The Whole Truth


1h 24m 1958
The Whole Truth

Brief Synopsis

A woman tries to prove her cheating husband didn't murder his mistress.

Film Details

Genre
Thriller
Adaptation
Release Date
Sep 1958
Premiere Information
London, England opening: 4 Aug 1958
Production Company
Romulus Films, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Surrey, Walton-on-Thames, England, Great Britain; Walton Studios, Surrey, Walton-on-Thames, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Whole Truth by Philip Mackie (London, 11 Oct 1955).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7,609ft

Synopsis

In a small town on the French Riviera, American film producer Max Poulton furtively races down a cobblestone street, trying to escape his pursuers. As the clock tower begins to toll, Max recalls how he became embroiled in this desperate situation: Max is producing a film set on the French Riviera starring Gina Bertini, his tempestuous leading lady, both on and off screen. After reconciling with his estranged wife Carol, Max has ended his clandestine affair with Gina. Loathe to lose a man to another woman, Gina asks Max to drive her to her hotel where she threatens to tell Carol about his infidelity unless he agrees to continue their affair. Gina's tantrum causes Max to be late for a party that Carol is giving at their villa. When the flustered Max arrives, he goes upstairs to change his clothes and Carol notices that his shirt cuff is bloody. After explaining that he cut his wrist, Max cryptically asks Carol if she would stay with him if "trouble arose." Soon after, a stranger comes to the villa and asks to speak with Max. In a secluded study, the man identifies himself as Inspector Carliss from Scotland Yard, then casually mentions that Gina was stabbed to death in her hotel room earlier in the evening. When Max states that he left Gina after quarrelling with her at the hotel that afternoon, Carliss insinuates that the murder was a crime of passion, then leaves. Afterward, Max hurriedly removes a satchel from his closet and speeds to the house that he and Gina shared in St. Paul to remove his possessions. As he empties the drawers, a neighbor pounds on the door, notices Max's car in the driveway and leaves. Upon returning to the villa, Max stashes the satchel under the bed. When he rejoins the party, he is stunned to see Gina socializing with the other guests. After the drunken Gina declares that she has an announcement to make, Max, fearful that she will expose their affair, insists on driving her to the hotel. On the road to town, Gina asks Max to stop at the St. Paul house. Upon reaching the house, Max leaves Gina in the car while he goes inside to turn on the lights. When he returns to the car, he finds Gina dead, the victim of a stabbing. Inspector Simon, the head of the local constabulary, is summoned, and later Carol is informed of her husband's predicament. When Simon questions Max's account of Carliss' puzzling visit, Max insists that Carliss was trying to frame him for Gina's death. Just then, a somber Carliss comes to the house and accuses Max of killing his wife, Gina. Carliss recounts receiving a letter from Gina in which she wrote that she wanted to break off her relationship with Max, but Max refused to let her go. Carliss then declares that he visited Max to plead with him to give up Gina. Because Max seemingly had no motive to kill Gina, Simon releases him. Later, Carliss phones Max and asks him to meet at a local café. There, Carliss admits that he killed Gina, whom he married five years earlier during a drunken escapade. Because Carliss was in the business of manufacturing religious textbooks and Gina was just embarking upon her film career, they decided to keep the marriage secret. Carliss explains that after suffering years of humiliation due to his wife's sordid affairs, he decided to kill her and frame Max for the crime. After flying in from London that afternoon, Carliss drove by the St. Paul house to make sure that Max's belongings were still there, then posed as a detective to frighten Max into removing his belongings from the house, thus providing a motive for the murder. When Max returns home after his meeting with Carliss, he finds Simon waiting with the neighbor who spotted Max's car in the driveway of the St. Paul house. After the neighbor states that Max was at the house on the night of the murder, Simon produces the satchel he found under Max's bed and arrests him. Before Max is taken to jail, Carol surreptitiously removes a lighter from the satchel. When she shows the lighter, which is inscribed "Christmas forever," to Max, he swears that it is not his. Thinking that the lighter might provide proof of her husband's innocence, Carol tries to contact Carliss, but is unable to locate him. When she returns home, she finds him waiting there for her. After she coyly asks for a cigarette, he searches his pockets for his lighter. Pulling the lighter from her purse, Carol hands it to him and lies that she found it in the study after he left. At that moment, Max calls from the police station and Carliss picks up the phone, pretending that it is Simon instructing them to go to the house in St. Paul. Upon hearing Carliss' voice, Max begins to fear for his wife's safety and jumps out the window of the police station to the cobblestone street below. To escape his pursuers, he steals a car and drives out of town. Upon arriving in St. Paul, Carliss tells Carol that he knows she was using the lighter to frame him. After ushering her onto a terrace overlooking the sea, Carliss calmly explains that he intends to kill her and make it look like suicide. At that moment, Max arrives, having spotted Carliss' car heading toward St. Paul. Engaging Carliss in a war of nerves, Max lies that the neighbor remembered seeing Carliss at the house on the afternoon of the murder and warns that Simon is on his way there to arrest Carliss. Max then tricks Carliss into fleeing in the stolen car. When Carliss reaches town, the police, thinking that he is Max, try to stop him. After Carliss runs over an officer, the police pursue him into the hills above the village. Shot by one of the officers, Carliss loses control of the car and plunges over a cliff. When Simon finds Carliss' body in the wreckage, he finally realizes that Carliss killed Gina. Shaken by their ordeal, Carol decides to stay with her husband.

