Cast & Crew
Bored with her companions, popular stage star Anna Kalman returns early from Europe to her fashionable London apartment, surprising her housekeeper and chauffeur, Doris and Carl Banks. Anna, who is single and nearing middle-age, confides to her sister, Margaret Munson, that her recent, handsome paramour could not hold a conversation, but Margaret tells her not to expect so much from a man and consoles her that "someone will turn up." She invites Anna to join her and her husband Alfred at a banquet hosted by the Foreign Office, in which Alfred holds an important position. Anna declines, being uninterested in listening to the banquet speaker discuss "hard currency," and continues preparing for a quiet evening by removing her makeup with cold cream. Unknown to Anna, Alfred has invited Philip Adams, an American banker-diplomat from Paris who is to address the banquet, to use the apartment to change his clothes. When Philip arrives, Anna is surprised by the unexpected and handsome guest, and he is equally impressed with her, despite the cold cream on her face. Noting Anna's interest, Margaret asks her where "Mrs. Adams can dress," as a way to determine if Philip is married and Philip says, "There is no Mrs. Adams." Philip convinces Anna to attend the banquet and while the others are changing clothes, Alfred tells Margaret that the Foreign Office is trying to woo Philip to accept a NATO post in Paris. At the end of the evening, while waiting in Anna's apartment for his train back to Paris, Philip tells her that he is ambivalent about the NATO job. Because their mutual attraction seems obvious, Anna invites Philip to the ballet on Saturday, to which he responds that he is married. To clear up the misconception he caused earlier, Philip explains that he meant his wife is not "here tonight" and says that he is separated, but cannot divorce. Having clarified his situation, Philip contends that there are chivalrous "rules" of behavior for men concerning women. At first, Anna is resigned to never see Philip again, but as he is leaving the building, she has the concierge intercept him and again invites him to the ballet. On Saturday, he arrives at her apartment, preceded by dozens of yellow roses he has sent. As they walk to the exclusive Players' Club for dinner, Anna is stopped by fans seeking autographs. At dinner, they are so immersed in their conversation that they are late for the ballet, and then give up their seats to a young couple and return to the club to talk. Reluctant to end the evening, they walk along the Thames, while she tacitly decides whether to continue the relationship. When they reach her apartment, Anna invites Philip up for a drink. In the morning, when Philip phones Anna from his hotel room bed, she invites him to her apartment for breakfast. Over the meal, Philip tells Anna that he has decided to take the NATO job. In the following months, their relationship flourishes, as Philip calls Anna every night from Paris and visits on weekends, finally taking a second apartment in her building. Although they conduct their relationship discreetly to protect Anna's reputation with her public, Margaret warns Anna that NATO, through Scotland Yard, keeps track of Philip's activities and is aware of their affair. Margaret also tells Anna that Philip is married and is surprised that Anna already knows, yet still hopes to marry him in the future. Anna begins work on a new play, which eventually opens to great acclaim. Her relationship with Philip grows stronger, and they spend Christmas together. When she learns that Philip has bought the Sea-Witch , the yacht she tried to charter for her birthday, she suggests that he spends money on her because of his guilty conscience. Despite the fact that Philip is married, Anna is content with her life. Doris is pleased for Anna's happiness, but Carl pessimistically predicts that "it can't go on with him married." One day, Philip returns from Paris with news that NATO is relocating him for five months to a New York post. Unhappy, Anna suggests he get a divorce and marry her, but then, horrified by her behavior, apologizes profusely. Because his ship leaves the next day and he will miss her birthday, Philip asks her to drink a toast at the first stroke of Big Ben at midnight, and promises that he will do the same from his ship at sea. That day, while playing snooker with Alfred, Philip asks for permission to fly to New York instead of sail, so that he can spend three extra days with Anna and surprise her by walking into her apartment on her birthday at midnight. Alfred then asks why Philip pretends to be a married man when he is not. Philip, who is surprised that Alfred knows the truth, explains his position: When a man meets and is attracted to a woman, he courts her and, if they are old enough, she "favors" him. She wants to get married, and, if he is "not the marrying kind," she is destined for disappointment. Women, Philip says, never believe a man who says he will never