The Tunnel of Love


1h 38m 1958
The Tunnel of Love

Brief Synopsis

A married couple endures endless red tape when they try to adopt a child.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Release Date
Nov 1958
Premiere Information
World premiere in Chicago: 7 Nov 1958
Production Company
Arwin Productions, Inc.; Fields Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Connecticut, USA
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Tunnel of Love by Joseph Fields and Peter DeVries, performed on stage by The Theatre Guild (New York, 13 Feb 1957) and the novel The Tunnel of Love by Peter DeVries and Jerome Chodorov (Boston, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
8,832ft (11 reels)

Synopsis

In Westport, Connecticut, Augie and Isolde Poole celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary by turning in an application to the Rock-a-Bye adoption agency. Encouraged by their friends and next-door neighbors, Dick and Alice Pepper, who have three children and another due, Isolde, who has been unsuccessful in her attempts to become pregnant, is determined that she and Augie will eventually be parents. While awaiting news of the application to the agency, Isolde decides that she and Augie should continue to try to have a baby on their own, and she enthusiastically follows all the latest advice by pregnancy experts. Although exhausted by Isolde's resolve, Augie worries about having a child while they are living off Isolde's family money as he struggles to make a success as a serious cartoonist. Dick, editor of The Townsman magazine, assures Augie that his publication would gladly hire Augie to write gags, but Isolde insists that Augie hold out for a more important offer. Dick criticizes Augie for being too serious, compared to his own lighthearted manner, which, to Augie's dismay, includes perpetual infidelity. One afternoon some weeks after their application, Estelle Novick, a striking young representative from Rock-a-Bye, visits the Pooles' neighborhood. Having learned of Estelle's presence from other neighbors, Alice takes Isolde home to dress her properly for the interview. When Estelle comes to the Pooles' house, Augie is unaware of her identity and, believing she works for a local charity, drinks two cocktails and behaves casually. When Dick comes over and makes a pass at Estelle, however, she is outraged and reveals her identity. Reminding the men that Dick is the Pooles' reference, Estelle waves aside their abject apologies and insists that she must report her findings to the agency. When Estelle departs as soon as Isolde returns, Isolde is hurt and angry at Augie and goes home with Alice. Dick tries to comfort Augie by suggesting that Augie might relax if he had an affair, but when Augie scoffs, Dick offers him tranquilizers and leaves. Moments later, Estelle returns to the Pooles', apologizes for her severe behavior and accepts the cocktail Augie offered her earlier. Considering Dick's advice and dispirited by Isolde's anger, Augie is emboldened to ask Estelle to dinner. While driving into town, however, Augie panics and takes one of Dick's tranquilizers. Later, when Augie becomes drowsy, Estelle drives him to a motel and checks him into a room to let him sleep off the pill's effect. The next morning, Augie is mortified to find himself in the motel and, finding a note from Estelle thanking him for his kindness, believes he has been unfaithful to Isolde. Three months later, Isolde is disheartened to have heard nothing from Rock-a-Bye or any of the other adoption agencies. Augie visits Dick and confesses the incident with Estelle, from whom he has just received a call informing him that she is pregnant and leaving the area for her confinement. Fearful that she will demand money, Augie pleads with Dick to hire him at the magazine, then give him a thousand dollar advance. Later that day, Estelle drops by to visit the Pooles to advise them that she believes in a few months they may at last get their baby. Isolde is delighted by the news and Augie weakly announces his new job with Dick's magazine. Alone with Estelle later, Augie presses the money on her, then demands an explanation. Estelle promises to repay the loan, then explains that she owes the Pooles for all of Augie's assistance to her. A few months later, Dick and Alice throw Augie and Isolde a party in anticipation of the arrival of the new baby. While dancing with Dick, Isolde confides that she has found a mysterious thousand dollar imbalance in the Pooles' finances. Realizing this must be the money Augie has given Estelle, Dick invents a story of losing an investment on the stock market and Augie giving him a loan. Surprised but pleased, Isolde asks for the money to be repaid for preparations for the baby. That night, Isolde tells Augie about the bank imbalance and, panicked, Augie hastily admits that he borrowed money from Dick several times and paid it back in full once he was employed. Certain that Augie is covering for Dick, the next day Isolde tells Alice, who promises to repay the money. Some weeks later, Miss MacCracken from Rock-a-Bye telephones to schedule a visit. Unnerved, Augie wonders if he should confess everything to Isolde. Miss MacCracken arrives and informs Isolde and Augie that a baby has just been born and they have been moved to the top of the agency's list. Thrilled, Augie and Isolde welcome the infant baby boy to their home days later, and soon everyone notices the baby's similarity to Augie. Weeks afterward, as the physical similarity grows, Isolde becomes suspicious. When Isolde has Augie's baby picture blown up and Alice mistakes it for the baby, Isolde furiously accuses Augie of infidelity and declares she is leaving him. As Isolde is packing, Miss MacCracken returns to make an inspection of the couples' first month with the baby. Realizing that the couple is breaking up, she declares she must make a report to the agency, but Augie pleads for a week and Miss MacCracken agrees. Desperate to stop Isolde from leaving, Augie then confesses the incident with Estelle. Just then, however, Estelle arrives to congratulate the Pooles and repay Augie the loan. She explains the money made it possible for her husband to continue his research in Australia while she had her baby girl. With her husband's success at publishing a book on his work, she and the baby will join him in Australia. After showing the Pooles a picture of her baby girl and admiring how well the agency did placing the Pooles with their baby, Estelle departs. Isolde apologizes to Augie for her suspicions, then admits to feeling unusual. The Pooles then realize that Isolde is pregnant and retire to the house to celebrate.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Release Date
Nov 1958
Premiere Information
World premiere in Chicago: 7 Nov 1958
Production Company
Arwin Productions, Inc.; Fields Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Connecticut, USA
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Tunnel of Love by Joseph Fields and Peter DeVries, performed on stage by The Theatre Guild (New York, 13 Feb 1957) and the novel The Tunnel of Love by Peter DeVries and Jerome Chodorov (Boston, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
8,832ft (11 reels)

