The Blue Veil


1h 53m 1951

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1951
Premiere Information
World premiere in Los Angeles: 5 Sep 1951; New York opening: 26 Oct 1951
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.; Wald-Krasna Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Pasadena--All Saint's Episcopal Church, California, United States; San Marino, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the French film Le voile bleu , written by Fran├žois Campaux (Compaignie Generale Cinematographique, 1942).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,241ft

Synopsis

In a New York City hospital, just after World War I, Louise "LouLou" Mason learns that her newborn son has died suddenly. Later, LouLou, a war widow, seeks help from an employment agency and reluctantly accepts a temporary job as a nursemaid. Her new boss, corset manufacturer Frederick K. Begley, who lost his wife in childbirth, admits to LouLou that he has found it difficult to love his infant son, Fred, Jr. LouLou quickly ingratiates herself with the Begleys and stays on well past the agreed-upon two-week period. Eventually, the lonely Fred proposes to LouLou, but she gently turns him down, stating that her first duty is to his son. Fred then marries Alicia Torgersen, his secretary, and after their honeymoon, Alicia lets LouLou go. Some time later, LouLou is asked by her new employers, the wealthy Henry and Fleur Palfrey, to meet their eldest son Harrison and his tutor, Jerry Kean, at the train station. Jerry soon tames Harrison, who has been sent home from boarding school because of poor grades and unruly behavior, and impresses LouLou. One day, Jerry learns that he has been offered a job in Beirut and, after attending a farewell party with LouLou in New Haven, impulsively proposes. LouLou accepts and rushes back to the Palfreys to pack and say goodbye to Harrison's young brother Robbie. While waiting for LouLou, Jerry speaks with Fleur, who warns him about marrying in haste. Although Jerry insists he loves LouLou deeply, Fleur plants seeds of doubt in his mind, and on the train to Washington, D.C., Jerry begins to question the wisdom of his decision. Guilt-ridden about leaving Robbie, LouLou gives in to her own apprehensions, and after the two agree to wait a few months, she returns to the Palfreys. Years later, LouLou is nursemaid to Stephanie Rawlins, the twelve-year-old daughter of aging entertainer Annie Rawlins. On the eve of Stephanie's confirmation, Annie learns that she has been replaced in her current show by a younger actress, but has a chance to tour in another play. Although Annie promises Stephanie that she will be done with her audition before the confirmation, she is delayed. Annie is cast, but misses the ceremony, and outside the church, a disappointed Stephanie tells her friends that LouLou is her mother. That afternoon LouLou sadly informs Annie that she is quitting because Stephanie has become too attached to her. Heeding LouLou's advice to spend more time with her daughter, Annie turns down the role, but Stephanie is heartbroken over LouLou's departure. Some years later, on the eve of World War II, LouLou accepts a job caring for the infant of a young couple, Helen and Hugh Williams. An unenthusiastic parent, Helen panics at the thought of the English Hugh joining the military, and when he later is injured in battle, she heads for England, leaving her son Tony in LouLou's care. After two years, Helen, now a widow, still has not returned and has stopped sending money to LouLou. Despite the financial hardship, LouLou continues to care for Tony. Years pass without word from Helen, and LouLou and Tony bond as mother and son. One day, however, LouLou receives a letter from Helen, informing her that she has remarried and is returning to New York to reclaim Tony. Not wanting to give up Tony, LouLou flees to Florida with him, but is soon apprehended. Faced with kidnapping charges, LouLou defends her actions to the district attorney. Though highly critical of Helen and her new husband, the district attorney is compelled by law to return Tony to his natural mother. LouLou's sorrow is then compounded when she learns that her oldest friend, the Scottish Frank Hutchins, who had just proposed to her, has died. When the now elderly, impoverished LouLou returns to the employment agency, she is told that she is too old to be a nanny but takes a janitorial job in an elementary school to be near children. Troubled by poor eyesight, LouLou visits an ophthalmologist, who turns out to be the now-grown Robbie Palfrey. After LouLou proudly shows Robbie photographs of all her "children," Robbie invites her for dinner the following week. To LouLou's surprise and delight, Robbie has also invited her former charges and their spouses. As LouLou reacquaints herself, Robbie introduces her to his two small children and tells her that she will be their new nanny.

