took several liberties with its structure. There were reports that further changes were made to placate Hayward, who did not approve of euthanasia, an important plot element. Hayward plays Dr. Christine Allison, a Canadian physician living in Liverpool who takes the life of her married lover in a mercy killing and is sentenced to two years in prison for manslaughter. Upon her release, with her license to practice medicine revoked, Christine has difficulty finding work until receiving an offer from an unexpected source - Stephen Dane (Peter Finch), the barrister who mercilessly prosecuted her and sent her to jail. Dane has an attractive but mentally disturbed young wife, Liane (Diane Cilento), who needs supervision and nursing care at their English estate. Suspicious of Dane's motives but desperate to earn a living, Christine accepts the position and becomes fond of Liane, whom she suspects to be schizophrenic. She has been told by Dane that Liane's mental breakdown was caused by her father's death in an automobile accident. To her astonishment, that father, Captain Ferris (Cyril Cusack), shows up very much alive at the Dane home one day while the couple are out. Christine pleads with him to stay and see his daughter, but he mysteriously refuses. Upon Liane's return, Christine tells her that her father is alive and living in her childhood home in Caragh, a small village in Ireland. She persuades Liane to travel there, and the two find Ferris living a dissolute life, drinking heavily and womanizing. Hints are dropped that he may have sexually abused his daughter when she was younger. Liane has another breakdown, and further developments convince Christine that she has been set up by sinister plotting on Dane's part. Everything gets resolved in sudden and at times puzzling bursts of melodrama, along with a few red herrings and an ambiguous ending. And just what does that title mean? A solid supporting cast includes Athene Seyler as the tweedy, mysterious aunt who interviews Christine; Kieron Moore as the sexily insinuating Irish stable-boy at the Dane home; J. G. Devlin as the canny village coroner; Miriam Karlin as one of Christine's fellow prisoners; Peter Sallis as an unscrupulous doctor; and Richard Wattis as a sleazy lawyer. Appearing early on as a suspicious nurse is Brenda de Banzie, a familiar face from Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 The Man Who Knew Too Much among many other films. The film has strong technical elements including confident direction by Stevens, a TV veteran especially known for episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone; and imaginative camerawork by English cinematographer Harry Waxman. The celebrated stage designer Sean Kenny, who rarely did film work, handled the art direction. Ron Goodwin contributed the lush musical score, which reportedly replaced an earlier effort by Gail Kubik. Most of the film was shot at MGM's studios at Borehamwood, England, with some location shooting in Liverpool and Ireland. The final scenes were filmed in the Irish fishing village of Crookhaven (pop. 38) in West Cork, Ireland. Some local villagers appeared on-camera. Despite its technical sheen, I Thank a Fool was not well-received by critics, with some feeling that Hayward's role was too subdued for her colorful personality and others complaining that she and Finch shared little onscreen chemistry. Cilento drew criticism for an erratic Irish accent, although Cusack and Devlin won praise for their character turns. After the movie's initial engagements MGM recorded a loss of $1,207,000. According to Hayward biographer Beverly Linet, the star and her director were "at odds" from the beginning of the project. Hayward feigned indifference to the movie's poor reception, claiming that "I don't like critics very much. I have much more respect for my own opinion." But she was sufficiently discouraged by reaction to I Thank a Fool to take a year off before beginning work on her next project, Stolen Hours (1963).

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Liverpool and Crookhaven, Ireland. Opened in London in July 1962.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1962

CinemaScope

Released in United States 1962