Personal Affair


1h 22m 1953

Brief Synopsis

When a teenaged student disappears, her teacher is suspected of killing her.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1953
Production Company
J Arthur Rank Organization
Distribution Company
Hallmark Home Entertainment; United Artists Films

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Barbara Vining (Glynis Johns), a teen-age girl in a small English town falls in love with her teacher Stephen Barlow (Leo Genn), who has no interest in her other than as a pupil and has done nothing to encourage her. When his wife, Kay Barlow (Gene Tierney) confronts her, Barbara runs off. Stephen follows her to try and explain to her how hopeless the situation is. When she doesn't return home, the gossip and rumors begin. Barbara's father (Walter Fitzgerald), an intelligent man is torn between his parental love and his basic wisdom, and her aunt (Pamela Brown), a neurotic old maid who also had a hopeless love affair years before, appears pleased with the situation. Barlow is accused of many lurid crimes, despite the lack of any evidence, and his marriage and career are nearly ruined until Barbara returns three days later and clears him.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1953
Production Company
J Arthur Rank Organization
Distribution Company
Hallmark Home Entertainment; United Artists Films

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

A Personal Affair - Personal Affair


When Gene Tierney made the British drama Personal Affair (1953), she was living in England partly because it was financially advantageous to do so -- thanks to a new American tax law -- and partly because of her ongoing romantic relationship with European playboy Prince Aly Khan. Tierney had recently been divorced from costume designer Oleg Cassini; her friends all disapproved of her new romance, but she ignored their concerns.

Still, she was dealing with doubts and depression and had an awful lot of trouble focusing on this dialogue-heavy picture and memorizing her lines. Things got so bad she called in a psychiatrist, but he proved to be of little help. In the end, her devoted maid Ruby came to the rescue, going over lines with Tierney night and day. (One can imagine the real-life Ruby being a little bit like the fictional "Bessie," Tierney's faithful maid in Laura [1944]).

As Tierney later recounted: "I would never have gotten through Personal Affair had it not been for the loyalty of my Cockney maid, Ruby. She had that traditional British resistance to admitting defeat, even someone else's. When I told her I could no longer absorb the script and would have to quit, she scolded me. 'Never mind, Miz Tierney,' she said. 'You are going to do it. We will go over these lines until you know them in your sleep.' When the filming started I never missed a cue. Ruby simply would not allow me to fail."

The film itself is written by Lesley Storm, who adapted her own play, "A Day's Mischief." It's about the cruel power of gossip, and how it affects the lives of innocent people. In a small British town, a teenage schoolgirl (Glynis Johns) falls in love with her Latin teacher (Leo Genn, recently Oscar®-nominated for Quo Vadis [1951]). When Genn's American wife (Tierney) tells Johns that she knows of her secret, the girl goes missing, and an otherwise quiet town is transformed into a hive of scandal, gossip and suspicion.

The rather meticulous drama, released in America by United Artists, was generally well-received, though The New York Times complained it was overly talky, a problem which often plagues theatrically-based movies.

Producer: Antony Darnborough
Director: Anthony Pelissier
Screenplay: Lesley Storm (screenplay and play "A Day's Mischief")
Cinematography: Reginald Wyer
Art Direction: Cedric Dawe
Music: William Alwyn
Film Editing: Frederick Wilson
Cast: Gene Tierney (Kay Barlow), Leo Genn (Stephen Barlow), Glynis Johns (Barbara Vining), Walter Fitzgerald (Henry Vining), Pamela Brown (Evelyn), Megs Jenkins (Vi Vining), Michael Hordern (Headmaster Griffith), Thora Hird (Mrs. Usher), Norah Gaussen (Phoebe), Nanette Newman (Sally).
BW-82m.

by Jeremy Arnold

Sources:
Gene Tierney, Self-Portrait
Michelle Vogel, Gene Tierney: A Biography
A Personal Affair - Personal Affair

A Personal Affair - Personal Affair

When Gene Tierney made the British drama Personal Affair (1953), she was living in England partly because it was financially advantageous to do so -- thanks to a new American tax law -- and partly because of her ongoing romantic relationship with European playboy Prince Aly Khan. Tierney had recently been divorced from costume designer Oleg Cassini; her friends all disapproved of her new romance, but she ignored their concerns. Still, she was dealing with doubts and depression and had an awful lot of trouble focusing on this dialogue-heavy picture and memorizing her lines. Things got so bad she called in a psychiatrist, but he proved to be of little help. In the end, her devoted maid Ruby came to the rescue, going over lines with Tierney night and day. (One can imagine the real-life Ruby being a little bit like the fictional "Bessie," Tierney's faithful maid in Laura [1944]). As Tierney later recounted: "I would never have gotten through Personal Affair had it not been for the loyalty of my Cockney maid, Ruby. She had that traditional British resistance to admitting defeat, even someone else's. When I told her I could no longer absorb the script and would have to quit, she scolded me. 'Never mind, Miz Tierney,' she said. 'You are going to do it. We will go over these lines until you know them in your sleep.' When the filming started I never missed a cue. Ruby simply would not allow me to fail." The film itself is written by Lesley Storm, who adapted her own play, "A Day's Mischief." It's about the cruel power of gossip, and how it affects the lives of innocent people. In a small British town, a teenage schoolgirl (Glynis Johns) falls in love with her Latin teacher (Leo Genn, recently Oscar®-nominated for Quo Vadis [1951]). When Genn's American wife (Tierney) tells Johns that she knows of her secret, the girl goes missing, and an otherwise quiet town is transformed into a hive of scandal, gossip and suspicion. The rather meticulous drama, released in America by United Artists, was generally well-received, though The New York Times complained it was overly talky, a problem which often plagues theatrically-based movies. Producer: Antony Darnborough Director: Anthony Pelissier Screenplay: Lesley Storm (screenplay and play "A Day's Mischief") Cinematography: Reginald Wyer Art Direction: Cedric Dawe Music: William Alwyn Film Editing: Frederick Wilson Cast: Gene Tierney (Kay Barlow), Leo Genn (Stephen Barlow), Glynis Johns (Barbara Vining), Walter Fitzgerald (Henry Vining), Pamela Brown (Evelyn), Megs Jenkins (Vi Vining), Michael Hordern (Headmaster Griffith), Thora Hird (Mrs. Usher), Norah Gaussen (Phoebe), Nanette Newman (Sally). BW-82m. by Jeremy Arnold Sources: Gene Tierney, Self-Portrait Michelle Vogel, Gene Tierney: A Biography

Quotes

Trivia