Storyline: “Uncle Rollo finally retires to the house he was brought up in. Lost in thoughts of his lost love, Lark, he does not want to be disturbed in his last days. However, the appearance of his niece and the subsequent romance between her and Lark’s nephew causes him to re-evaluate his life and offer some advice so the young couple don’t make the same mistake he did all those years ago.” — Mark Harding email@example.com
“There’s no such thing as an empty room.” I love that statement. It creates images and sounds. The film begins with a voice/over of the Dane home as told by the home itself. The film is based on a novel by Rummer Godden. Godden wrote over 60 fiction/non-fiction books. Nine novels were made into films. (Peggy thinks she’s read most of them.) John Patrick wrote the screen play. I was familiar with the name, but didn’t associate any book or film to the writer.
During World War II, Rollo (played by David Niven) wants to retire and dream peacefully of the old days. A distant relative comes to introduce herself and ends up being given an empty room. The man servant Proutie was played by Leo G. Carroll. I knew him as TV’s 1950-ish Cosmo Topper, the man who spoke to the ghosts of a married couple and their alcohol drinking St. Bernard. However, in Enchantment, he appears much taller and robust.
In particular I enjoyed the black and white camera work. It was outstanding and done without the use of computers. There were at least three scenes that had to involve a frozen camera at a dead stop while the scene and lighting were changed for a perfect blend of action, scene, and atmosphere. The scenes of the sky reminded Peg of the perfection of the sky in Stagecoach (1939) and Sahara (1942), the most romantic and evocative sky ever seen.
Official Trailer – imdb.com/video/vi2653798681
Most accolades in the film are for Teresa Wright as Lark and David Niven as Rollo (the main love interests of the film), but I think it was the venomous, back biting Selina (played by Jayne Meadows) that provided the critical crux of the film becauss her hatefulness tore at the heartstrings of the characters and the viewers. I never thought much of Jayne Meadows, but if she was in a scene in Enchantment, you knew someone was going to be manipulated. Meadows performed in eight films from 1946 to 1951, including Enchantment in 1948. She later married Steve Allen and the two worked well together as husband and wife even though he was a Democrat and she was a Republican.
I found the film on Prime. I had seen the name and image numerous times, but it was Christmas that got us acquainted. Christmas day was long and exhausting. I went to bed at seven and woke up at midnight . . . and was drawn to Enchantment. Peg came and climbed into bed with her clothes on and curled up next to me and watched most of the ending before drifting off. The next morning, we watched the entire film together.
Handsome, tastefully produced romance with a warm glow…
The 1940s seemed to be the decade of the romantic “women’s films” featuring stars like Bette Davis, Merle Oberon, Olivia de Havilland and others. And Samuel Goldwyn had the good taste to hire the best script writers, the best cinematographers, the best musicians, and the best available actors to play in all of his films.
None was more romantic than ENCHANTMENT and it has a warm glow about it, despite being a tale of unrequited love whereby an elderly man (DAVID NIVEN) in convincing age make-up) recalls his younger days and his sweetheart (TERESA Wright) who leaves him because of a misunderstanding caused by his neurotic sister (JAYNE MEADOWS).
When a young woman ambulance driver (EVELYN KEYES), who happens to be his niece, comes to stay in the grand old house during the London blitz of World War II, he advises her not to make the same mistake he did in following his true love. Result: a happy ending for Keyes and her pilot lover FARLEY GRANGER when she goes rushing after him during an air raid.
The tale is told in a clever use of flashbacks from one generation to the other, and all of it is photographed in crisp B&W splendor by Gregg Toland with a quietly effective musical score by Hugo Friedhofer. It’s a handsomely mounted production, tastefully done without overdoing the sentimentality of the tale. LEO G. CARROLL is excellent as Niven’s servant, realistically aged for the part of the tale that takes place in the present.
Highly recommended as a quality picture of its kind.
It’s also a sad reminder of the fact that after leaving Samuel Goldwyn under the contract system, TERESA WRIGHT’s screen career floundered and she soon found that she had to work for lesser salaries in films not worthy of her presence. She became a free agent but admitted that it turned out to be a huge mistake.