Film Details

Genre
Thriller
Adaptation
Release Date
Sep 1958
Premiere Information
London, England opening: 4 Aug 1958
Production Company
Romulus Films, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Surrey, Walton-on-Thames, England, Great Britain; Walton Studios, Surrey, Walton-on-Thames, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Whole Truth by Philip Mackie (London, 11 Oct 1955).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7,609ft

Articles

The Whole Truth


The taglines for The Whole Truth (1958) were pretty hard to ignore: "You'll go back to your wife over my dead body...AND HE DID!" and "The Year's Slickiest, Quickiest Whodunnit." Unfortunately it seems that the taglines were better than the film itself. The Whole Truth was based on the 1955 London play of the same name by Philip Mackie. The rights had been purchased by Romulus Films, Ltd with the intention of making it a co-production with Twentieth Century-Fox to star Stewart Granger and his then wife, actress Jean Simmons, but Romulus eventually ended up producing the film alone and distributing through Columbia Pictures. The film was directed by John Guillermin (who later made The Towering Inferno, 1974) and was in production from October 14 – December 11, 1957 at the Walton Studios in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England.

Stewart Granger starred as a Hollywood producer who is set up by a detective to make it look as though he stabbed his actress lover (played by Gianna Maria Canale). His faithful wife (played by Donna Reed in Simmons' intended role) doesn't believe it and she stands by her man and clears his name, despite his infidelity.

Also in the cast is ace cad supreme George Sanders who played Men-You-Love-to-Hate so frequently and so memorably that he titled his autobiography Memoirs of a Professional Cad. Apart from a brief stint as "The Saint" and later "The Falcon", Sanders' career was really made on roles like the one in The Whole Truth: thoroughly reprehensible characters who are nonetheless charming as sin and great fun to watch.

Not so much fun, according to Granger in his autobiography, Sparks Fly Upward, was the making of the film, "Much as I loved it, London seemed cold and bleak but in spite of seeing my mother, Elspeth and my friends, I was beginning to feel like a stranger. The film I had contracted to do for Romulus, The Whole Truth was a run of the mill "whodunit", and I had the lovely Donna Reed playing opposite me with the suave George Sanders supplying the villainy. Our director went on to fame directing an oversized ape in the remake of King Kong (1976). I'm sure he got on better with that mechanized gorilla than he did with us. He was peculiarly lacking in charm, to say the least."