marry. Therefore, because he is uninterested in matrimony, he tells a woman early in their relationship, before she gives her "favors," that he is already married, so that she will never expect more from him. Philip considers his action a kind of chivalry, and adds that he loves Anna in a way he has never loved before. Meanwhile, Anna decides to leave her play and fly to New York, where she can surprise Philip. When she tells Alfred, he feels compelled to reveal Philip's plans to be with her on her birthday. Anna cries in delight, gushing that Philip is good and kind until Margaret blurts out that he is not. By looking at Alfred's confidential documents from Scotland Yard behind his back, Margaret has learned that Philip has been lying about his marital status. Anna, humiliated to think how she begged his forgiveness for asking him to marry her, becomes angry, exclaiming, "How dare he make love to me and not be a married man!" Despite her anger, Anna decides to pretend she knows nothing and to attend a party with him. At the event, Anna and Philip dance a complicated Scottish reel, during which Philip, pleased with the way his plans are commencing, gleefully covers his lack of dancing skills with playfulness, oblivious to Anna's growing resentment. During the event, one of Anna's former paramours, David, sends her a single red rose as a token of friendship, which inspires her to plan revenge. To make Philip jealous, she secretly invites David to come to her apartment on her birthday at 11:30. Returning to her apartment with Philip after the party, she pretends to take a call from David. Claiming to have a headache, she then sends Philip away without a kiss. The next day, she fills her apartment with red roses, making it appear they are from David. However, her scheming is jeopardized when David is hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy and must cancel. Quickly revising her plans, Anna presses a reluctant Carl to wait in her bedroom in a dressing gown and instructs him to open the bedroom door, stand in the doorway briefly, then close the door after the first stroke of twelve. At precisely midnight, Philip arrives, says his wife has agreed to divorce him and asks Anna to marry him. As instructed, Carl opens and closes the door, but before Anna can explain, Philip leaves, believing that he saw David in her bedroom. However, he comes back, and upon recognizing Carl, accuses Anna of belittling their "fine and spiritual" love with a "cheap and shoddy trick." Although she accuses Philip of lying to her, he maintains that he has behaved honorably and "stuck by the rules." She argues that he proposed only because she made him jealous and he insists that he would have proposed--eventually. Sadly, she says they have lost their chance for happiness together and are not fated for marriage. When he disagrees, she suggests they continue as if the last two days never happened, but Philip is shocked that she would continue as before, unmarried. This makes her cry, but he consoles her by saying "You'll like being married."
M. P. Greengross
James Van Heusen
Frederick A. Young
Indiscreet - Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman Star in Stanley Donen's INDISCREET on DVD
Synopsis: On the rebound from a failed romance, London stage star Anna Kalman (Ingrid Bergman) meets a man too good to be true, international financier Philip Adams (Cary Grant). Philip is smitten with Anna as well, and an affair begins despite the fact that he's separated from his wife and cannot obtain a divorce. Philip takes a NATO job to be near Anna and they spend a splendid season together. Then Anna's sister and brother-in-law Margaret and Alfred Munson (Phyllis Calvert and Cecil Parker) discover that Philip is hiding something about himself....
Seen in a good presentation, Indiscreet is a knockout from all directions. Newly readmitted to the ranks of bankable movie stars, Ingrid Bergman proudly plays a fictional version of herself, a famous woman of affairs who openly states that she's willing to abandon her acting career to follow the man she loves. Fittingly, in her first appearance she carries a box of Kleenex, perhaps letting us know that deep feelings are about to be exposed.
Anna Kalman's romance with the urbane Philip Adams begins as a good-natured fairy tale. She's rich and famous, he's rich and important, and when they walk together a chauffeured Rolls Royce follows at a discreet distance. Anna's wardrobe is by Christian Dior, and her apartment is a designer's dream. Anna and Philip are so well to do that he can fly in from Paris for weekends and rent an extra flat in Anna's building for the sake of convenience and propriety. He showers her with gifts, and buys a yacht for their getaways. The miracle beneath all this material wish fulfillment is that one look at Anna and Philip together convinces us that it's all for pure love. The lovers hold hands and smile, and our cynicism melts away. When chemistry like that works in a movie, little else matters.
