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You are in: Home > 1999. 47th Edition  > Sections and Films
John M. Stahl
1999. 47th Edition
Films
Films
HER CODE OF HONOR
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
The ring given to her by her adopted father, Tom, makes Alice suspect that her fiancé Gene, who has one exactly the same, is really her brother. Her mother Helen had died while giving birth to her in Paris and Tom, who had an unrequited love for the woman, had decided to bring her daugther up as his own. Gene and Alice consider committing suicide, only to finally discover that...

The ring given to her by her adopted father, Tom, makes Alice suspect that her fiancé Gene, who has one exactly the same, is really her brother. Her mother Helen had died while giving birth to her in Paris and Tom, who had an unrequited love for the woman, had decided to bring her daugther up as his own. Gene and Alice consider committing suicide, only to finally discover that ther are not in fact related to one another. 

SOWING THE WIND
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Rosamond abandons her mother, Baby Brabant, on discovering that she works in a casino, and becomes a successfula actress, while her mother, devastated by her daugther's desertion, turns into an opium addict. Rosamond falls in love with Ned, son of Brabazon, the wealthy man who was married to baby Brabant, making them afraid of discovering that ther are brother and sister an...

Rosamond abandons her mother, Baby Brabant, on discovering that she works in a casino, and becomes a successfula actress, while her mother, devastated by her daugther's desertion, turns into an opium addict. Rosamond falls in love with Ned, son of Brabazon, the wealthy man who was married to baby Brabant, making them afraid of discovering that ther are brother and sister and therefore unable to continue seeing each other. 

SUSPICIOUS WIVES
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Mollie King, with whom Stahl shot three melodramas, leaves her husband on the belief that he's got a sweetheart. The sweetheart later happens to be but a poor relative he provides for. When fate brings them together again, Mollie looks after her husband, who has become blind, as a previous step to their reconciliation.
Mollie King, with whom Stahl shot three melodramas, leaves her husband on the belief that he's got a sweetheart. The sweetheart later happens to be but a poor relative he provides for. When fate brings them together again, Mollie looks after her husband, who has become blind, as a previous step to their reconciliation.
THE CHILD THOU GAVEST ME
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
On her wedding day, Norma wants to tell her husband-to-be, Edwards, a secret from the past, but her mother advises her otherwise. The secret is that norma has a son; Edward eventually finds out and promises that, though willing to adopt the chils, he also intends to kill the father. Suspecting his friend Tom, he shoots the man on surprising him alone with Norma. 

On her wedding day, Norma wants to tell her husband-to-be, Edwards, a secret from the past, but her mother advises her otherwise. The secret is that norma has a son; Edward eventually finds out and promises that, though willing to adopt the chils, he also intends to kill the father. Suspecting his friend Tom, he shoots the man on surprising him alone with Norma. 

ONE CLEAR CALL
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
In a small village in Alabama a doctor, the local outcast's only friend, is attracted to a woman of obscure past, unaware of the fact that she is the outcast's wife. The lovers will finally end up together, after a series of natural disasters (including an appearance by the Klu Klux Klan)
In a small village in Alabama a doctor, the local outcast's only friend, is attracted to a woman of obscure past, unaware of the fact that she is the outcast's wife. The lovers will finally end up together, after a series of natural disasters (including an appearance by the Klu Klux Klan)
HUSBANDS AND LOVERS
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
A wife who falls in love with another man as she feels her husband has little esteem for her. They divorce yet they reconcile just in time to stand up the wife's new suitor at the altar. Following De Mille's path, Stahl raises more and more daring questions related to unfaithfulness in marriage.
A wife who falls in love with another man as she feels her husband has little esteem for her. They divorce yet they reconcile just in time to stand up the wife's new suitor at the altar. Following De Mille's path, Stahl raises more and more daring questions related to unfaithfulness in marriage.
