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Separate Tables
Separate Tables
Actors: Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Burt Lancaster, Wendy Hiller
Director: Delbert Mann
Genres: Drama
NR     2001     1hr 40min

Terence Rattigan's pair of one-act plays are deftly woven together into this intelligent, handsome drama, a kind of somber Grand Hotel of lonely and repressed lives at a British seaside hotel in the dreary off-season. D...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Burt Lancaster, Wendy Hiller
Director: Delbert Mann
Creators: Charles Lang, Charles Ennis, Harold Hecht, Harry Horner, John Gay, John Michael Hayes, Terence Rattigan
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Classics, Family Life
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/11/2001
Original Release Date: 12/18/1958
Theatrical Release Date: 12/18/1958
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Top Billing for the Entire Cast!
A. Wolverton | Crofton, MD United States | 10/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When Separate Tables was released, the agents of Deborah Kerr and Rita Hayworth fought for top billing in the opening credits. It's easy to understand after viewing this powerful film. Separate Tables is a great study in human nature and relationships among people who are far from faultless. Burt Lancaster displays both intense anger and hopeless longing as his former wife Rita Hayworth comes back into his life. David Niven (who won an Oscar for this role) is superb as the military man with a past. Watch Niven as he is confronted with the truth about himself and how he interacts with his friends and those who once were his friends. The strength of the film is in its casting. In the hands of lesser actors, the film would turn into a very sappy melodrama. I am anxious to view the film again just to catch all the subtle facial expressions that these wonderful actors use to make their characters even more believable. A great ensemble, a great film."
Wonderful museum piece from the fifties.
Mary Whipple | New England | 07/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Produced in 1958 by Harold Hecht and directed by Delbert Mann, Separate Tables takes place at the tiny Beauregard Hotel, a seaside resort on England's south coast, which serves in the winter as "a refuge for the lonely, resigned, and desperate." The main feature of the hotel is its separate tables, rather than "family style" dining, for the guests. The cast is a who's who of fifties stars--David Niven (who won an Oscar for his role), Deborah Kerr, Bert Lancaster, Rita Hayworth, and Wendy Hiller (who also won an Oscar)--all playing characters who live as separated from the world as their tables are in the dining room.

The Major (Niven) sets the action in motion when he is reported in the local newspaper as having been guilty of "insulting behavior" in a movie theater, and his war record is published. Niven is worshipped from afar by Sybil Railton-Bell (Kerr), a pathetically neurotic woman, subject to hysteria, who is totally controlled by her demanding mother. John Malcolm (Lancaster), was once married to former model Ann Shankland (Hayworth), who has suddenly come to visit him at the hotel, possibly to rekindle their flame, but he is already secretly engaged to Pat Cooper (Hiller), the manager of the hotel. A variety of eccentric subordinate characters add color, and occasionally humor, to the action. These isolated characters soon begin to find their lives intersecting and overlapping, and they eventually come to a poignant reckoning in the hotel dining room, as everyone arrives at his/her separate table.

The cinematography (Charles Lang) and music (David Raksin), both nominated for Academy Awards, provide subtle emphasis for the character dramas going on in the hotel, rather than calling attention to themselves. Character dramas were less common in the plot-driven 1950s than they are today, and these characters will now be seen as stereotypes by today's audience, and their actions predictable. Sybil (Kerr) seems particularly unrealistic now, her constant refrain of "Yes, Mummy," an insistent reminder of how times have changed. Lancaster seems a bit out of his element as a character actor, and Hayworth, in her buttoned up blouse, seems a bit uncertain about how to handle such a subtle role. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful study of actors and acting from the 1950s, and the writing (by Terence Rattigan and John Gay), direction, and cinematography, which showcase the cast, are superb. A classic film. Mary Whipple"
Classy entertainment
Robert Ortiz | The Southwest | 08/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a superb film that stars Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, David Niven and Burt Lancaster as guests staying at an English seaside resort named Beauregard Hotel. Each of the guests contends with different problems and complications, but the one thing in common is their loneliness. Rita Hayworth is a woman whose vanity hides her fear of growing old alone. She tries to make another go of her marriage to an alcoholic writer named John Malcolm (Burt Lancaster). John however is in love with Pat Cooper (Wendy Hiller) the hotel's manager. Deborah Kerr is Sibyl Railton-Bell, a shy spinster who is dominated by her mother (Gladys Cooper). Sibyl has feelings for Major Pollack (David Niven) a supposed war hero that hides a dark secret. This is a very captivating film with excellent performances and good dialogue. Also starring are Cathleen Nesbitt, Felix Aylmer and Rod Taylor. This is a very complex and mature film that deserves multiple viewings. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!"
"Big things come in small packages"
William Hare | 08/15/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Excellent drama set in a seaside hotel which acts as a cruicible and window onto the human conflicts and frailties which lay beneath the surface of everday human lives. The movie excells in it's realism and depicition of integral human traits of love, jelousy, vanity and evil. Emotions and flaws which are as vivid and alive not only in wars, revolutions and mass upheavals, but also in the intertwining lives of all of us, including the inhabitants of this seemingly tranquil boarding house. Highly recommended. One of Burt Lancaster's best films."