As one would expect from a filmed play, most of the comedy is character-driven. Phyllis Calvert and Cecil Parker are amusing relatives, matchmaking busybodies that have Anna's best interest at heart. In place of mistaken identity or misplaced jealousy, Indiscreet examines the testy politics of love. We wonder about Philip's true nature, hidden behind Cary Grant's faultless charm. When they first meet Philip is clear about his status: "There is no Mrs. Adams." But a couple of hours later he reverses himself, claiming a misunderstanding. There is a Mrs. Adams but their estranged relationship is such a cliché that he doesn't expect anyone to believe it. By then it is already too late, as Anna is hooked. After only a couple of dates, she brings Philip back to her apartment, and not for a goodnight drink. In 1958 sex activity of this sort was usually reserved for serious dramas with a moral attitude, or the neotrash soaps like Peyton Place. In light comedies, something always interceded to keep the lovers out of bed.
(Spoilers) Anna has bravely accepted the fact that Philip cannot marry her, and is willing to change her entire life to please him. Is Philip a thoughtful romantic or a dishonest opportunist? Philip says that he lies because women aim for a marriage proposal no matter how much he protests that he'll never marry. "They even take it as a challenge", he complains. So when Philip meets a desirable woman, he claims that he's not available. This might work for a dazzler as charming as Cary Grant, in a fantasy where one's marital status can be hidden from outside scrutiny. In the real world Philip's dishonesty usually takes the form of a cruel scam on a gullible partner. Of course, there are always degrees of intent. How many girls and women tell their dates that they are 'just going out for fun' because they have a real boyfriend far away somewhere, to whom they're committed?
Indiscreet is great viewing for fans of the marvelous Ingrid Bergman, who in each scene makes emotions flow across her face like waves. The real shame of Bergman's earlier 'morals banishment' from Hollywood is the six-year interruption in her mainstream film career. Cary Grant's personal brand of effortless charm is also in high gear, and his chemistry with Bergman is just as effective as their earlier pairing in Hitchcock's Notorious. Grant's work seems unnatural only when he's called upon to act unreasonably angry or jealous, and that's because he has to go against his accumulated screen persona.
Breaking away from musicals, Stanley Donen would continue with more sophisticated bedroom comedies: Once More, With Feeling, The Grass is Greener. His elegant direction is highly responsive to character moods. Donen stages a square dance-like 'reel' at a formal party, a complicated scene that's a model of its kind. He's also good with clever visual jokes. Michael Gordon's Pillow Talk became famous for its split-screen phone call scenes, the ones that toy with the idea of the two distant lovers appearing to be in the same bathtub, or bed. Made over a year earlier, Indiscreet uses the exact same gag. "Side by side" in different beds, Grant appears to pat Bergman's bottom. The two lovers also 'clasp hands' beneath the split-screen line.
Lionsgate's DVD of Indiscreet is a frustrating non-enhanced flat transfer. Colors on the 1:66 letterboxed image are okay, but the lower resolution blurs faces on anything wider than a medium close-up. Frederick Young's glowing cinematography deserves better; even Maurice Binder's graphic title sequence is grainy. The audio sounds compressed, with the louder music passages a bit distorted. This is almost certainly a third re-use of the same transfer first seen on a seven year-old Republic/Artisan release. No extras or subtitles are provided.
This title is currently unavailable on DVD. Explore more Cary Grant titles here. by Glenn Erickson
Indiscreet - Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman Star in Stanley Donen's INDISCREET on DVD
Ingrid Bergman in Indiscreet
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and director Stanley Donen looked to the past as inspiration for Indiscreet, a glittering 1958 romantic comedy, which echoes such classic films of Hollywood's past as The Awful Truth (1937) and My Favorite Wife (1940). In doing so, they set the future course for Donen and Bergman's careers.
The impetus for Indiscreet came from a less successful film, Kiss Them for Me (1957), the first to team Grant and Donen. Although the picture did not do well, former acrobat Grant and former dancer Donen so enjoyed working together that they began looking for another chance to team up. Donen had already passed on a script by Norman Krasna that would eventually become Let's Make Love (1960), with Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand. At the time, he told Krasna that he loved the plot of his play Kind Sir, in which Charles Boyer courts Mary Martin while pretending to be a married man. On Broadway, it had been one of the biggest flops of 1953. As a result, nobody had bid on the movie rights, which Donen picked up for just $10,000. He and Grant even formed their own production company, Grandon, to make the film for Warner Bros.