WHY MEN LEAVE HOME
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
A man has an affair with his secretary. He and his wife divorce and then find out they still love each other. As B. Tavernier says, "infidelity is therapeutical, since it ends up by reuniting couples it took apart in the first place"
A man has an affair with his secretary. He and his wife divorce and then find out they still love each other. As B. Tavernier says, "infidelity is therapeutical, since it ends up by reuniting couples it took apart in the first place"
MEMORY LANE
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Eleanor Boardman is about to get married when a former fiance shows up. He kidnaps her but doesn't manage to get her back. Later on, when she's been happily married for a few years, the former fiance returns yet again. He has become very rough with time. The plot is Stahl's own work.
Eleanor Boardman is about to get married when a former fiance shows up. He kidnaps her but doesn't manage to get her back. Later on, when she's been happily married for a few years, the former fiance returns yet again. He has become very rough with time. The plot is Stahl's own work.
IN OLD KENTUCKY
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
A soldier comes back disappointed from the Great War only to find his family, once wealthy horse breeders, on the verge of bankruptcy. An exciting win at the Kentucky Derby will bring their fortune back. This is Stahl's last film for producer Mayer and his brand new MGM studios.
A soldier comes back disappointed from the Great War only to find his family, once wealthy horse breeders, on the verge of bankruptcy. An exciting win at the Kentucky Derby will bring their fortune back. This is Stahl's last film for producer Mayer and his brand new MGM studios.
A LADY SURRENDERS
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
This is the first in a series of increasingly successful films that were to turn Stahl into one of Universal Studios key figures throughout the 30s. It's the drama of a marriage which, according to Tavernier, "is the summing up of the theme of all Stahl's previous films". However, here infidelity does bring about a final change in the couple.
This is the first in a series of increasingly successful films that were to turn Stahl into one of Universal Studios key figures throughout the 30s. It's the drama of a marriage which, according to Tavernier, "is the summing up of the theme of all Stahl's previous films". However, here infidelity does bring about a final change in the couple.
STRICTLY DISHONORABLE
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Before going into cinema, Preston Sturges had great success on Broadway with this farse, full of daring double- meanings on threatened virginity, about an Italian Casanova and his tactics to deflower an innocent Southerner (stunning Sidney Fox). Stahl made
Before going into cinema, Preston Sturges had great success on Broadway with this farse, full of daring double- meanings on threatened virginity, about an Italian Casanova and his tactics to deflower an innocent Southerner (stunning Sidney Fox). Stahl made
BACK STREET
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
One of Stahls's films that show why he is a key figure of melodrama. He adapted with admirable restraint a serial novel by Fannie Hurst (renown authoress of ?Imitation of Life?). It tells the story of a woman (great sufferer Irene Dunne) resigned to be the mistress of a selfish married man. It contrived to dodge the Hay Office's censorship whip. Look for the memorable final fla...
One of Stahls's films that show why he is a key figure of melodrama. He adapted with admirable restraint a serial novel by Fannie Hurst (renown authoress of ?Imitation of Life?). It tells the story of a woman (great sufferer Irene Dunne) resigned to be the mistress of a selfish married man. It contrived to dodge the Hay Office's censorship whip. Look for the memorable final flash-back.
ONLY YESTERDAY
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Here John Boles' victim is Margaret Sullavan in her cinema debut. He seduces her, ruins her life. When he meets and seduces her again, he doesn't even remember her. Stahl kept his best card for the New Year's Eve encounter in the last sequence. He was able to get through with the shooting before the Hays Law came into force, though the film's revival was prevented later on. It'...
Here John Boles' victim is Margaret Sullavan in her cinema debut. He seduces her, ruins her life. When he meets and seduces her again, he doesn't even remember her. Stahl kept his best card for the New Year's Eve encounter in the last sequence. He was able to get through with the shooting before the Hays Law came into force, though the film's revival was prevented later on. It's partly based on Zweig's "Letter to an Unknown Woman".
IMITATION OF LIFE
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
This account of the relationship between two women-- one white, one black-- was subject to all sorts of censorship pressure, mainly for the way it tackles "the racial question" through Peola, a black girl who wants to be taken for a white. Stahl's aloofness succeeds in touching us through the characters of this otherwise exorbitant plot: Claudette Corbert's character versus Lan...
