Cast & Crew
In 1875, Clio Dulaine, the illegitimate daughter of an aristocratic New Orleans Creole man and a French woman, returns from Paris to her birthplace in Rampart Street to avenge her mother's mistreatment at the hands of her father's family, the Dulaines. Years ago Clio's mother accidentally killed Dulaine when he tried to prevent her from committing suicide, and the scandalized Dulaines then exiled Clio and her mother to Paris. Clio is accompanied by her mulatto maid, Angelique, and her dwarf manservant, Cupidon. After fixing up the rundown house in Rampart Street, Clio ventures out, hoping to encounter the Dulaines. At the French marketplace, Clio stops for a bowl of jambalaya and is immediately attracted to Clint Maroon, a tall Texan in a white hat, who is eating at the counter. The attraction is mutual, and Clint offers to drive Clio to the cathedral in his carriage, but a disapproving Angelique interferes, and Clio leaves without him. After the service, Clio, Angelique and Cupidon breakfast at the restaurant patronized by the Dulaines every Sunday. Announcing to the maitre d' that she is a relative, Clio sits at the table reserved for the Dulaines, but when the Dulaines arrive, they recognize her by her resemblance to her mother and leave without a confrontation. Clint and Clio meet again at the restaurant, and afterward, he drives her home. Eventually, Clint moves into Clio's house. Although Clio and Clint are in love with each other, Clio, who is obsessed with her plans for revenge, intends to marry a rich and powerful man to prove that she is as good as her father's family. Clint, a gambler, who never intends to marry, is out for revenge on the railroaders who ruined his father in Texas. While Clio continues to embarrass the Dulaines at every opportunity, planning, if necessary, to interrupt the debut of her half-sister Charlotte, Clint, exasperated by Clio's unrelenting machinations, leaves for Saratoga. As the result of Clio's scheming, the Dulaines pay her $10,000, agree to destroy the Rampart Street house and bury her mother in a New Orleans cemetery. Later, Clio joins Clint in Saratoga, where she plots to marry wealthy railroad heir Bartholomew Van Steed. Clio's arrival with Angelique and Cupidon causes quite a stir, and because the hotel is completely booked, Clint, who is now calling himself Colonel Maroon, offers Clio two of the rooms in his suite. Privately, he explains that Bart owns a railroad, the Saratoga Trunk, which is suddenly worth millions of dollars because it connects the coal country with New York. Railroader Raymond Soule, the same man who ruined Clint's father, is trying to steal the railroad from Bart. Clio poses as the widow of a French count, a claim that many doubt until she is unexpectedly backed up by socialite Mrs. Coventry Bellop, who intensely dislikes Van Steed's mother. Clio's beauty and melodramatic posturing quickly capture Bart's attentions. In the meantime, Clint offers to save the Saratoga Trunk from Soule in exchange for shares in the railroad. When Clio learns that Bart is paying Clint to do his dirty work, she hysterically accuses him of cowardice and sends him away. This excites Bart, who explains that he knows about her background, but wants to marry her anyway. The costume ball that evening is interrupted by the arrival of Clint and Cupidon, who were seriously wounded during a pitched battle with Soule's men. Clio realizes that she loves Clint too much to marry another man and nurses him back to health. Clint then tells Clio that, having saved the Saratoga Trunk from Soule, his railroad shares have made him a very rich man.
J. Lewis Johnson
William B. Davidson
Theodor Von Eltz
Leo F. Forbstein
Robert B. Lee
Dalton S. Reymond
Joseph St. Armand
Jack L. Warner
Carl Jules Weyl
Best Supporting Actress
Playing a half-Creole in dark hair and make-up, Ingrid Bergman stars as Clio Dulaine in Saratoga Trunk (1945). Her character is a woman made cruel by her vendetta against the 'pasty-faced aristocrats' who humiliated and scorned her mother into an early grave after she gave birth to her illegitimate daughter. Clio vows revenge on her dead father's family and vows to Angelique that she will marry a rich man to gain the respectability and status her mother never had.
Clio makes a splash in New Orleans, scandalizing the wealthy residents when she takes up with a Texas gambler, Colonel Clint Maroon (Gary Cooper), who is enthralled and mystified by the dark beauty. 'Where I come from women are two kinds. They're good or they're bad. What kind of a woman are you?' he asks Clio, though he has an answer to his question soon enough.
Determined to not repeat her mother's mistakes, Clio is encouraged by Maroon to travel to New York to meet and hopefully also marry the wealthy railroad scion of the Saratoga Trunk Line, Bartholomew Van Steed (John Warburton), though his own interest in Clio eventually intervenes.
Cooper and Bergman, directed by Sam Wood, proved such a successful team in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) that Warner Bros. attempted to repeat the Paramount formula and hopefully reap some of the rewards of a film that had garnered ten Oscar® nominations. Sam Wood and Cooper would go on to film Casanova Brown (1944) together following Saratoga Trunk, though this time without Bergman.
Jack Warner had purchased the rights to Edna Ferber's best-selling novel years earlier with plans to star Bette Davis and Errol Flynn in the lead roles. But it was Bergman and Cooper who Warner Bros. hoped would make the film a smash.
