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THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943) to air on TCM


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  • 2 weeks later...

Seems like a copy exists at the UCLA Film and Television Archives. Since that is a public university, anyone could go to view it there when in the Los Angeles area.

 

I do hope it gets played more than once on TCM.

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Supposedly Charles Boyer did not like his character's development in the script. He also objected to how cold Alexis Smith's character was being portrayed, saying that his character could not possibly love a woman like that or stay with her for very long!

 

Joan Fontaine was not the original choice for CONSTANT NYMPH. Warners had intended to star Joan Leslie in the picture...with Errol Flynn.

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I am about 30 minutes into the film. Beautiful transfer, but gosh, the TCM bug (logo), seems to be constantly in the lower right corner. Is this something now they do? I don't mind an occasional bug, but tonight it started in the credits and went off, then on and now it has been there for about 20 minutes. I guess I will have to wait until it comes to the Archives.

 

 

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Normally the logo only flashes every 20 minutes or so. I am also very disappointed that it is being run non-stop during this, of all movies (I have been counting the days waiting for it!) I hope the logo isn't shown throughout "All Quiet on the Western Front" which I am intending to watch later on tonight.

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This is not a four-star movie, which I was hoping it would be. The cable guide gives it three stars, and I would agree with that assessment. However, it is nice that audiences can finally see it again.

 

It is obvious that Fontaine and Joyce Reynolds are not the same age, even though the make-up and costuming is supposed to make them both look like adolescents. Fontaine is definitely too old for this part, good as she is at conveying the character. Joan Leslie would've been more age-appropriate.

 

I think Errol Flynn would've been better than Charles Boyer, because he projects a confidence and arrogance that this role requires. Boyer is too charming, and this guy is supposed to be a stud and a slight cad with the ladies.

 

Peter Lorre is totally underused in this film. Complete waste of his talent. Any Warners second-tier player could've done his role.

 

The best part of this film is the supporting cast and the set design. Charles Coburn steals every scene he is in, and so does Dame May Whitty. The mansion set is gorgeous and is beautifully furnished.

 

Erich Korngold's score is excellent. But Boyer's piano playing is obviously dubbed and not exactly sync-ed correctly in some scenes. Meanwhile, in one awkward scene, Fontaine has a brief solo, though her vocals are clearly dubbed.

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I was interested in seeing this movie as it was out of circulation for so long. When it screened at the TCM Film Festival I was one of the lucky ones that got to see it.

 

A lot of people fell over themselves to praise the film but it did absolutely nothing for me. It was, however, interesting to sit in a theater with a large audience watching something that nearly all had never seen before.

 

This genre is not for me. Very high strung characters portayed in overwrought performances. I can only guess if Flynn had been in it I might have found it more interesting.

 

Yancey

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Funny that you mention Joan Leslie. When I first saw YANKEE DOODLE DANDY at age six, I thought that Joyce Reynolds who was one of the teens who flustered Cohan in his hammock, looked a lot like Joan Leslie who played his wife.

 

Flash ahead many, many years to when I saw JANIE with Reynolds in the titular role. I still thought the resemblance was there. I didn't see the sequel JANIE GETS MARRIED for a while after that, and when I did, my mind had it that I was looking at Reynolds, only to find that it WAS Joan Leslie this time playing the part. Now I'm watching this film, seeing Reynolds as sister Paula and wishing that Leslie was playing Tessa.

 

I found Fontaine in the early scenes to be too breathy and between that and Boyer's accent, I must have missed a fair amount of dialogue. I would have preferred to see Joan Leslie and Errol Flynn does seem a more likely type to have the surname Dodd.

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> Are they afraid that scenes will be posted on Youtube? I guess any unauthorized copies will be traced back to this TCM broadcast.

 

And likely bootlegged copies on Ebay complete with the TCM logo.

 

It may have been a condition of the contract with the rights owner.

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Bit of trivia and programming suggestion:

 

Charles Boyer previously played a composer in RKO's BREAK OF HEARTS with Katharine Hepburn.

 

So if TCM does re-air CONSTANT NYMPH, it would make a good double-feature with BREAK OF HEARTS which is in the Warner Library.

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Or it would make a good "unrequited love" bill with All This and Heaven Too , Letter From and Unknown Woman and In Name Only

 

You know, the schedule tonight has me thinking: Baby Face could perhaps more accurately be called The Constant Nymph and vice-versa.

 

Based on their titles alone, each could so easily be mistaken for being another sort of story altogether.

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It seems such a rarity to see Joan Fontaine so 'Free Spirited' and girlish when she portrays a young girl in 'The Constant Nymph' ...

 

 

And she always does a great job turning into a 'bundle of nerves' and being so apologetic, such as when she has flowers delivered to Florence with the intentions of saying they were from Lewis. Fritz Barcovy (Peter Lorre) fails to inform Lewis of this, causing Tessa to confess of her intentions. My heart goes out to her when she falls apart apologizing ... I always feel that someone should give her a sedative or something relaxing.

 

 

Joan Fontaine is the same way in 'Rebecca' with Sir Lawrence Olivier and in 'Suspicion' with Cary Grant.

 

 

Are there any movies where she comes off with 'bravada' or 'in you face' kind of acting ...

a 'bad girl' so to speak ??

It would be interesting to know.

 

 

 

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