Monday, 30 September 2013

Adam and Evelyne (1949)
This was the film that brought Stewart Granger and Jean Simmonds together on screen for the second time (the first being Caesar and Cleopatra four years earlier) and ignited the spark of romance that led to their marriage a year later. It also marked Granger's final British film before leaving for Hollywood and becoming a truly international star.

Jean Simmonds & Stewart Granger

It is effectively a coming of age story in which a young girl

Jean Simmonds
Jean Simmonds
Evelyne Wallace (Simmonds) who has been brought up in an orphanage, blossoms into a beautiful young lady who captures the heart of Adam Black (Granger), a charming rogue who runs an illegal gambling club. She is reunited with what she believes to be her long-lost father, Adam Black. However, her real father was a crooked jockey who had been a wartime comrade of Adam.
This storyline is where the film falls down. The audience isn't certain whether they are watching a drama or a not particularly funny screwball comedy. There are moments where it is light-hearted and other points where the drama is emphasised. In the end, the audience isn't certain. Despite these shortcoming the film has a certain charm and remains watchable. There are also some good lines from Granger who describes a hangover as being:
"When your stomach gets its revenge for what you did to it the night before."
One thing that catches the eye is a lengthy scene in the middle of the film in which Adam shows Evelyne around London. However, in what appears to be an effort to save time and money, neither Granger of Simmonds appear in the scenes. Instead the audience sees only their feet:

The film is also worth noting for an early appearance by Irene Handl:
Stewart Granger & Irene Handl

and a 'blink and you'll miss it' appearance of Dora Bryan in an uncredited role as a shop assistant.
Dora Bryan
As readers of this blog will know, we are interested in how fashions of the day are reflected in films. In this scene we are introduced to Chris Kirby (Fred Johnson), Evelyne's real father. He's a crooked jockey who takes a fall to fix a horserace.
Fred Johnson
How do we know he's crooked? His bow tie. Whilst the modern world sees the bow tie as a symbol of wealth and class, in the mid-20th century bow ties were associated with criminals, bookmakers and the whole horseracing fraternity - who were usually closely linked to crime, especially in the minds of film makers.
Similarly, Adam Black is referred to by his friends as 'Colonel' whether he was a real colonel is debatable although we do know he spent the war in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Whatever the truth, he certainly presents the British cinematic image of a retired army officer, this being conveyed by his wearing of a 'British Warm' overcoat:

Helen Cherry & Stewart Granger
It is also worth noting a subplot relating to Granger's moustache and whether he looks better with it or without it:

I'll let you be the judge!

This rather impressively coloured French poster is currently available from poster dealer Greg Edwards:


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