This account of the relationship between two women-- one white, one black-- was subject to all sorts of censorship pressure, mainly for the way it tackles "the racial question" through Peola, a black girl who wants to be taken for a white. Stahl's aloofness succeeds in touching us through the characters of this otherwise exorbitant plot: Claudette Corbert's character versus Lana Turner's in Sirk's remake would serve as an example.
MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Before becoming the queen of screwball comedy, Irene Dunne used to be called "The Lady Gandhi of the Movies" for her usual roles as a sufferer, such as this particular one. She first loses her husband, then her eyesight due to Robert Taylor's irresponsibility ... He then makes amends though, by becoming a surgeon, being awarded the Nobel Prize, giving her back her eyesight and ...
Before becoming the queen of screwball comedy, Irene Dunne used to be called "The Lady Gandhi of the Movies" for her usual roles as a sufferer, such as this particular one. She first loses her husband, then her eyesight due to Robert Taylor's irresponsibility ... He then makes amends though, by becoming a surgeon, being awarded the Nobel Prize, giving her back her eyesight and winning her heart. Stahl shot this delirious plot nonchalantly, resulting in one of the greatest melos and one of the biggest box-office
PARNELL
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Stahl's temporary return to Mayer for this great prestigious production results in this film about the XIX Century Irish nationalist leader whose career was cut short by a love scandal. Not very well liked at the time, perhaps due to the way Stahl rather neglected
Stahl's temporary return to Mayer for this great prestigious production results in this film about the XIX Century Irish nationalist leader whose career was cut short by a love scandal. Not very well liked at the time, perhaps due to the way Stahl rather neglected
LETTER OF INTRODUCTION
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Back at Universal Studios, Stahl shot this melodrama on the line of La Cava's Stage Door Adolphe Menjou is a theatre star who finds his lost daughter, in the justly acclaimed " letter of introduction" scene. Stahl made the most of his past experience as an actor on the stage and shot a brilliant sequence in which Menjou has a disastrous premiere on Broadway.
Back at Universal Studios, Stahl shot this melodrama on the line of La Cava's Stage Door Adolphe Menjou is a theatre star who finds his lost daughter, in the justly acclaimed " letter of introduction" scene. Stahl made the most of his past experience as an actor on the stage and shot a brilliant sequence in which Menjou has a disastrous premiere on Broadway.
WHEN TOMORROW COMES
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
It was thought, at the time, that this film would exploit Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer's success with McCarey's Love Affair. However this happens to be one of Stahl's great pieces of work: Based on James M. Cain's ?Modern Cinderella?, it's a very emotive yet not in the least sentimental countdown recollection of a romance. Starting in a comedy vein, it spans only 72 hours --as...
It was thought, at the time, that this film would exploit Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer's success with McCarey's Love Affair. However this happens to be one of Stahl's great pieces of work: Based on James M. Cain's ?Modern Cinderella?, it's a very emotive yet not in the least sentimental countdown recollection of a romance. Starting in a comedy vein, it spans only 72 hours --as compared with the 30 years of Back Street-- and ends with a most impresssive dinner scene.
HOLY MATRIMONY
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
This is perhaps Stahl's best comedy and maybe one of the surprises of this retrospective. Monty Woolley is a famous painter. When his butler dies, he pretends it to be his own death and impersonates the deceased, which will bring about all sorts of complications, from bigamy to the difficulty to carry on his work posthumously. Stahl derides British institutions and deals with s...
This is perhaps Stahl's best comedy and maybe one of the surprises of this retrospective. Monty Woolley is a famous painter. When his butler dies, he pretends it to be his own death and impersonates the deceased, which will bring about all sorts of complications, from bigamy to the difficulty to carry on his work posthumously. Stahl derides British institutions and deals with some of his recurrent topics in a humorous vein.
THE IMMORTAL SERGEANT
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
This is Stahl's first film for XX Century Fox, where he would stay to the end of his career. It's the first film ever to depict the War in Northen Africa and, as Henry Fonda put it later, "I won the Second World War all by myself". Stahl included an unforgettable scene in which Fonda, lost in the desert, imagines his girlfriend Maureen O'Hara emerging soaking wet from a swimmin...