Articles

The Tunnel of Love


At first glance The Tunnel of Love (1958) might seem like a departure for perpetually perky Doris Day. The sometimes dark comedy, based on a play by Joseph Fields and Peter De Vries, isn't exactly a song-filled romance. Instead, the movie, which Variety called racy and risque, touches on serious subjects like infertility and adoption. Day plays Isolde Poole, a dedicated housewife and the neighborhood's Brownie troop leader. But something is missing in her life. Isolde wants to have a child with her husband Augie (Richard Widmark) and their attempts haven't been successful.

Enter the Rock-A-Bye Adoption Agency. And a big misunderstanding that involves a pretty Rock-A-Bye employee, a wild night on the town for Augie, and a baby that looks suspiciously like its adopted father. Isolde eventually learns of her husband's apparent philandering, but for the most part, she's oblivious to the problems surrounding her. So, even though The Tunnel of Love occasionally raises serious marital issues, Day's screen character remains the optimistic innocent with lines like "we're happily married and we're gonna stay that way forever." She even works in a song or two including the title tune and Run Away, Skidaddle Skidoo.

At the end of The Tunnel of Love, everything is happily resolved. Unlike the play, which leaves the baby's paternity in question, Hollywood chose to tidy things up and create a more likable husband for Isolde. Though not a popular success, The Tunnel of Love did earn Doris Day a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. And it allowed another big star - Gene Kelly - a chance to escape his stereotyped image as a song-and-dance man and try his hand behind the camera. The Tunnel of Love is notable as the first directorial effort from Kelly in which he didn't also star.

