Hilda Crane


1h 27m 1956

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Reno--University of Nevada, Nevada, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Hilda Crane by Samson Raphaelson as presented by Arthur Schwartz (New York, 1 Nov 1950).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
7,858ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

Twice divorced Hilda Crane returns home to the small college town of Winona after a five-year absence. Hilda is met by her disapproving mother Stella, who believes in leading a "well ordained existence grounded in a solid family life" as opposed to her daughter's credo of living a fiercely independent life "like a man." Having spent the last five years in New York, Hilda has failed to find fulfillment, and so has decided to stay in Winona for a while. When Hilda receives a letter of proposal from her erstwhile suitor, Russell Burns, now a successful builder, Mrs. Crane encourages the match. Soon after, Russell's brusque, overly possessive mother visits the Cranes to rudely interrogate Hilda about her intentions. Flustered by the incident, Hilda agrees to have dinner with Jacques De Lisle, her former professor and flame. After dinner, Jacques voices his anger at Hilda for leaving him for a football player five years earlier. When Jacques roughly embraces Hilda, she declares that she wants marriage, not sex, and when he demurs, she slaps him and runs away to phone Russell and accept his proposal. Even though Hilda maintains that she feels no love for Russell, Mrs. Crane is thrilled by the alliance. At the wedding rehearsal, Mrs. Burns snubs Hilda, prompting Hilda's friend, Nell Bromley, to warn Hilda that her future mother-in-law's alleged heart condition is just a ruse to hold on to her son. After the rehearsal, Mrs. Burns informs Hilda that she has had her investigated, and threatens to expose her sordid past to Russell. Soon after, Jacques, who has gone to New York to find success as a novelist, returns to Winona and proposes to Hilda. Uncertain about her decision to marry Russell, Hilda directs her frustration at Jacques. After Mrs. Crane informs Russell of Hilda's doubts, Russell shows Hilda the house he is building for them and then declares that he knows all about her past and that for him, it never happened. On the day of the wedding, Mrs. Burns comes to the Crane house and offers Hilda $50,000 to leave town. After Hilda refuses, Mrs. Burns calls her a tramp and then claims that she is having a heart attack. Believing that she is bluffing, Hilda and Mrs. Crane leave her gasping in a chair while they go to the church. After the ceremony, they learn that Mrs. Burns has indeed suffered a heart attack and lies dying in the hospital. With Mrs. Burns's death, the newlyweds cancel their honeymoon and abandon plans for the new house. Hilda, blaming herself, begins to drink heavily, and five months later, she and Russell are still living in his mother's house with a portrait of Mrs. Burns looming over them. Russell, who has become aloof and uncommunicative, blames himself for his mother's death. When Russell leaves Hilda to go to Denver on business, Hilda attends a lecture featuring Jacques, who has come to town to promote his new book. After the lecture, Hilda invites Jacques, Nell and her husband Dink back to the house, but when Dink and Nell are called away to a business dinner, Hilda finds herself alone with the lascivious Jacques. Hilda agrees to accompany Jacques to his room at the inn, and when Russell returns home, he learns that his wife is with Jacques. Just as Jacques characterizes Hilda as a courtesan, Russell appears at the door and slugs him. Hilda then hurries home, where her mother chastises her for her disreputable behavior. As her mother continues to reproach her, Hilda steps into the bathroom and swallows a bottle of sleeping pills. Finding Hilda unconscious, Russell summons Dr. Francis and paces throughout the night as the doctor struggles to save her life. The next morning, after announcing that Hilda will survive, the doctor wonders who made her want to die. After Dr. Francis leaves, Russell accuses Mrs. Crane of withholding her love from Hilda, thus driving her to seek desperate measures. He then concedes that he failed her, too. Some time later, Hilda, now recovered, is preparing to move back to New York when she notices that Mrs. Burns's portrait is missing. At their still unfinished house, Hilda finds Russell supervising a construction crew. When Russell tells her the house will be ready in three months, after they return from their honeymoon, they embrace.

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Reno--University of Nevada, Nevada, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Hilda Crane by Samson Raphaelson as presented by Arthur Schwartz (New York, 1 Nov 1950).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
7,858ft (10 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a July 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, Charles K. Feldman initially purchased the rights to Samson Rafaelson's play, which he planned to produce under the Charles Feldman Group Productions banner. Feldman hired Roy Huggins to adapt the play and Jules Schermer to produce. In September 1955, Feldman sold the rights to Twentieth Century-Fox, according to a September 1955 ^Var news item. In November 1955, Susan Hayward was announced to play the role of "Hilda Crane," according to a November 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item. Hilda Crane was Herbert B. Swope Jr.'s first assignment at Fox and first film as a motion picture producer. Previously, Swope had been a successful producer-director of television programs, according to an October 1955 Los Angeles Examiner news item. The film's onscreen credits note that the campus sequences were filmed on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.