This is Stahl's first film for XX Century Fox, where he would stay to the end of his career. It's the first film ever to depict the War in Northen Africa and, as Henry Fonda put it later, "I won the Second World War all by myself". Stahl included an unforgettable scene in which Fonda, lost in the desert, imagines his girlfriend Maureen O'Hara emerging soaking wet from a swimming-pool.
THE EVE OF ST. MARK
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Adapted from a theater hit by Maxwell Anderson about the doubts and crises affecting a group of American soldiers lost in the Philippines during the Pacific War. Another contribution by Stahl to war films; curiously enough, this time not at all rejoicing. It could seem an anticipation of The Thin Red Line.
Adapted from a theater hit by Maxwell Anderson about the doubts and crises affecting a group of American soldiers lost in the Philippines during the Pacific War. Another contribution by Stahl to war films; curiously enough, this time not at all rejoicing. It could seem an anticipation of The Thin Red Line.
THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
20th Century Fox used to entrust Stahl with adapting best-sellers, out of which The Keys of The Kingdom, which completes a kind of spiritual trilogy with The Immortal Sergeant and The Eve of St. Mark, can be said to be the most ambitious. It's about the hardship a Catholic priest goes through in the missions in China --Gregory Peck, almost a beginner, was shot to stardom-- Its ...
20th Century Fox used to entrust Stahl with adapting best-sellers, out of which The Keys of The Kingdom, which completes a kind of spiritual trilogy with The Immortal Sergeant and The Eve of St. Mark, can be said to be the most ambitious. It's about the hardship a Catholic priest goes through in the missions in China --Gregory Peck, almost a beginner, was shot to stardom-- Its hopeful message touched the heart of a huge audience living in anguish in World War II.
LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Stahl's best known film in the last fifty years gets away from his usual soberness, surprisingly enough, and seems to forecast Sirk's excesses.This melodrama was shot in full technicolor but post-war film noir influence gives it a touch of black when it tells of the extremes beautiful psychopath GeneTierney goes to in order to get rid of anyone who may interfere between her and...
Stahl's best known film in the last fifty years gets away from his usual soberness, surprisingly enough, and seems to forecast Sirk's excesses.This melodrama was shot in full technicolor but post-war film noir influence gives it a touch of black when it tells of the extremes beautiful psychopath GeneTierney goes to in order to get rid of anyone who may interfere between her and her beloved Coronel Wilde.
THE FOXES OF HARROW
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
Adapted from a saga by Frank Yerby, which perpetuates an idea of the South attached to the "plantation" genre. Rex Harrison is an adventurer who, as a bastard, seeks social legitimacy. He manages to possess his own plantation, as well as southern belle Maureen O'Hara. Their relationship, however, is stormy until they finally reconcile over their son's grave. It's not his usual ...
Adapted from a saga by Frank Yerby, which perpetuates an idea of the South attached to the "plantation" genre. Rex Harrison is an adventurer who, as a bastard, seeks social legitimacy. He manages to possess his own plantation, as well as southern belle Maureen O'Hara. Their relationship, however, is stormy until they finally reconcile over their son's grave. It's not his usual style; nevertheless, Stahl displays his talent for "hard" scenes.
THE WALLS OF JERICHO
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
there's a change in Stahl's women here. From his great sufferers of the 30s he now goes for fiery, unsubmissive women like Gene Tierney, Maureen O'Hara and, in this case, bossy Darnell.
there's a change in Stahl's women here. From his great sufferers of the 30s he now goes for fiery, unsubmissive women like Gene Tierney, Maureen O'Hara and, in this case, bossy Darnell.
FATHER WAS A FULLBACK
JOHN M. STAHL
USA 
A light domestic comedy, still full of human feeling, in contrast with the tortured families portrayed in Stahl's melodramas. Fred Mac Murray is a trainer determined to classify the football team he's training. It proves to be almost as difficult as getting a boyfriend for his daughter Betty Lynn (his other daughter is played by young Natalie Wood).
A light domestic comedy, still full of human feeling, in contrast with the tortured families portrayed in Stahl's melodramas. Fred Mac Murray is a trainer determined to classify the football team he's training. It proves to be almost as difficult as getting a boyfriend for his daughter Betty Lynn (his other daughter is played by young Natalie Wood).
