To Each His Own


2h 2m 1946
To Each His Own

Brief Synopsis

A single mother gives up her son, then fights to remain a part of his life.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Jul 5, 1946
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 May 1946
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

During World War II, while London endures New Year's Eve during a blackout, Jody Norris, a middle-aged American woman, turns down a date with another lonely Londoner, Lord Desham, to meet a train. Onboard is Lieutenant Gregory Pierson, the son of Jody's friends from her hometown, Pierson Falls. While she waits, Jody recalls the summer of 1918, just before the end of World War I, when she was a very young woman: When Jody turns down a proposal from Lieutenant Alex Pierson, he proposes to Corinne Sturges. That night, Jody falls in love with a young flier, Captain Cosgrove, and makes love with him, even though she knows he is in town only for a few hours. Soon Jody discovers that she is pregnant and is told by a doctor that for her own safety, she must terminate the pregnancy. When she learns that Cosgrove has been killed in battle, Jody decides to keep the baby. After Jody secretly gives birth to a son, Daisy Gingras, her nurse, gives the baby to Jody's neighbor Belle Ingham, saying that the infant is a war orphan, so that Jody can offer to adopt him without scandal. Belle, however, gives the baby to Corinne, whose own baby has just died, and he is named Gregory. Heartbroken, Jody visits the baby frequently and nicknames him "Griggsy." After her father dies and Jody sells their family drugstore, she asks Corinne to hire her as Griggsy's nurse. When Corinne refuses, Jody shows her Griggsy's birth certificate and confesses that he is her son. Corinne refuses to give up Griggsy, because Alex is still in love with Jody. Jody moves to New York and builds a successful cosmetics business with her friend Mac Tilton, who loves her. Jody tells him she has a young son, and he again proposes, but she turns him down. Meanwhile, she continues to see Griggsy when he and Alex come to New York. When she learns that Alex and Corinne are nearly bankrupt, Jody blackmails Corinne into giving up Griggsy in exchange for a loan. After two months with Jody, Griggsy longs to be home with Corinne, and when Jody tells him Corinne adopted him, he becomes hysterical and says that his mother already told him about it and loves him best because she chose him. Heartbroken, Jody returns Griggsy to the Piersons and goes to London to immerse herself in work. Back in the present, Jody introduces herself to Griggsy and offers him a place to stay, hoping to finally have a week alone with him. His mind is on getting married while on leave to his girl friend, Liz Lorimer, however, and Desham makes arrangements for a wedding ceremony that night. After Desham intimates to Griggsy that Jody is more than just a kind benefactor, Liz tells Griggsy that Jody acts as if he were her own son. Griggsy finally realizes who Jody is, and calling her "mother," asks her to dance.

Cast

Olivia Dehavilland

Jody Norris

Mary Anderson

Corinne Sturges Piersen

Roland Culver

Lord Desham

Phillip Terry

Alex Piersen

Bill Goodwin

Mac Tilton

Virginia Welles

Liz Lorimer

Victoria Horne

Daisy Gingras

Griff Barnett

Mr. Norris

Alma Macrorie

Belle Ingham

Bill Ward

Griggsy, 5 1/2 years

Frank Faylen

Babe

Willard Robertson

Dr. Hunt

Arthur Loft

Mr. Clinton

Virginia Farmer

Mrs. Clinton

Doris Lloyd

Miss Pringle

Clyde Cook

Mr. Harkett

Ida Moore

Miss Claflin

Mary Young

Mrs. Rix

John Lund

Captain Cosgrove/Gregory Pierson

Sandra Brodheim

Griggsy as an infant

Sharon Brodheim

Griggsy as an infant

Chester Clute

Clarence Ingham

Crane Whitley

Police captain

Leyland Hodgson

Reindeer Club porter

Reginald Sheffield

Headwaiter

Will Stanton

Funny little waiter

Joy Harington

Petty Officer Wren

Harlan Briggs

Dr. McLaughlin

Walter Baldwin

Sam Foreman

Gladys Blake

Lorena

Charles Mcnaughton

Porter

Patrick O'moore

Rangey Cockney sergeant

Billy Gray

Billy Ingham

Gary Gray

Casey Ingham

Gigi Perreau

Virgie Ingham

Anthony Caruso

Mobster

Max Wagner

Mobster

Jimmy Dundee

Mobster

William Hunter

Policeman

Jack Clifford

Policeman

Betty Farrington

Customer

Isabel Withers

Customer

Clara Reid

Ida

John Rogers

Cockney taxi driver

James Millican

Flyer lt.