By the late fifties, the accomplished actor/singer/dancer/choreographer had pretty much done it all in Hollywood. He'd starred in what would arguably be considered the greatest musicals of all time, Singin' in the Rain (1952) and An American in Paris (1951). He'd received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for Anchors Aweigh (1945). And he had begun co-directing (with Stanley Donen) some of his own movies starting with On the Town (1949). Kelly and Donen would successfully team up again to direct Singin' in the Rain and It's Always Fair Weather (1955). But Kelly's first solo outing as director proved less than promising. The film, Invitation to the Dance (1956), was essentially an experimental dance film with no dialogue. Filmed in Europe in 1952, the movie won Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival, but it was shelved by MGM as unwatchable and not released until four years later. His next directing job, The Happy Road (1957), which was also shot in Europe, was a more successful if modest effort.

Kelly's pinnacle years at MGM came to a close with The Tunnel of Love, which was the final film in his contract. He had been looking for more opportunities to direct and new MGM chief (and Kelly fan) Benny Thau needed someone to tackle The Tunnel of Love, so it was a beneficial collaboration for both of them. But there were conditions. Thau stipulated that Kelly had to make the movie in black & white, using only one primary set, shoot it in just three weeks and for a cost of less than $500,000.

Kelly succeeded, bringing The Tunnel of Love in on time and within the budget. Yet, it didn't perform well at the box office, for reasons which Kelly later revealed in The Films of Gene Kelly: Song and Dance Man: "This is no criticism of Richard Widmark, who is one of the finest film actors we have and who actually started his stage career playing light comedic parts. It's simply that the public fixes an impression of an actor, they accept him in a certain guise and they don't like him to stray too far from it. Widmark had established himself in serious material and they weren't prepared to accept him in this light, sexy part. The public creates type-casting, not the actors - unfortunately." Kelly would go on to direct several other features after The Tunnel of Love, most notably Hello, Dolly! (1969) starring Barbra Streisand, which would win Kelly the New York Film Critic's Award for Director and be nominated for Best Picture by the Academy.

One final note on The Tunnel of Love. The film's cast of Richard Widmark, Doris Day and Gig Young had been played on stage by Darren McGavin, Nancy Olson and Tom Ewell. But for a brief period, Ewell's part (the Gig Young movie role) of the ladies' man next door was actually played by late night talk show host, Johnny Carson.

Producer: Martin Melcher, Joseph Fields
Director: Gene Kelly
Screenplay: Joseph Fields, Peter De Vries
Art Direction: Randall Duell, William Horning
Cinematography: Robert J. Bronner
Editing: John McSweeney, Jr.
Music: Ruth Roberts
Cast: Doris Day (Isolde Poole), Richard Widmark (Augie Poole), Gig Young (Dick Pepper), Gia Scala (Estelle Novick), Elisabeth Fraser (Alice Pepper).
BW-99m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Stephanie Thames
The Tunnel Of Love

