September Affair


1h 44m 1951

Brief Synopsis

An industrialist (Joseph Cotton) and a pianist (Joan Fontaine) meet on a trip and fall in love. Through a quirk of fate, they are reported dead in a crash though they weren't on the plane. This gives them the opportunity to live together free from their previous lives. Unfortunately, this artificial arrangement leads to greater and greater stress. Eventually the situation collapses when they come to pursue their original, individual interests without choosing a common path.

Film Details

Also Known As
September
Release Date
Feb 1, 1951
Premiere Information
Venice, Italy film festival showing: 25 Aug 1950; Rome, Italy opening: 14 Sep 1950
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 44m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,431ft (11 reels)

Synopsis

In Rome, Italy, concert pianist Manina Stuart and manufacturing tycoon David Lawrence pick up airline tickets at the same office, but take no notice of each other. Manina and David coincidentally meet later aboard the same U.S.-bound flight, and when the plane lands in Naples because of engine trouble, Manina and David go off sightseeing together. David, who is estranged from his wife Catherine, and Manina, who is single, are delighted by each other's company. When they miss their plane by a few moments, they decide to stay in Naples for a few days. After sightseeing in Pompeii and Capri, David admits that he was traveling alone because he had lost his identity and become unfamiliar with his family after working so many years building his turbine factory. Although Manina and David fall in love, Manina insists they remain platonic friends, and David admits that Catherine, who had initially agreed to his request for a divorce, recently sent him a letter saying she had changed her mind. The next day, David and Manina prepare to return to the United States and are stunned to read a newspaper account about their previous flight, which went down in the Mediterranean. When they see that their names are listed among those presumed dead, David and Manina realize that they have been given a second chance at happiness. David and Manina rent a villa in Florence, and agree to give up their respective careers in order to be together. In the United States, meanwhile, Catherine and her son, David, Jr., mourn David's passing, and their attorney, Charles Morrison, informs Catherine that just prior to the plane accident, David made a large withdrawal from his account for an Italian woman named Maria Salvatini. Although Catherine admits that her marriage was in trouble, she is now distraught because she will never know if David was returning because he loved her, or merely to fulfill their marriage contract. Although David and Manina live in idyllic happiness, Manina's piano mentor, Maria, believes they are selfish and cowardly. She nevertheless remains close to Manina and disburses David's money as needed. Catherine decides to vacation in Italy with David, Jr., and goes to see Maria, believing that she was the "other woman." Manina is present when Catherine arrives and is disturbed when Catherine reveals that she feels responsible for David's death because he was returning to her when his plane crashed. Neither Maria nor Manina reveal the truth, but David, Jr. recognizes Manina from the newspaper reports about the accident, and later he and Catherine realize that David must be alive and living with Manina. Catherine's only response to the news of David's betrayal is joy that he is safe. David launches a project to create a dam for an arid Italian countryside, but is soon forced to abandon the idea because it would mean revealing that he is alive. Manina sees his disappointment and goes to see Catherine, but finds only David, Jr. in their hotel room. David, Jr. tells Manina that he and his mother know the truth and are returning home. He then gives her a letter for his father, who he bitterly insists no longer exists. That night, David reads the letter in which Catherine has written that she will grant him a divorce. Freed by this news, David renews his dam project, while Manina accepts a New York concert date, and prepares to return to the United States with David. Although Manina is glad to return to her career, she harbors a sense that her relationship may not survive the change. Back home, David thanks Catherine for her compassion and reveals that he is confused. Although Manina's Carnegie Hall performance of Rachmaninoff's Concerto Number 2 is a success, she books a flight for South America, where she is scheduled to play, and informs David that their pasts are too real to ignore. Unable to endure a love built on deception, Manina leaves David at the airport.

Crew

Maxwell Anderson

Composer

Franz Bachelin

Art Director

Claire Behnke

Script Supervisor

Guy Bennett

Camera Operator

Richard A. Blaydon

Assistant prod Manager

Dick Brandow

Props

Malcolm Bulloch

Stills

Frank Caffey

Production Manager

Paulina Carter

Music instructor

Frédéric Chopin

Composer

Sam Comer

Set Decoration

John Cope

Sound Recording

Ray Cossar

Stage eng

Ed Crowder

Grip

Hans Dreier

Art Director

Pat Drew

Gaffer

Farciot Edouart

Process Photography

Daniel Fapp

Fill-in Director of Photographer

Wolfgang Frankel

Concert scene Conductor

Ketti Frings

Contract Writer

Grace Gregory

Set Decoration

Cliff Hartley

Mike grip

Edith Head

Costumes

Hazel Hegarty

Wardrobe

Gordon Jennings

Special Photography Effects

Stan Johnson

Assistant cutter

R. L. Johnston

Production Manager

Van Koughnst

Cable man

Charles B. Lang

Director of Photography

Ted Larsen

Makeup Artist

Sam Levine

Wardrobe

Harold Lewis

Sound Recording

Warren Low

Editing Supervisor

Robert Mccrillis

Props

Richard Mcwhorter

Assistant Director

Victor Milner

European Photographer

Eddie Morse

Casting

Paul Nathan

Casting

Leonard Pennario

Solo piano recordings by

Glen Porter

Recording

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Composer

Bob Rogers

Electrician

James Rosenberger

2d Assistant Director

Fritz Rotter

From a story by

Schuyler Sanford

Assistant Camera European Photographer

Jack Saper

Assistant to prod

Art Sarno

Pub

Floyd Simonton

Pub

Andrew Solt

Contr to Screenplay constr

Lavaughn Speer

Hair

Victor Stoloff

Dialogue Director

Robert Thoeren

Screenwriter

Kurt Weill

Composer

Wally Westmore

Makeup Supervisor

Dewey Wrigley

European backgrounds

Victor Young

Music Score

Film Details

Also Known As
September
Release Date
Feb 1, 1951
Premiere Information
Venice, Italy film festival showing: 25 Aug 1950; Rome, Italy opening: 14 Sep 1950
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 44m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,431ft (11 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was September. In a letter included in the Hal Wallis Collection at the AMPAS Library, writer Robert Thoeren protested about not being listed as co-author of the story in the screen credits. After reading their contract, Paramount responded that they had no legal obligation to credit him as co-author, despite Thoeren's claims that he did co-write the story. However, even though the final prints of the film had already been distributed, producer Hal Wallis notified the Academy and the Screen Writers' Guild to credit Thoeren as co-author, and instructed the Paramount publicity department to bill him as such in all advertising.
       According to a Los Angeles Times news item, Ann Todd was initially considered for the lead, and information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that William Wyler was considered as director. The running time listed in the Variety review for the Venice, Italy premiere was 91 minutes. Additional scenes were shot after the Italian opening and added to the film before the U.S. release. Exteriors were shot on location in and around Rome, Florence, Naples, Pompeii and Capri, Italy, and featured various historical Italian landmarks. Walter Huston, who is heard singing "September Song" during the picture, made the number a hit in the 1939 Broadway play Knickerbocker Holiday, and according to a ParNews item, re-recorded it for this film. Huston died shortly before September Affair was released.