Dick Winslow

Bill McNair

George Carleton

Mayor

Anne Curson

Waitress

Ottola Nesmith

Dora

George Kirby

Clergyman

Gary Delmar

American Lt. flyer

Gordon Arnold

American Lt. flyer

Reed Porter

American Lt. flyer

Lee Bennett

American Lt. flyer

Henry Vroom

American Lt. flyer

Joe Guccione

American Lt. flyer

Paul Oman

American Lt. flyer

Anthony Marsh

American sergeant

Douglas Carter

Squeaker, American sergeant

Almeda Fowler

Sara

Howard Gardiner

Corinne's chauffeur

Herbert Evans

R.R. station attendant

Alan Schute

British army captain/headwaiter

Frank Baker

British businessman

Bruce Carruthers

English lieutenant

Phyllis Adair

Impatient young woman

Bobby Barber

Balloon vendor

Bobby Hale

"Auld Lang Syne" pedestrian

John Meredith

Pedestrian

Eleanor Taylor

Little girl

Mary Maclaren

Woman at G.A.R. Hall/Nurse

Sidney D'albrook

Man at G.A.R. Hall

Lillian West

Checkroom woman

Lew Short

Clerk

Dorothy Vernon

Customer

Stella Lesaint

Customer

Jean Andren

Woman companion

George Broughton

Hiccougher

Richard Woodruff

English soldier with tin pan

Tony Ellis

Messenger boy

Wilson Benge

Waiter

Reginald Simpson

Club manager

Beverly Thompson

WAC

Lucy Knoch

WAC

Mary Jane Hodge

Girl

Gloria Williams

Julia Faye

Nolan Leary

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Jul 5, 1946
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 May 1946
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Award Wins

Best Actress

1946

Award Nominations

Best Writing, Screenplay

1947

Articles

To Each His Own


Olivia de Havilland has said that the role of Jody Norris in To Each His Own (1946) is one of her favorites. De Havilland's beautifully modulated portrayal of an unwed mother during World War I who gives up her child, becomes a successful businesswoman, and encounters her now-grown son during World War II, finally won her an Academy Award, on her third nomination. It was also the first Oscar for an actress at Paramount. Helped along by a hit theme song and excellent reviews, To Each His Own was one of the big hits of the year.

To Each His Own was a triumph for de Havilland in more ways than one. She had been off the screen for two years due to her legal battle seeking to end her contract with Warner Brothers. It was a battle she won, resulting in a law called the "de Havilland Decision" that limited studios to a seven-year contract with an actor. To Each His Own offered de Havilland a bravura star turn for a spectacular comeback.

Mitchell Leisen had directed de Havilland in Hold Back the Dawn (1941), which had earned her an Academy Award nomination. When de Havilland read the script for To Each His Own, she knew that only Leisen could make it more than a conventional soap opera. Leisen didn't want to do it, but de Havilland wouldn't do it with anyone else. So Leisen worked with writer-producer Charles Brackett to improve the script, and agreed, unenthusiastically, to direct. De Havilland remembered that as production went on, and he discovered more facets to the character, Leisen became more enthusiastic. She credited Leisen's attention to detail for her performance, whether it was making sure the period costumes, props and furniture were correct, giving her insight on a line reading or gesture, or setting the tension of a scene. Always, she said, Leisen kept the entire picture in mind, and modulated her performance to fit the rhythm of the whole. And de Havilland had some tricks of her own for getting in character. She used different colognes for each different era of Jody's life, from young girl to middle-aged executive. When she put on cologne, she was able to evoke the emotions that Jody was feeling at that time in her life.