The Tunnel of Love

At first glance The Tunnel of Love (1958) might seem like a departure for perpetually perky Doris Day. The sometimes dark comedy, based on a play by Joseph Fields and Peter De Vries, isn't exactly a song-filled romance. Instead, the movie, which Variety called racy and risque, touches on serious subjects like infertility and adoption. Day plays Isolde Poole, a dedicated housewife and the neighborhood's Brownie troop leader. But something is missing in her life. Isolde wants to have a child with her husband Augie (Richard Widmark) and their attempts haven't been successful. Enter the Rock-A-Bye Adoption Agency. And a big misunderstanding that involves a pretty Rock-A-Bye employee, a wild night on the town for Augie, and a baby that looks suspiciously like its adopted father. Isolde eventually learns of her husband's apparent philandering, but for the most part, she's oblivious to the problems surrounding her. So, even though The Tunnel of Love occasionally raises serious marital issues, Day's screen character remains the optimistic innocent with lines like "we're happily married and we're gonna stay that way forever." She even works in a song or two including the title tune and Run Away, Skidaddle Skidoo. At the end of The Tunnel of Love, everything is happily resolved. Unlike the play, which leaves the baby's paternity in question, Hollywood chose to tidy things up and create a more likable husband for Isolde. Though not a popular success, The Tunnel of Love did earn Doris Day a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. And it allowed another big star - Gene Kelly - a chance to escape his stereotyped image as a song-and-dance man and try his hand behind the camera. The Tunnel of Love is notable as the first directorial effort from Kelly in which he didn't also star. By the late fifties, the accomplished actor/singer/dancer/choreographer had pretty much done it all in Hollywood. He'd starred in what would arguably be considered the greatest musicals of all time, Singin' in the Rain (1952) and An American in Paris (1951). He'd received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for Anchors Aweigh (1945). And he had begun co-directing (with Stanley Donen) some of his own movies starting with On the Town (1949). Kelly and Donen would successfully team up again to direct Singin' in the Rain and It's Always Fair Weather (1955). But Kelly's first solo outing as director proved less than promising. The film, Invitation to the Dance (1956), was essentially an experimental dance film with no dialogue. Filmed in Europe in 1952, the movie won Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival, but it was shelved by MGM as unwatchable and not released until four years later. His next directing job, The Happy Road (1957), which was also shot in Europe, was a more successful if modest effort. Kelly's pinnacle years at MGM came to a close with The Tunnel of Love, which was the final film in his contract. He had been looking for more opportunities to direct and new MGM chief (and Kelly fan) Benny Thau needed someone to tackle The Tunnel of Love, so it was a beneficial collaboration for both of them. But there were conditions. Thau stipulated that Kelly had to make the movie in black & white, using only one primary set, shoot it in just three weeks and for a cost of less than $500,000. Kelly succeeded, bringing The Tunnel of Love in on time and within the budget. Yet, it didn't perform well at the box office, for reasons which Kelly later revealed in The Films of Gene Kelly: Song and Dance Man: "This is no criticism of Richard Widmark, who is one of the finest film actors we have and who actually started his stage career playing light comedic parts. It's simply that the public fixes an impression of an actor, they accept him in a certain guise and they don't like him to stray too far from it. Widmark had established himself in serious material and they weren't prepared to accept him in this light, sexy part. The public creates type-casting, not the actors - unfortunately." Kelly would go on to direct several other features after The Tunnel of Love, most notably Hello, Dolly! (1969) starring Barbra Streisand, which would win Kelly the New York Film Critic's Award for Director and be nominated for Best Picture by the Academy. One final note on The Tunnel of Love. The film's cast of Richard Widmark, Doris Day and Gig Young had been played on stage by Darren McGavin, Nancy Olson and Tom Ewell. But for a brief period, Ewell's part (the Gig Young movie role) of the ladies' man next door was actually played by late night talk show host, Johnny Carson. Producer: Martin Melcher, Joseph Fields Director: Gene Kelly Screenplay: Joseph Fields, Peter De Vries Art Direction: Randall Duell, William Horning Cinematography: Robert J. Bronner Editing: John McSweeney, Jr. Music: Ruth Roberts Cast: Doris Day (Isolde Poole), Richard Widmark (Augie Poole), Gig Young (Dick Pepper), Gia Scala (Estelle Novick), Elisabeth Fraser (Alice Pepper). BW-99m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Stephanie Thames

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The Tunnel of Love was based on the successful Joseph Fields-Jerome Chodorov play and novel of the same name, although only Fields was credited onscreen. As noted in an Hollywood Reporter news article, blacklisted writer Chodorov's screen credit as a co-author of the original play was reinstated by the WGA in 1998. The Broadway production of the play starred Tom Ewell, Nancy Olson and Darren McGavin. According to the Daily Variety review of the film, the only major change made by Fields in his screenplay adaptation was an explanation that "Augie Poole" is not the father of "Estelle's" child. In the play, Estelle seduces Augie intentionally in order to get pregnant so that she might experience firsthand the plight of unwed mothers, the topic of her PhD thesis, which, as in the film, she reveals she is working on part-time.
       An August 1957 Hollywood Reporter news items indicated that Glenn Ford was set to co-star with popular singer Doris Day in the film, but a November 1957 "Rambling Reporter" item noted that Ford had dropped out of the production because of commitments to two other projects. Day performs the title song, but does not sing within the film. The Tunnel of Love marked the first film directed by Gene Kelly in which he did not appear.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 1958

Released in United States October 1958

b&w

CinemaScope

Released in United States Fall October 1958

Released in United States October 1958