Indiscreet

  • Title:  Indiscreet
  • Director:  Stanley Donen
  • Date:  1958
  • Studio:  Republic Pictures
  • Genre:  Romance
  • Cast:  Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman
  • Format:  Technicolor, Widescreen
  • Format:  R1, NTSC

“I’m the wrongest woman you’ve ever seen and I’m going to pay him back with interest!”  — Ingrid Bergman

Probably one of Cary Grant’s less-known romances, I picked it up in a bargain bin someplace.  However, the presence of Ingrid Bergman makes the film watchable.  The plot is also a bit backwards or reversed — where else would one see a woman get extremely angry and plotting her revenge when she discovers her lover of several months is not married.

Bergman plays Anna, a well-known actress of some acclaim.  She’s wealthy and independent, and bored stiff by the parade of suitors at her door.

Grant is Philip, a diplomat, who bores easily and thus has come to the conclusion he should remain a bachelor.

Anna and Philip meet thanks to another couple and go to a dinner together, they have a marvelous time, and Anna invites Philip to her apartment for a “nightcap”.  Philip accepts the invitation, then tells her he’s married, he’s separated from his wife, and he can’t get a divorce.  And so begins their affair.  Philip turns down a job in Mexico and accepts a job working for NATO in Paris, then flies to London every weekend to spend time with Anna.  The two attend ballets and gallery openings and they enjoy dinners and long walks.  They spend several months together in their “illicit” affair.  And slowly the two fall in love.

Things begin to unravel when Philip is “offered” a job in New York, a job he has to take that will take him away from London for five months.  Anna is heart-broken that he will leave her.  But Philip has a surprise, he talks her into toasting him at midnight, on her birthday, the next day — when he’s supposed to be on a boat for the US.  Anna’s brother-in-law confronts him about his secret — he’s not married, he’s single. Philip explains he came up with the lie of a non-existent wife to avoid having to say “He’s not the marrying kind”, but admits his plan to surprise Anna on her birthday.  The brother-in-law, finding out from Anna that she plans to fly to the US to meet Philip, talks her out of it by saying, essentially, “but he plans on surprising you by being here”.  Unfortunately, he slips up and also tells her Philip is single, which enrages Anna.

That night there’s a big dance at the same place where Philip and Anna had their first date.  Anna seethes through the entire evening; and plots her revenge when she sees an old suitor at the dance, and someone sends her a red rose – she assumes it’s from the old suitor.  There is a very nice scene of country dancing by the way!

That night, supposedly their last night together, Anna plays games with Philip.  Bergman’s performance, like the scene where she loses it when she learns the truth about Philip, is brilliant.  She can bring so many emotions to relatively simple dialogue!  The next night, her birthday, Anna’s filled her flat with roses and candles, and plans for David to meet her for dinner, half an hour before Philip is due to surprise her. David, fortunately, is struck down with appendicitis and doesn’t make it.  Anna attempts to substitute Karl, her Chauffeur for David, only to have the mess backfire on her.  Fortunately, Philip comes in to give her a second chance, after all he did propose to her!  And they all live happily ever after.

Again, a fairly standard romantic movie, not a lot of entanglements.  If David, Anna’s old suitor, has actually been a character in the film and not just someone who’s mentioned (even if played by Ralph Bellamy) it would have worked a bit better and given the film some more tension.  But still, the leads are good actors, and it has a slightly unusual plot.

Recommendation:  Not bad if you’re in the mood for romance
Rating:  3 out of 5 Stars
Next Film:  It Happened One Night

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