De Havilland had caught a tropical disease while entertaining the troops in the Pacific, and had lost a lot of weight when production began on To Each His Own. Since the film was shot in sequence, the weight loss worked to its advantage. In the early scenes, playing a young girl, she is thin and ethereal. Leisen insisted that De Havilland eat hearty meals during production, and over the course of the film, she gained about 20 pounds, which took her effectively through pregnancy and aging. The aging process was also helped along with makeup and harsh lighting.

Broadway actor John Lund made his film debut in To Each His Own, in the dual role of de Havilland's lover and her son. As the son, he had a brown rinse on his naturally blond hair, and his manner for each character is totally different. Lund was a good actor, but was not used to film technique, and had difficulties hitting his marks. The supporting cast, though not well-known, was uniformly excellent, and even inspired. Editor Alma Macrorie, who was not an actress, was a standout as the continually pregnant Belle Ingham. She also cut the film, and kept trying to cut her part down.

By the time To Each His Own wrapped, Mitchell Leisen was so convinced that de Havilland was giving an Oscar-worthy performance that, at the wrap party, he gave her a charm bracelet with an Oscar on it. She wore the bracelet on Oscar night, when she collected her award. Charles Brackett was also nominated for his screenplay.

Producer: Charles Brackett
Director: Mitchell Leisen
Screenplay: Charles Brackett, Jacques Thery, based on a story by Brackett
Editor: Alma Macrorie
Cinematography: Daniel Fapp
Costume Design: Edith Head
Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson
Music: Victor Young
Principal Cast: Olivia de Havilland (Miss Josephine Norris), John Lund (Capt. Bart Cosgrove/Gregory Piersen), Mary Anderson (Corinna Piersen), Roland Culver (Lord Desham), Phillip Terry (Alex Piersen), Bill Goodwin (Mac Tilton), Virginia Welles (Liz Lorimer), Griff Barnett (Mr. Norris), Alma Macrorie (Belle Ingham).
BW-122m. Closed captioning.