Cast

Jane Wyman

Louise "LouLou" Mason

Charles Laughton

Frederick K. Begley

Joan Blondell

Annie Rawlins

Richard Carlson

Jerry Kean

Agnes Moorehead

Fleur Palfrey

Don Taylor

Dr. Robbie Palfrey

Audrey Totter

Helen Williams Hall

Cyril Cusack

Frank Hutchins

Everett Sloane

District Attorney

Natalie Wood

Stephanie Rawlins

Warner Anderson

Bill Ashworth

Alan Napier

Professor George Carter

Henry Morgan

Charles Hall

Vivian Vance

Alicia Torgersen Begley

Les Tremayne

Joplin

John Ridgely

Doctor

Dan O'herlihy

Hugh Williams

Carleton G. Young

Henry Palfrey

Dan Seymour

Pelt

Lisa Golm

Elsa

Frank Gerstle

Doctor

Edith Leslie

Gussie

Sylvia Simms

Miss Quimby

Joy Hallward

Miss Golub

Genevieve Bell

Head nurse

Gregory Marshall

Harrison Palfrey

Gary Jackson

Robbie Palfrey, as a boy

James Anderson

Jim Tappan

Lovyss Bradley

Beverly

Frank O'connor

Train conductor

Muriel Maddox

Mrs. Tappan

Lillian Albertson

Mrs. Lipscott

Jimmy Hunt

Boy in toy shop

Jim Hawkins

Tommy

Sammy Shack

Taxi driver

Kathryn Sheldon

Mrs. Chalmers

Mira Mckinney

Customer

James Griffith

Gruber

Jack Chefe

Cousin

Lewis Martin

Archbishop

Dee Pollack

Tony Williams

Roberta Lee

Actress

Athalie Daniell

Sue

Ruth Packard

Sue's mother

Jo Gilbert

Miss Dunlop

Pat Joiner

Phyllis

Mack Williams

Detective

Richard Reeves

Detective

Miles Shepard

Guard

Irene Vernon

Stephanie, as an adult

Karen Norris

Jane Palfrey

Bob Nichols

Fred Begley, Jr.

Richard Norris

Denis

Jane Liddell

Denis' wife

Ann Moore

Sarah

Harry Strang

Traffic policeman

Torben Meyer

Photographer

Hazel Keener

Nurse

Kenneth Harmon

LouLou's baby

Kristine Harmon

LouLou's baby

Charles Anthony

Fred Begley, Jr., as a baby

Patrick Michael Mcdonald

Fred Begley, Jr., as a baby

Jean Blackford

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1951
Premiere Information
World premiere in Los Angeles: 5 Sep 1951; New York opening: 26 Oct 1951
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.; Wald-Krasna Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Pasadena--All Saint's Episcopal Church, California, United States; San Marino, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the French film Le voile bleu , written by Fran├žois Campaux (Compaignie Generale Cinematographique, 1942).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,241ft

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1951
Jane Wyman

Best Supporting Actress

1951
Joan Blondell

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film opens with the following written quotation: "'Who raises a child of his own flesh lives with nature; who raises a child of another's lives with God.' Meritas." No information about the source of this quotation has been found. The term "blue veil" refers to a traditional ornament worn by governesses. The Blue Veil was a remake of the 1942 French film Le voile bleu, which was directed by Jean Stelli and starred Gaby Morlay. Le voile bleu was released in the U.S. in late 1947 under the title The Blue Veil.
       Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts, and studio publicity material, contained in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, add the following information about the production: In November 1950, RKO announced that it was planning to produce the picture in France, but ultimately shot the film in Hollywood. English actor Robert Newton was announced as one of the film's stars in late March 1951, but he did not appear in the completed picture. Martha Scott, who had starred in a handful of films in the 1940s before focusing on a New York stage career, also was to appear. Katharine Locke is listed as a cast member in early production charts, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Jane Wyman from Warner Bros. for the production. The film's confirmation scene was shot at the All Saint's Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA, and featured the church's Youth Choir. Although publicity material states that the church's rector, Dr. John F. Scott, appeared as himself, the CBCS lists Lewis Martin as the "archbishop," the film's only church official role. Scott's appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       The San Marino, CA, estate of Mrs. E. B. Holladay, the sister of railroad magnate Henry Huntington, was used for the "Palfrey" home. Wyman and Joan Blondell received Academy Award nominations for their performances. The Blue Veil marked the feature film debut of popular radio actor Les Tremayne (1913-2003). In addition to continued work on radio, Tremayne acted in dozens of films and television programs for several decades, appearing both onscreen and as an offscreen narrator. According to modern sources, the picture made $450,000 in profits. On November 24, 1952, Wyman reprised her role in a Lux Radio Theatre version of the story. In the radio broadcast, Gloria Blondell, Joan Blondell's sister, played "Annie," the role portrayed by Joan in the film.