Grant loved the story, provided they could land either Deborah Kerr or Ingrid Bergman for the female lead. Then he accepted Bergman's 1956 Oscar® for Anastasia -the actress was unable to attend - and was overwhelmed by the Hollywood audience's warm reception. From that point, Bergman was his only choice. The film would mark their first reunion since their huge hit in Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946). At the time, Bergman was just making a comeback from the scandal that had ended her Hollywood career when she had left her husband and child for Italian director Roberto Rossellini. After eight years of exile in Europe, however, the Bergman-Rossellini marriage was on the rocks. To make matters worse, Bergman was almost broke. Donen made a personal pitch to his prospective leading lady. To his surprise, she met him at the airport in Paris, where she was appearing in the French company of Tea and Sympathy. They went back to her apartment, where she told him, "I want to put you at ease. I'm going to do the picture." She then asked him what the film was. By the time Bergman arrived in London for location shooting in 1957, she and Rossellini had separated. The press was out in full force for a press conference when she arrived at Heathrow Airport. Grant was waiting and quickly deflected their questions about her impending divorce by shouting, "Why don't you talk to me? My problems are far more interesting."
Bergman was delighted to discover that Grant had authorized a high fashion wardrobe for her supervised by Christian Dior. He had also allowed his production company to buy the first 1958 Silver Wraith Rolls-Royce out of the factory to be used in the film. After shooting ended, he would buy it from Grandon.
Since Kind Sir had been a legendary flop on Broadway, Grant and Donen started looking for a new title. Jack Warner, who was releasing the film, wanted Irresistible, while they also suggested Better Than Married, As Good as Married, They're not Married and Mister and Mistress. The last was rejected outright by the Motion Picture Association of America as too suggestive. Given Bergman's notorious past, they also cautioned against using the word "married" in the title. Finally Grant and Donen settled on Indiscreet.
Filming in the harsh London winter meant health problems for most of the company, with Donen and cinematographer Freddie Young among those sidelined by the flu. Only Grant, who was undergoing hypnotherapy with wife Betsy Drake, stayed healthy. Then Margaret Johnson, who had been cast as Bergman's sister, quarreled with Donen and walked off the film. Phyllis Calvert signed on to replace her, but before she could re-shoot the character's scenes, her husband died. For the good of the production, she went back to work almost immediately, delivering a light comic performance that belied her personal heartbreak.
Indiscreet was a huge hit for all involved. Although some critics carped that the plot was rather thin, most were pleased to see Grant bringing back the kind of film that had made him a star in the '30s. For Bergman, the film was a revelation, cementing her comeback and displaying a hitherto unsuspected gift for comedy. It also gave Donen a new specialty. He had started directing with musicals like On the Town (1949) and Singin' in the Rain (1952) and had been at loose ends with the genre's decline. With Indiscreet, he proved himself a master of sophisticated comedy, where he would have some of his greatest hits, particularly when he re-teamed with Grant in 1963 for Charade. He also fell in love with London. After filming Indiscreet there, he made the city his home for the next 17 years.
Producer/Director: Stanley Donen
Screenplay: Norman Krasna
Based on his Play Kind Sir
Cinematography: Freddie Young
Art Direction: Don Ashton
Music: Richard Rodney Bennett, Ken Jones
Principal Cast: Cary Grant (Philip Adams), Ingrid Bergman (Anna Kalman), Cecil Parker (Alfred Munson), Phyllis Calvert (Margaret Munson), David Kossoff (Carl Banks), Megs Jenkins (Doris Banks).
C-100m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.
by Frank Miller
There is no sincerity like a woman telling a lie.- Alfred
You know, I'm too old for this sort of evening. I always was.- Alfred
How dare he make love to me and not be a married man.- Anna
I like a man with a glass in his hand.- Anna
This is a very diplomatic matter, I don't want you putting your foot in it.- Anna
I deal with diplomatic matters every day without feet.- Phillip
Oh, I tell you. Women are not the sensitive sex. That's one of the grand delusions of literature. Men are the true romanticists.- Philip
When the censors had a problem with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in a scene in bed together, director Stanley Donen shot an overhead split screen sequence showing both stars side by side in bed, but with a clearly visible "border" between them
An early working title of the film was Kind Sir, the title of the Norman Krasna play on which it was based. The backdrop of the film's opening sequence consists of shots of yellow and red roses, showing the cast and crew credits on gift cards that accompany the roses. The sparsely scored soundtrack heard intermittently throughout the film is played by a piano, providing, as a modern source described, a "politely restrained" mood. "Anna Kalman's" name appears in reviews and other sources variously as Ann, Anne or Anna, but she is called "Anna" in the film.