There were rumors that the couple had also enjoyed an off-screen romance during the making of For Whom the Bell Tolls, with Bergman later conceding 'Every woman who knew him fell in love with Gary.'
In her autobiography co-authored with Alan Burgess, Ingrid Bergman: My Story, Bergman recalled being amazed at how close Cooper's acting persona was to his real personality, though on-screen his true star potential was revealed. 'The personality of this man was so enormous, so overpowering-and that expression in his eyes and his face, it was so delicate and so underplayed. You didn't notice it until you saw it on the screen. I thought he was marvelous: the most underplaying and most natural actor I ever worked with.'
Both Bergman and Cooper were admired by friends and coworkers -- and perhaps by their audiences too -- for their down to earth lack of pretense, another feature that made their film pairings sparkle.
Ironically enough, Saratoga Trunk did little to increase Cooper's star value, though it was an enormous success for Bergman despite fears expressed by some that playing a woman as selfish and wanton as Clio would do damage to her image. Yet, unlike Gary Cooper, who tended to always play the same character, Bergman often resisted the desire of fans to see consistency in a performer. She played both good and bad women. The film was a modest commercial success though casting of Bergman as a partly black woman involved with a white man was rather scandalous subject matter for the time, at least for Joseph Breen, director of the Production Code Administration.
Though Saratoga Trunk was made in 1943, it was not released to the general public until 1945. Like a number of other productions caught up in the gears of the war -- Devotion (1946), My Reputation (1946), The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) -- the film was shown to members of the armed forces but was not released until much later.
The film was a disappointment in the awards category. Many saw the film's single Oscar® nomination - a Best Supporting Actress nod for Flora Robson - as a sympathy vote for her willingness to wear a thick shellac of brown make-up and absurdly heavy brows that gave her a permanently grumpy expression while playing the mulatto Angelique.
Saratoga Trunk was notable for featuring as its second-unit director a young Don Siegel who would go on to great success with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Dirty Harry (1971); it showed his early genre tendencies by taking charge of all of the action scenes in the second Saratoga Springs segment of the film. Dorothy Dandridge's mother Ruby Dandridge also appears briefly in the film as a turbaned New Orleans vendor.
Director: Sam Wood
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay: Casey Robinson based on the novel by Edna Ferber
Cinematography: Ernest Haller
Production Design: Carl Jules Weyl
Music: Max Steiner
Cast: Gary Cooper (Colonel Clint Maroon), Ingrid Bergman (Clio Dulaine), Flora Robson (Angelique Buiton), Jerry Austin (Cupidon), John Warburton (Bartholomew Van Steed), Florence Bates (Mrs. Coventry Bellop), Curt Bois (Augustin Haussy).
BW-135m. Closed captioning.
by Felicia Feaster
According to a March 25, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item, Warner Bros paid $175,000 for the rights to the novel. A 1941 press release states that the film was to be made in Technicolor. Saratoga Trunk was completed in 1943 but not released until 1946. It was exhibited to the armed forces overseas, but held back in the United States in deference to more timely war-themed and patriotic films. The film ends with a plea to buy war bonds. News items in Hollywood Reporter note that Richard Travis tested for the role of "Clint Maroon," and Errol Flynn was also considered for the part. Ann Sheridan and Olivia De Havilland tested for the role of "Clio Dulaine." According to information in the file on the film at the USC Cinema-Television Library Eleanor Parker and Tamara Toumanova also tested for the part of Clio. An early 1941 press release states that Vivien Leigh was also considered for the role. An undated press release reports that Nina Foch was to make her film debut, but she does not appear in the picture. Flora Robson, who portrays "Angelique," was a white, British actress who wore darkened makeup to appear black in the film.
Hollywood Reporter news items add the following information about the production: Some background footage was shot at the actual location of the Saratoga trunk line. Saratoga Trunk was one of the last productions to film at Busch Gardens in Pasadena, CA before it was auctioned off in early April 1943. Over 150 stunt men were used in the scenes of the battle for possession of the railroad trunk line. Warner Bros. purchased the complete wardrobe of Susan Dreer Volkmar, which comprised thirty dresses dating from 1880-1910, some made in Paris, including a complete mourning outfit; a cream colored wedding gown of princess lace; a hostess gown of black satin; a white broadcloth suit; a navy blue suit; and a Chantilly lace parasol. It is not known if these costumes appeared in the film. The filmmakers studied actual footage of the 1909 arrival of the Mississippi steamer Bald Eagle for technical information. Ingrid Bergman's singing coach was technical advisor Dalton S. Reymond, former dean of the College of Music at Louisiana State University. Sophie Huxley, who played the role of "Charlotte Dulaine," was the niece of writer Aldous Huxley. Memos at the USC Cinema-Television Library, indicate that montage director Don Siegel shot the fight scenes after the two trains collided. Because of differences between director Sam Wood and producer Hal B. Wallis, Siegel's unit continued to shoot for 19 days. Only one day had been budgeted for the entire scene. Cinematographer Bert Glennon filled in for Ernest Haller while the latter was ill. Flora Robson was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar but lost to Anne Baxter. Ida Lupino and Zachary Scott starred in a November 24, 1947 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of the story.