Forever Female


1h 33m 1954

Brief Synopsis

An aspiring playwright gets an opportunity to see his play produced but is forced to make significant changes in the script so that the producer can cast his middle-aged ex-wife in the ingenue leading role.

Film Details

Also Known As
Rosalind
Release Date
Jan 1954
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Jan 1954; Los Angeles opening: 27 Jan 1954
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Suggested by the play Rosalind by James M. Barrie (London, 14 Oct 1912).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

On opening night, at Sardi's Restaurant, Broadway producer E. Harry Phillips and his wife, renowned stage actress Beatrice Page, await the verdict on their latest production and are disappointed when the critics praise Beatrice's performance, but blast the play. Harry and Beatrice, who are divorced but still spend most of their time together, then are accosted by talent agent Eddie Woods and his new client, playwright Stanley Krown. Although Eddie wants to interest Harry in the dour Stanley, Stanley feels compelled to lecture Beatrice on her lack of professional humility. Before heading for his night job at Washington Market, Stanley leaves his play, Unhappy Holiday , on Harry's table, and Harry takes it with him. Harry spends the night reading the play at Beatrice's luxury apartment, and the next morning, Stanley shows up to retrieve the manuscript. Harry admits to Stanley that he liked the play, whose story revolves around a nineteen-year-old pianist and her controlling, fiftyish mother, but laments that he cannot use it, as it has no part for Beatrice. When Beatrice, who is middle-aged but claims to be twenty-nine, asks whether the nineteen year old could be rewritten as twenty-nine, Stanley balks. Eventually, however, Harry and Beatrice persuade Stanley that the change will work, and Harry begins casting for the mother. The audition does not go well, and as Harry and Stanley are leaving the theater, young Sally Carver comes bounding in, eager to read for the role of the daughter. When Harry informs Sally that Beatrice is playing the daughter as a twenty-nine year old, Sally bursts out laughing and, despite her lack of acting experience, insists on reading the part. Harry and Stanley abandon Sally in mid-scene, but two weeks later, at Sardi's, Sally, now calling herself Polly Pruitt, sits down at Stanley's table and orders some food. After explaining that she read Unhappy Holiday while working at Stanley's typing agency, Sally shows him a photograph in a decades-old theater magazine, insisting it is a young Beatrice. Pointing out that the name next to the photograph is not Beatrice, Stanley dismisses Sally's insinuation but invites her to his apartment. Although she assumes that Stanley intends to seduce her, Sally goes and is dismayed when he informs her that she is typing his rewrites as payment for her Sardi's meal. While typing, Sally comments that the play is now unintentionally funny and begs Stanley to change the daughter's age back to nineteen, but Stanley refuses. Beatrice, who is romancing Stanley, then shows up at his door and offers him a ride to work, as it is raining. Beatrice is immediately jealous of Sally, and when Sally claims to love rain and insists on walking in it, Beatrice follows suit and drags Stanley with her. Over the next few weeks, Stanley and Beatrice's romance blossoms, and one night at Sardi's, Sally commiserates with Harry, admitting that she loves Stanley as much as Harry loves Beatrice. Just then, Eddie races up and informs Sally that he has a great part for her in a touring show, and Sally is ecstatic. Later, Beatrice finds Harry at the airport, waiting to board a plane to Hollywood, where he hopes to find an actress to play the mother, and insists on taking items out of his suitcase so he can get his overloaded bag passed the ticket agent. While fussing over him, Beatrice warns Harry that Stanley is unlike her previous, short-lived boyfriends and confesses that she arranged for Eddie to offer Sally the out-of-town show. Weeks later, Sally, now calling herself Claudia Souvain, watches a run-through of Unhappy Holiday and informs Stanley that Beatrice has ruined his play. Although Sally, who quit the touring show to return to Stanley, declares her love, Stanley refuses to listen and kicks her out. The play opens in Washington, D.C. and is an immediate flop. While offering her condolences on the banks of the Potomac River, Beatrice encourages Stanley to keep rewriting and proposes marriage. After Stanley and Beatrice announce their engagement at a party, Harry and Beatrice fight about Harry's overdue alimony payments and part angrily. Beatrice then takes off on her annual European vacation, and during her absence, Stanley learns that Unhappy Holiday is being performed in Maine. Harry and Stanley drive up to see the production and discover that Sally, under her real name, Clara Mootz, is playing the daughter. The production is a hit, and Harry concedes that the play is better with a younger lead. Stanley then discovers that Sally has matured into a self-assured woman and is confused by his feelings for her. Sensing Stanley's ambivalence, Harry talks him into driving to Beatrice's mother's house near Boston, which turns out to be Beatrice's secret retreat. Confronted by Stanley, the plainly attired Beatrice reveals that she sneaks away every summer so she can relax and be "her age." After Beatrice admits that she is too old for Stanley and his play, Harry advises Stanley to drive back to Maine, while he comforts Beatrice. Harry then convinces Beatrice that the mother would be the perfect role for her, and excited, the two rush to catch the next train to New York. With Sally and Beatrice in the leads, the play opens on Broadway to rave reviews, and while Sally and Stanley bask in post-show glory at Sardi's, Beatrice and Harry look forward to remarrying.

Film Details

Also Known As
Rosalind
Release Date
Jan 1954
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Jan 1954; Los Angeles opening: 27 Jan 1954
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Suggested by the play Rosalind by James M. Barrie (London, 14 Oct 1912).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Rosalind. Forever Female marked the only film in which Marion Ross was billed onscreen as "Marian." Voice-over narration, spoken by Paul Douglas as his character "Harry Phillips," is heard at the beginning and end of the picture. In a December 1951 ParNews item, Paramount announced that Audrey Hepburn would be making her American screen debut in the film, but her first American film was the 1953 Paramount release Roman Holiday .
       Pat Crowley made her screen debut in the picture. In addition to her opening onscreen credit, Crowley's photograph was included at the end of the film, captioned with the words: "Pat Crowley, a future Paramount star." Although a May 1952 ParNews item stated that Burton Lane and Leo Robin would be writing a song entitled "Rosalind" for the film, no songs were used in the final film. Hollywood Reporter news items add Ronald Harnack, Jo Ann Gilbert, Suzanne Ridgeway and Philo McCullough to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       In late November 1953, Forever Female became the first feature film to have its premiere on television. According to a November 1953 Los Angeles Times item, the picture was shown in Palm Springs, CA, on Telemeters, televisions with attached coin boxes. Patrons paid $1.35 to view the film on seventy-one Telemeters, which were set up in various locations, including private homes. Barney Balaban, president of Paramount Pictures, was the main backer of the "pay-as-you-go" system.
       On April 19, 1955, Ginger Rogers reprised her role for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring with Bill Conrad and Paul Richards. Anita Louise, Fred Clark and Anne Bancroft starred in a television adaptation, which aired on NBC's Lux Video Theatre on June 23, 1955.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video February 24, 1993

Released in United States Summer June 1953

Released in United States on Video February 24, 1993

Released in United States Summer June 1953