Producer: Jack Clayton
Directors: Dan Cohen, John Guillermin
Screenplay: Jonathan Latimer; Philip Mackie (play)
Cinematography: Wilkie Cooper
Art Direction: Tony Masters
Music: Mischa Spoliansky
Film Editing: Gerry Hambling
Cast: Stewart Granger (Max Poulton), Donna Reed (Carol Poulton), George Sanders (Carliss), Gianna Maria Canale (Gina Bertini), Michael Shillo (Inspector Simon), Richard Molinas (Gilbert), Peter Dyneley (Willy Reichel), John Van Eyssen (Archer), Philip Vickers (Jack Leslie), Jimmy Thompson (Assistant), Hy Hazell (American Woman), Carlo Justini (Leading Man), Agnes Laughlan (Englishwoman)
BW-85m.

by Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES:
Sparks Fly Upward by Stewart Granger
AFI.com
The Internet Movie Database.
The Whole Truth

The Whole Truth

The taglines for The Whole Truth (1958) were pretty hard to ignore: "You'll go back to your wife over my dead body...AND HE DID!" and "The Year's Slickiest, Quickiest Whodunnit." Unfortunately it seems that the taglines were better than the film itself. The Whole Truth was based on the 1955 London play of the same name by Philip Mackie. The rights had been purchased by Romulus Films, Ltd with the intention of making it a co-production with Twentieth Century-Fox to star Stewart Granger and his then wife, actress Jean Simmons, but Romulus eventually ended up producing the film alone and distributing through Columbia Pictures. The film was directed by John Guillermin (who later made The Towering Inferno, 1974) and was in production from October 14 – December 11, 1957 at the Walton Studios in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. Stewart Granger starred as a Hollywood producer who is set up by a detective to make it look as though he stabbed his actress lover (played by Gianna Maria Canale). His faithful wife (played by Donna Reed in Simmons' intended role) doesn't believe it and she stands by her man and clears his name, despite his infidelity. Also in the cast is ace cad supreme George Sanders who played Men-You-Love-to-Hate so frequently and so memorably that he titled his autobiography Memoirs of a Professional Cad. Apart from a brief stint as "The Saint" and later "The Falcon", Sanders' career was really made on roles like the one in The Whole Truth: thoroughly reprehensible characters who are nonetheless charming as sin and great fun to watch. Not so much fun, according to Granger in his autobiography, Sparks Fly Upward, was the making of the film, "Much as I loved it, London seemed cold and bleak but in spite of seeing my mother, Elspeth and my friends, I was beginning to feel like a stranger. The film I had contracted to do for Romulus, The Whole Truth was a run of the mill "whodunit", and I had the lovely Donna Reed playing opposite me with the suave George Sanders supplying the villainy. Our director went on to fame directing an oversized ape in the remake of King Kong (1976). I'm sure he got on better with that mechanized gorilla than he did with us. He was peculiarly lacking in charm, to say the least." Producer: Jack Clayton Directors: Dan Cohen, John Guillermin Screenplay: Jonathan Latimer; Philip Mackie (play) Cinematography: Wilkie Cooper Art Direction: Tony Masters Music: Mischa Spoliansky Film Editing: Gerry Hambling Cast: Stewart Granger (Max Poulton), Donna Reed (Carol Poulton), George Sanders (Carliss), Gianna Maria Canale (Gina Bertini), Michael Shillo (Inspector Simon), Richard Molinas (Gilbert), Peter Dyneley (Willy Reichel), John Van Eyssen (Archer), Philip Vickers (Jack Leslie), Jimmy Thompson (Assistant), Hy Hazell (American Woman), Carlo Justini (Leading Man), Agnes Laughlan (Englishwoman) BW-85m. by Lorraine LoBianco SOURCES: Sparks Fly Upward by Stewart Granger AFI.com The Internet Movie Database.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The opening and closing onscreen cast credits differ slightly in order. The film was shot at the Walton Studios, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. According to a May 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, Romulus Films, Ltd. bought the motion picture rights to Philip Mackie's play, intending to film a co-production with Twentieth-Century Fox which would star co-star Stewart Granger and his then wife, Jean Simmons. Although the Variety review that the film was adapted from Mackie's stage and television play, no more information about the television production has been found.