Stanley Donen

Sog.: dalla pièce Kind Sir (1953) di Norman Krasna. Scen.: Norman Krasna. F.: F.A. Young. M.: Jack Harris. Scgf.: Don Ashton. Mus.: Richard Bennett, Ken Jones. Int.: Cary Grant (Philip Adams), Ingrid Bergman (Anna Kalman), Cecil Parker (Alfred Munson), Phyllis Calvert (Margaret Munson), David Kossoff (Carl Banks), Megs Jenkins (Doris Banks), Oliver Johnston (Finleigh), Middleton Woods (l’assistente di Finleigh). Prod.: Stanley Donen, Cary Grant per Grandon Productions, Ltd.. 35 mm. D.: 100’. Technicolor.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

A certain Archie Leach, by now the quintessential Cary Grant, returns to London one rainy evening. He wears an elegant dark suit and has a tailcoat packed in a small suitcase. Considering his baggage is limited to the strictly superfluous, it’s not hard to imagine that he doesn’t intend to stay long; indeed, he says he never cared much for the English capital. But can we trust him? Lying is his habit: for example, he claims to be already married to steer clear of the matrimonial enthusiasm of the beautiful women he meets along his travels as a rich American abroad. With this overused lie, Norman Krasna (the scriptwriter of Hands Across the Table, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and a cascade of romantic comedies between the 30 and 60s) crafts the plot of a sophisticated two-person game, while the young composer Robert Bennett saturates the film with a music both languid and deep, music for distinguished lovers. So what’s the legacy of Indiscreet, a comedy stuck between two masterpieces at the height of Grant’s seductive appeal, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest? Indiscretions, of course. First, the sexual desire that inundates Bergman as soon as she sets her eyes on Grant and shines through her skin under an uneven layer of cold cream: a sublime and comic scene that brings along the shadow of the past, of a déjà vu, of a “we looked at each other in the same way then”, with Bergman reusing the wild, defenceless look Alicia had in her eyes when watching Devlin’s footsteps, twelve years earlier, in Notorious. Second, Grant letting himself go at the ball with a mécanique jig, first dancing with one woman, then another and finally happily by himself; he loses that slightly tired air and turns back in to the man who “carries the holiday in his eye” (Stanley Cavell). He laughs looking slyly in the direction of someone who can only be Stanley Donen, the master who was able to evoke the British Archie Leach, acrobat and tightrope walker, from the quintessential Cary Grant – adapting his wild whims to the cut of a perfect tuxedo. Third, indiscreet is the colour in Indiscreet, painting the surface of a finely conventional comedy with bold touches of modernity, transforming a wall into a pantone-collection and kitchen shelves into delicate chromatic installations. On the other hand, that’s what we’re for here today, isn’t it? Let’s see if we make it on time, so we don’t lose the delight of opening credits in the shape of roses and in the purest Bauhaus hues.

Paola Cristalli


Copy From

by courtesy of Park Circus.
Vintage 35mm Technicolor print part of the Robert Harris Collection.