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Enchantment
Enchantment
Actors: David Niven, Teresa Wright, Evelyn Keyes, Farley Granger, Jayne Meadows
Director: Irving Reis
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family
NR     2005     1hr 40min

Two generations of lovers struggle to determine whether practicality or passion should guide their fate in this "heartwarming and delightful" (The Hollywood Reporter) tale. Starring Academy Award┬(r) winners* David Niven a...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: David Niven, Teresa Wright, Evelyn Keyes, Farley Granger, Jayne Meadows
Director: Irving Reis
Creators: Gregg Toland, Daniel Mandell, Samuel Goldwyn, John Patrick, Rumer Godden
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Classics, Kids & Family
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/08/2005
Original Release Date: 12/25/1948
Theatrical Release Date: 12/25/1948
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Beautiful and tender love story following 2 generations
04/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A little girl is brought into a house the day her parents died in a tragic accident. She is raised by a cruel stepsister, however she is treated kindly by her two stepbrothers. The story unfolds through their lives and the lives of their children. It is a story about love and missed opportunities and the value opening your heart and not missing out on the beauty life has to offer because of fear of emotional hurt. I hope you will enjoy this wonderful classic movie. The cast does a fine job, especially David Niven. If you are a David Niven fan you will definitely enjoy this movie."
A film about true love lost and about to happen again.
01/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A beautifully acted movie with a love story of long ago interspersed with a present one. David Niven, Teresa Wright, Evelyn Keyes and Farley Granger play the leads and you watch their development in great hope that history will not repeat itself a second time. This film, made in 1948, is set in World War II London. The pressing crisis of the war threatens the one romance while the one from long ago was threatened by a different force. You will enjoy this movie tremendously -- I highly recommend it!"
Very Romantic!
Saucy Varlat | an island | 03/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first saw this movie on television as a child. It became one of my all time favorite movies. I was so affected by it that when my first and only child was born I named her Lark after Theresa Wright's character. To this day both she and I get compliments and questions regarding the origin of her unique and beautiful name. I would recommend this film to everyone I know!
"
Extremely Original Storytelling Technique
Only-A-Child | 04/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"58 years before "Monster House" - a film about a neighborhood terrorized by a house - there was "Enchantment" (1948); a film narrated by a house. I'm not kidding; the house provides a brief bookend voice-over commentary; introducing the story and then wrapping things up at the conclusion.

Fortunately this house is much better behaved than its 2006 successor because 95% of the film takes place under its roof. The modest set means that second-to-none cinematographer Gregg Toland's expertise is somewhat wasted. There wasn't much for him to apply himself to here other than some interesting lighting and a series of interesting match cut transitions (more about these later).

"Enchantment" is a romance, more precisely two romances as the film tells the story of wartime romances in a London family during both the WWI and WWII. Set in 1944, the film opens with retired General Roland (Rollo) Dane (a convincingly aged David Nivin) pining away over his lost opportunity for true love. Upon the death of his sister Selina he moved back into his boyhood home because it contains memories of his lost love Lark (Teresa Wright). Lark was an orphan his family adopted when she was eight. Rollo and Lark fell in love when they grew up but shrewish sister Selina managed to derail the romance. Lark marries someone else and Rollo pursues a career in the Army. They never see each other again.

Enter niece Grizel (Evelyn Keyes-Scarlett O'Hara's little sister) who comes to wartime London from America. Grizel is an ambulance driver who moves in with her great uncle Rollo. Grizel begins a romance with a wounded Canadian officer named Pax (Farley Granger), who turns out to be Lark's nephew.

Now this may not sound very promising, but "Enchantment" transcends ordinary romantic melodrama by the way in which it tells its tale (and I'm not talking about the talking house). The story is told by cutting back and forth between two parallel romantic story lines taking place in the same house; Rollo and Lark during WWI and Grizel and Pax during WWII. This device works quite well and is worth watching just to see the match cut transitions that move the film back and forth between the two romances. There are ten of these transitions. The camera holds on the door inside Selina's bedroom as the story flashbacks to the same spot 25+ years earlier. Then a place-setting at the dinner table takes the story forward. The transitions continue; using a chandelier, a mantle clock, the fireplace, the sidewalk, and the staircase. But this is more than just a slick editing trick. Each match cut is designed to draw attention to parallels between Grizel and her predecessors in the house. Which is why she is given Selina's old room. The climatic transition does not use the match cut technique, presumably to indicate that the later romance will have a more upbeat outcome than the earlier one.

The final match cut involves a set of house "keys"; probably not a deliberate play on a certain actresses' surname but a symbolic reference (i.e. the key to happiness). The sidewalk transition is the best one as Niven actually morphs into Granger at the same exact point on the sidewalk. This was a dolly tracking shot and the row houses in the background had to line up perfectly (remember this was before digital effects).

For pretty much everyone who has seen"Enchantment", the most memorable images involve eight-year old Lark and ten-year old Rollo; played by real life brother and sister Peter Miles and Gigi Perreau. Gigi totally hijacks the film at this point leaving viewers wishing she had more scenes. Peter (in appearance and style) may remind you of Freddie Highmore ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Finding Neverland").

In fairness to Selina (nicely played by Jayne Meadows), her resentment of the cute little waif is somewhat understandable. Lark immediately brings out the protective instincts of Selina's father and two brothers. Basically supplanting Selina and stealing her destiny.

Niven, Wright, and Keyes are quite good although Keyes never quite sells her shrewish side nor her attraction to Pax. I felt this was mostly due to Granger who was one creepy guy. Hitchcock cast him for his lead in "Rope" for this very quality and while it was an asset in that role it works to everyone's detriment here.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."