BACK STREET
ROBERT STEVENSON
USA 
First remake after one of Stahl's hits. It was shot only nine years later by efficient craftsman Stevenson. Margaret Sullavan is more tragic in her role than Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer's and Charles Boyer's character is more charming than Boles. Otherwise there's little added by Stevenson, who copied the last part of Stahl's version exactly.
First remake after one of Stahl's hits. It was shot only nine years later by efficient craftsman Stevenson. Margaret Sullavan is more tragic in her role than Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer's and Charles Boyer's character is more charming than Boles. Otherwise there's little added by Stevenson, who copied the last part of Stahl's version exactly.
LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN
MAX OPHÜLS
USA 
Based on the same story by Stefan Zweig that inspired Only Yesterday. Ophuls creates a tragic poem about a woman's love obsession for a transient lover who doesn't remember her, in a more desperate tone than Stahl's version. This is a masterpiece by the most romantic director in the history of the movies.
Based on the same story by Stefan Zweig that inspired Only Yesterday. Ophuls creates a tragic poem about a woman's love obsession for a transient lover who doesn't remember her, in a more desperate tone than Stahl's version. This is a masterpiece by the most romantic director in the history of the movies.
MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION
DOUGLAS SIRK
USA 
Through producer Ross Hunter's initiative, Douglas Sirk shot three remakes of the same number of melodramas by Stahl. This is the first and most faithful to the original. Sirk shot this plot he considered impossible --after ruining Jane Wyman's life, Rock Hudson makes amends and wins her heart-- with subtle irony and won the hearts of modern critics as well as that of his self-...
Through producer Ross Hunter's initiative, Douglas Sirk shot three remakes of the same number of melodramas by Stahl. This is the first and most faithful to the original. Sirk shot this plot he considered impossible --after ruining Jane Wyman's life, Rock Hudson makes amends and wins her heart-- with subtle irony and won the hearts of modern critics as well as that of his self-proclaimed disciple Fassbinder.
INTERLUDE
DOUGLAS SIRK
USA 
A film that offers elements to decide the draw between Stahl and Sirk: Is Interlude less emotive than WhenTomorrow Comes? Sirk depicts this fleeting love story beteen June Allyson and Rossano Brazzi in magnificent scenery in Germany, where he was born. However, it's in claustrophobic scenes with Marianne Koch, Brazzi's suicidal wife, that his talent really shines.
A film that offers elements to decide the draw between Stahl and Sirk: Is Interlude less emotive than WhenTomorrow Comes? Sirk depicts this fleeting love story beteen June Allyson and Rossano Brazzi in magnificent scenery in Germany, where he was born. However, it's in claustrophobic scenes with Marianne Koch, Brazzi's suicidal wife, that his talent really shines.
IMITATION OF LIFE
DOUGLAS SIRK
USA 
Sirk may have thought this weepie novel by Fannie Hurst a "mixture of kitsch, lunacy and trash", but he turned it into a controversial masterpiece. Despite the clinical coldness and irony over the plot and characters --Lana Turner is but a beautiful blind mask-- it contrives to make your hair stand on end in those scenes with Susan Kohner, the poor black girl who wanted to be w...
Sirk may have thought this weepie novel by Fannie Hurst a "mixture of kitsch, lunacy and trash", but he turned it into a controversial masterpiece. Despite the clinical coldness and irony over the plot and characters --Lana Turner is but a beautiful blind mask-- it contrives to make your hair stand on end in those scenes with Susan Kohner, the poor black girl who wanted to be white.
BACK STREET
DAVID MILLER
USA 
INTERLUDE
KEVIN BILLINGTON
UK 
Third version of When Tomorrow Comes, this time a British production. James M. Cain's old love story is brought back to life, in flash back this time, acted by Oskar Werner and Barbara Ferris, the orchestra conductor and the journalist who live a brief romance.
Third version of When Tomorrow Comes, this time a British production. James M. Cain's old love story is brought back to life, in flash back this time, acted by Oskar Werner and Barbara Ferris, the orchestra conductor and the journalist who live a brief romance.
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