Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Adam and Evelyne (1949)

ADAM AND EVELYNE is a very entertaining British romance which is something of a forerunner to later American films such as SABRINA (1954) and DADDY LONG LEGS (1955).

Wealthy Adam Black (Stewart Granger) makes his living running exclusive gambling evenings in homes around London. When Adam fulfills a pledge to a dying friend and moves orphaned teenager Evelyne (Jean Simmons) into his home, life turns upside down for Adam and his loyal major domo, Bill (Edwin Styles). Evelyne -- who believes her adored benefactor earns a living working on the stock market -- is sent by Adam to an exclusive Swiss finishing school, which is a far cry from Evelyne's stark upbringing in a British orphanage.

Two years later a glamorous, more mature Evelyne returns to London, where she attracts the attention of Adam's rascally younger brother Roddy (Raymond Black). And Adam finds himself very confused indeed, as his own feelings for Evelyne change from paternal to romantic.

Granger was 36 and Simmons 20 when they made ADAM AND EVELYNE. Their relationship is charming and believable -- Granger and Simmons married the year after this film was released. Simmons seamlessly portrays the transition of Evelyne from a chatterbox teenage Cinderella to a beautiful young woman in love, and determined to see her man reform. Stewart Granger is one of my very favorite actors, and he's wonderful in this as usual as the suave, elegant Adam.

The supporting cast includes Helen Cherry, Joan Swinstead, Fred Johnson, Geoffrey Denton, and Wilfrid Hyde-White. Hyde-White has a key scene late in the film in which he shares with Evelyne some of his thoughts on life and heroes with feet of clay.

The U.S. title of the film is ADAM AND EVALYN. I can only surmise there was concern U.S. audiences wouldn't be able to properly pronounce Evelyne and so the name was spelled phonetically here!

ADAM AND EVELYNE was directed by Harold French. It was filmed in black and white and runs 92 minutes.

ADAM AND EVELYNE is not available on VHS or DVD in the United States, although it has had a Region 2 release in Europe.

The film has been shown on Turner Classic Movies; the print I recorded a few months ago wasn't one of the best the station has shown and was quite dark in a couple stretches, but otherwise it was watchable. Unfortunately this title is not on the schedule as part of TCM's tribute to its July Star of the Month, Stewart Granger.

Click here for a page where you can request that TCM add the movie to its schedule.

ADAM AND EVELYNE is one of so many relatively unknown movies awaiting discovery by new audiences. It provides a wonderful evening's entertainment.


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