By Margarita Landazuri
To Each His Own

To Each His Own

Olivia de Havilland has said that the role of Jody Norris in To Each His Own (1946) is one of her favorites. De Havilland's beautifully modulated portrayal of an unwed mother during World War I who gives up her child, becomes a successful businesswoman, and encounters her now-grown son during World War II, finally won her an Academy Award, on her third nomination. It was also the first Oscar for an actress at Paramount. Helped along by a hit theme song and excellent reviews, To Each His Own was one of the big hits of the year. To Each His Own was a triumph for de Havilland in more ways than one. She had been off the screen for two years due to her legal battle seeking to end her contract with Warner Brothers. It was a battle she won, resulting in a law called the "de Havilland Decision" that limited studios to a seven-year contract with an actor. To Each His Own offered de Havilland a bravura star turn for a spectacular comeback. Mitchell Leisen had directed de Havilland in Hold Back the Dawn (1941), which had earned her an Academy Award nomination. When de Havilland read the script for To Each His Own, she knew that only Leisen could make it more than a conventional soap opera. Leisen didn't want to do it, but de Havilland wouldn't do it with anyone else. So Leisen worked with writer-producer Charles Brackett to improve the script, and agreed, unenthusiastically, to direct. De Havilland remembered that as production went on, and he discovered more facets to the character, Leisen became more enthusiastic. She credited Leisen's attention to detail for her performance, whether it was making sure the period costumes, props and furniture were correct, giving her insight on a line reading or gesture, or setting the tension of a scene. Always, she said, Leisen kept the entire picture in mind, and modulated her performance to fit the rhythm of the whole. And de Havilland had some tricks of her own for getting in character. She used different colognes for each different era of Jody's life, from young girl to middle-aged executive. When she put on cologne, she was able to evoke the emotions that Jody was feeling at that time in her life. De Havilland had caught a tropical disease while entertaining the troops in the Pacific, and had lost a lot of weight when production began on To Each His Own. Since the film was shot in sequence, the weight loss worked to its advantage. In the early scenes, playing a young girl, she is thin and ethereal. Leisen insisted that De Havilland eat hearty meals during production, and over the course of the film, she gained about 20 pounds, which took her effectively through pregnancy and aging. The aging process was also helped along with makeup and harsh lighting. Broadway actor John Lund made his film debut in To Each His Own, in the dual role of de Havilland's lover and her son. As the son, he had a brown rinse on his naturally blond hair, and his manner for each character is totally different. Lund was a good actor, but was not used to film technique, and had difficulties hitting his marks. The supporting cast, though not well-known, was uniformly excellent, and even inspired. Editor Alma Macrorie, who was not an actress, was a standout as the continually pregnant Belle Ingham. She also cut the film, and kept trying to cut her part down. By the time To Each His Own wrapped, Mitchell Leisen was so convinced that de Havilland was giving an Oscar-worthy performance that, at the wrap party, he gave her a charm bracelet with an Oscar on it. She wore the bracelet on Oscar night, when she collected her award. Charles Brackett was also nominated for his screenplay. Producer: Charles Brackett Director: Mitchell Leisen Screenplay: Charles Brackett, Jacques Thery, based on a story by Brackett Editor: Alma Macrorie Cinematography: Daniel Fapp Costume Design: Edith Head Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson Music: Victor Young Principal Cast: Olivia de Havilland (Miss Josephine Norris), John Lund (Capt. Bart Cosgrove/Gregory Piersen), Mary Anderson (Corinna Piersen), Roland Culver (Lord Desham), Phillip Terry (Alex Piersen), Bill Goodwin (Mac Tilton), Virginia Welles (Liz Lorimer), Griff Barnett (Mr. Norris), Alma Macrorie (Belle Ingham). BW-122m. Closed captioning. By Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The foreword to the film states: "The most mysterious mysteries are people, and usually people who don't seem mysterious at all. Take Miss Norris, for instance. Here she is, a middle-aged American woman, walking down a London street on a blacked-out New Year's Eve...." This film marked the motion picture debut of stage actor John Lund and the American film debut of British actor Roland Culver. Hollywood Reporter news items list Frank Craven, Jean Sullivan and Ralph Dunn in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Alma Macrorie, the film's editor, also appeared in the picture. The New York Times review of the film states: "Olivia de Havilland...may now take her exalted place alongside Helen Hayes, Ruth Chatterton and Bette Davis as a tragic heroine who loved unwisely and suffered terrible consequences with heroic fortitude."
       According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the the AMPAS Library, the PCA did object to the film's "happy ending" of Griggsy meeting his mother, stating that it was unacceptable under the Code formula for dealing with stories of illicit sex and illegitimacy. Producer/writer Charles Brackett met with representatives of the PCA in May 1945 to negotiate the film's ending and insisted that he needed the recognition scene at the end. He did agree, however, to write an alternate scene in which the recognition between mother and son would be merely a fleeting one and not a complete reunion, but it was not used. Brackett also agreed to rewrite some of the sequences just before and after the birth of the child to strengthen the "compensating moral values" required by the Production Code, and to avoid "minimizing the importance of Jody's sin." The expression "bastard" and any suggestion or reference to abortion were forbidden under the Code.
       In an article in Saturday Evening Post entitled "The Role I Liked Best," Olivia de Havilland stated that Brackett stalled production on this film for a year until she won her court battle to be released from her contract at Warner Bros. studio and agreed to Mitchell Leisen as her choice of director. For additional information on De Havilland's contract dispute, see entries above for The Well Groomed Bride, Government Girl and Princess O'Rourke. De Havilland won an Academy Award for Best Actress for the film, and Charles Brackett was nominated for Writing (Original Story). A title song, written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for exploitation purposes, was not used in the released film but became one of the biggest hits of the year. Olivia De Havilland, Griff Barnett and John Lund reprised their roles in a January 2, 1950 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast. Dorothy McGuire and Gene Barry starred in a August 26, 1954 Lux Video Theatre presentation of the story.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 5, 1946

Released in United States Summer July 5, 1946