Port of Seven Seas


Port of Seven Seas

Infobox Film
name = Port of Seven Seas


image_size = 215px
caption = theatrical poster
director = James Whale
producer = Henry Henigson
writer = Marcel Pagnol "(plays)"
Preston Sturges
narrator =
starring = Wallace Beery
music = Franz Waxman
cinematography = Karl Freund
editing = Frederick Y. Smith
distributor = MGM
released = 1 July 1938
runtime = 81 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English
budget =
gross =
imdb_id = 0030615

"Port of Seven Seas" is a 1938 dramatic film starring Wallace Beery and featuring Frank Morgan and Maureen O'Sullivan. It was written by Preston Sturges based on the plays of Marcel Pagnol and the films based on them, and was directed by James Whale (director of "Frankenstein" and "The Invisible Man"). The cinematography is by Karl Freund, who filmed Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and "I Love Lucy".

Plot

In the French port of Marseilles, a lovely young woman named Madelon (Maureen O'Hara) is in love with a young sailor, Marius (John Beal). Madelon in turn is loved by Honore Panisse (Frank Morgan), a well-to-do middle-aged sailmaker. When Marius finds out he must go to sea for three years, he leaves without saying goodbye to Madelon; in a note he tells her that it would break his heart to tell her in person. She rushes to the dock, but sees his ship sailing away, and faints, so Cesar, Marius' father (Wallace Beery), who already thinks of Madelon as one of the family, carries her to her home.

Later, Madelon finds out that she is pregnant, and to spare her the shame of a child born out of wedlock, Panisse asks Madelon to marry him, and she agrees to a marriage of convenience for the sake of the child. When the boy is born, Cesar is made the godfather, and the baby is named Cesar Marius Panisse.

A year later Marius unexpectedly returns from sea to buy some equipment for his ship. Visiting Madelon that night, he sees the baby and realizes that he is the father. He asks her to steal away with him, but she refuses. Despite her love for Marius, she knows that Panisse, who adores the child, will be a better father than Marius, who will be away at sea for many years at a time. Marius leaves, shaking Panisse's hand before he goes, and Panisse and Madelon happily look at their baby's first tooth.Deming, Mark [http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:106402~T0 Plot synopsis (Allmovie)] ] [TCM [http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=3393&category=Full%20Synopsis Full synopsis] ]

Cast

*Wallace Beery as Cesar
*Frank Morgan as Panisse
*Maureen O'Sullivan as Madelon
*John Beal as Marius
*Jessie Ralph as Honorine
*Cora Witherspoon as Claudine
*Etienne Giradot as Bruneau
*E. Alyn Warren as Captain Escartefigue
*Robert Spindola as Boy
*Doris Lloyd as Customer
*Jerry Colonna as Arab Rug Dealer (uncredited)

Production

Although the credited basis of "Port of Seven Seas" was Marcel Pagnol's 1931 play "Fanny", the screenplay incorporated some incidents from three French films written by Pagnol based on his plays: "Marius" (fy|1931), directed by Alexander Korda, [imdb title|0022125|Marius] "Fanny" (fy|1932), directed by Marc Allegret, [imdb title|0022877|Fanny (1932)] , and "Cesar" (fy|1936), which Pagnol directed. [imdb title|0027489|Cesar]

William Wyler was slated to direct the film at the time that Preston Sturges was brought into the project, the working titles for which were "Fanny", "Madelon", "Life on the Waterfront" and "Man of the Waterfront".TCM [http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=3393&category=Notes Notes] ] Ernest Vajda had been reported to one of the screenwriters, but was not credited. The project was considered by Universal Studios in late 1933 or early 1934, but was dropped sometime after Joseph I. Breen, who supervised the Production Code, rejected the submitted script. Paramount Pictures had some interest in it, before the script ended up at MGM by July fy|1936. Although the MGM script was still essentially the one that Universal had submitted to the Hays Office, this time the censors found it "acceptable", and it was approved on 15 March, fy|1938. This did not prevent the Legion of Decency from protesting that the film "lower [ed] the standards" that the Production Code was designed to uphold.

"Port of Seven Seas" was in production from late December fy|1937 through 28 January fy|1938, with retakes completed on 23 February. [TCM [http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=3393&category=Overview Overview] ] Shortly before production started, Luise Rainer, who was to have played "Madelon" was replaced by Maureen O'Sullivan because of a bad cold.

The film was released on 1 July fy|1938, [IMDB [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030615/releaseinfo Release dates] ] the long delay coming about because the studio considered the subject matter "dangerous" for the film industry while Congress was considering legislation which had implications for film censorship.

Other versions

Pagnol's plays provided source material for the three French films noted above, a fy|1933 Italian film named "Fanny", [imdb title|0024002|Fanny (1933)] the fy|1934 German film "Der Schwarze Walfisch" ("The Black Whale"), [imdb title|0025753|Der Schwarze Walfisch] , the 1954 Broadway musical Fanny, [ibdb title| |Fanny] and the 1961 non-musical film based in part on it. [imdb title|0054866|Fanny (1961)] . Even though many situations and incidents in the 1961 film originated in "Port of the Seven Seas", neither it nor Preston Sturges was credited.

Notes

External links

*imdb title|0030615
*tcmdb title|3393
*amg movie|1:106402


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