The original 1953 Broadway play Kind Sir, which starred Mary Martin and Charles Boyer, was set in New York. According to a January 1958 New York Times article, Cary Grant agreed to appear or star in Indiscreet if Ingrid Bergman was cast as the female lead. However, Bergman was already committed to the film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (see below), which was filmed in Great Britain. To accommodate her schedule, the setting of the story for Indiscreet was moved to London.
The film was shot at Elstree Studios and on location in London. Among the many shots shown of that city are the exteriors of Leicester Art Galleries and the Garrick Club, Piccadilly Circus, Thames Embankment at Cleopatra's Needle, and the foyer and upstairs of the Crush Bar of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Sounds and shots of Big Ben chiming are used as a continuity device. The Garrick Club's dining room was recreated in the studio, as was the Painted Hall in the Palace of Greenwich, where "Anna" and "Philip" dance an eightsome Scottish reel.
The set of Anna's flat, according to a January 1958 New York Times article, was furnished with Pablo Picasso drawings and works by artists Raoul Dufy, Georges Roualt and John Piper that were borrowed from English scene designers Oliver Messel and Roger Furse, and various English art galleries. The automobile Anna's chauffeur drives is a 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, which, at that time, was valued at $23,000. According to a modern source, Grant bought the car after the completion of filming.
According to the Hollywood Reporter review, "Bergman's costumes and Grant's wardrobe are not only the last word from the smart apparel magazines but major contributions to the dramatic situation." The review noted that Anna's choice to don a homely flannel nightgown on the night before Philip is to leave for America was a telling comment on her perception of the state of their relationship. Also mirroring Anna and Philip's relationship was an excerpt from the play in which Anna appears. Anna quotes from the play during the flannel nightgown scene.
As noted in a May 1958 Hollywood Citizen-News article, the film employed a split-screen effect showing Philip and Anna in their separate beds in different cities. According to the article, Donen had "two bedrooms built side by side on the sound stage, and...two separate camera and sound crews. Their operations were synchronized, but each color camera photographed only one-half of the action." Although the characters are supposed to be three hundred miles apart, the effect resulted in their appearing to be "side by side in bed." This was significant in 1958, when even married couples could not be shown together in the same bed. Because the actors could hear each other's words as they were spoken, "their emotional reactions had far more romantic impact than if the action of each split-screen half had been staged at different times." The Hollywood Reporter review describes how the act of Grant straightening his blanket in Paris appears "to conquer space by patting Bergman's London derriere." The Hollywood Citizen-News article predicted that this method "might well set a precedent for future scenes of this kind."
Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, December 1957 and January 1958 Hollywood Reporter news items add Leslie Weston, Len Sharp, Martin Boddey, Diane Clare and Robert Desmond to the cast. A December 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item and Hollywood Reporter production charts indicate that Margaret Johnston was replaced by Phyllis Calvert. According to a modern source, Johnston left because of differences with Donen. Modern sources add John Welsh (Passport official), Michael Lewis, and David Coote to the cast.
Indiscreet marked the first of two films produced by Grandon Productions, Ltd., which was owned by Grant and Donen. [The company's final film was The Grass Is Greener.] According to August 1968 Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter news items, Grant, Donen, and writer Norma Krasna filed a breach-of-contract suit against Warner Bros. after the studio batched Indiscreet, of which the plaintiffs owned 75% of the profits from the picture, with 47 other films owned wholly by Warner Bros. According to the news items, the studio sold the batch and then divided the profits equally among the pictures, "having the results of depriving the plaintiffs of their proper share of television incomes." The outcome of the suit is not known. A television movie, Indiscreet, based on Krasna's play aired in 1988. This version was directed by Richard Michaels and starred Robert Wagner and Lesley-Anne Down.
Released in United States March 1987
Released in United States on Video September 1987
Released in United States Spring May 1958
Formerly distributed in USA on video by Republic Pictures Home Video.
Re-released in Paris November 6, 1991.
Released in United States March 1987 (Shown at AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival (UCLA Movie Marathon: A Tribute to Cary Grant) March 11-26, 1987.)
Released in United States Spring May 1958
Released in United States on Video September 1987