AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Claudia
Director: Edmund Goulding (Dir)
Release Date:   3 Sep 1943
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Omaha, NE: late Aug 1943; Los Angeles opening: 2 Sep 1943
Production Date:   29 Apr--10 Jun 1943
Duration (in mins):   90-91
Duration (in feet):   8,250
Duration (in reels):   9
Print this page
Display Movie Summary


Cast:   Dorothy McGuire (Claudia Naughton)  
    Robert Young (David Naughton)  
    Ina Claire (Mrs. Brown)  
    Reginald Gardiner (Jerry Seymour)  
    Olga Baclanova (Madame Daruschka)  
    Jean Howard (Julia Naughton)  
    Frank Tweddell (Fritz)  
    Elsa Janssen (Bertha)  
    John Royce (Carl)  
    Frank Fenton (Hartley)  
    Ferdinand Munier (Mr. Feiffer)  
    Winifred Harris (Mrs. Feiffer)  
    Jessie Grayson (Maid)  

Summary: Lovely, young Claudia Naughton lives with her architect husband David in the Connecticut farmhouse that he designed. Despite Claudia's immaturity and fiscal irresponsibility, David deeply loves his delightful, energetic wife. Claudia's mother, Mrs. Brown, visits the couple frequently, although both she and David are trying to ease Claudia's extreme dependence on her. One evening, Mrs. Brown confides in David that she is ill and must return to New York the next morning for x-rays. David agrees not to tell Claudia and takes Mrs. Brown to the train station in the morning. After they depart, English playwright Jerry Seymour, who has recently moved to the community, comes to the farmhouse for help fixing a flat tire. Claudia, who habitually eavesdrops on the telephone party line, already knows who Jerry is, and although the womanizing Jerry is impressed by Claudia's beauty, he is surprised that she is married because she looks so young. David returns after Jerry leaves, and Claudia attempts to provoke his jealousy by describing Jerry's flirtatiousness. The ever-practical David refuses to indulge Claudia's whims, but does press her for an honest answer about whether she enjoys living on the farm, for he has spent most of his inheritance on it and is worried about the taxes and bills. Although she secretly longs to return to New York, where she can be with her mother every day, Claudia assures David that she wants to stay on the farm. The next day, David's sister-in-law Julia comes for luncheon along with her friend, an eccentric Russian singer named Madame Daruschka, who falls in love with the farm and offers Claudia thirty thousand dollars for it. Hoping to prove to David that she is a smart businesswoman, Claudia accepts the offer. Julia then outfits Claudia in one of her old negligees, and the glamorous young woman awes Jerry when he comes by for a visit. Much to Claudia's chagrin, Julia assumes that Jerry is her lover, and offers her tacit approval before leaving. Jerry bestows a forceful kiss upon Claudia and is surprised when she asks for another. David returns as they are embracing and angrily orders Claudia to change clothes. David castigates Jerry for taking advantage of the naïve Claudia, but after Jerry departs, Claudia explains to her infuriated husband that she did it to prove to him that other men find her attractive. Claudia assures David that she loves him more than ever, but he cautions her to take the responsibilities of marriage more seriously. David is again hurt when Claudia then announces that she has sold the farm. After David goes upstairs, Claudia has a dizzy spell and Bertha, their housekeeper, suggests that she is suffering from morning sickness. Although David worries that Claudia is too young to be a mother, her infectious joy pleases him. Before they leave for the doctor's office, however, David answers a call from Mrs. Brown, who has received bad news from the doctor. Mrs. Brown again asks David not to tell Claudia, but Claudia has listened in on the telephone extension and realizes that her mother is dying. David then takes Claudia to the doctor, who confirms her pregnancy. Upon their return home, Claudia is so despondent that David advises her to "make friends" with her pain, for it is part of growing up. Claudia struggles with her emotions and tells David that she now wants to stay on the farm, which is their real home. When Mrs. Brown arrives from the train station, Claudia tries to pretend that she is unaware of her condition, but her sensitivity and new maturity make Mrs. Brown aware that she knows the truth. Mrs. Brown is thrilled about the baby, although she insists that she will not live with the Naughtons full-time. Julia then arrives for a brief visit and announces that she has just reconciled with her estranged husband. While Julia and Claudia talk, Mrs. Brown realizes that Claudia will have the strength to let her go, and after Julia leaves, Claudia tenderly tucks her mother into bed. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Production Text: William Goetz In Charge of Production
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Edmund Goulding (Dir)
  Percy Ikerd (Asst dir)
Producer: William Perlberg (Prod)
Writer: Morrie Ryskind (Adpt for the screen by)
  Rose Franken (Contr wrt)
  William Brown Meloney (Contr wrt)
  Edmund Goulding (Contr wrt)
Photography: Leon Shamroy (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: James Basevi (Art dir)
  Albert Hogsett (Art dir)
Film Editor: Robert Simpson (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
  Paul S. Fox (Assoc)
Costumes: Renè Hubert (Cost)
Music: Alfred Newman (Mus)
Sound: Eugene Grossman (Sd)
  Roger Heman (Sd)
Special Effects: Fred Sersen (Spec photog eff)
Make Up: Guy Pearce (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: R. L. Hough (Prod mgr)
Country: United States

Songs: "From Yesterday Till Tomorrow," music by Alfred Newman, lyrics by Edmund Goulding and Charles Henderson; "Cow Call," music by Edmund Goulding, lyrics by Olga Baclanova.
Composer: Olga Baclanova
  Edmund Goulding
  Charles Henderson
  Alfred Newman
Source Text: Based on the play Claudia by Rose Franken, as produced for the stage by John Golden (New York, 12 Feb 1941).
Authors: John Golden
  Rose Franken

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 3/9/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP12527

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Drama
  Drama
Sub-Genre: Domestic
  with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Death and dying
  Innocents
  Marriage
  Maturation
  Mothers and daughters
  Pregnancy
 
Subjects (Minor): Architects
  City-country contrast
  Connecticut
  Eavesdropping
  English
  Farms
  Great Danes
  Infidelity
  In-laws
  Jealousy
  Kisses
  Playwrights
  Robbery
  Russians
  Servants
  Singers
  Tomboys
  Womanizers

Note: Rose Franken's popular characters "Claudia" and "David" first appeared in a series of ten short stories in Redbook (Oct 1938--Aug 1939). The stories, with additional material, were printed in book form as Claudia, the Story of a Marriage in 1939. Another book, Claudia and David , was published in 1940 and included two more magazine stories that had appeared in Redbook in late 1940. Both books served as the basis for Franken's play, and she added several more short stories and books to the series.
       The following information comes from contemporary news items, the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, and the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library: David O. Selznick was the first producer to purchase the rights to Franken's play, and in late Mar 1941, asked for the PCA's opinion about the property. In response, the PCA advised Selznick that while the basic story was acceptable, "Claudia's interest in the sex life of the animals on the farm, her somewhat naïve discussion of her own sex reactions and interests, and the discussion of her pregancy" would have to be deleted. A 22 Jun 1941 NYT article reported that Joan Fontaine, Dorothy McGuire and Katharine Hepburn were "all possible Claudias," according to Selznick. A 9 Mar 1942 HR news item noted that Selznick had signed Cary Grant for the role of David and would feature McGuire in the reprisal of her well-received Broadway performance as Claudia. Selznick hired Franken and her husband, William Brown Meloney, to write the screenplay, and by Apr 1942, was considering starring Jennifer Jones as Claudia instead of McGuire. According to a modern source, Selznick ordered numerous screen tests of Jones for the role.
       According to HR news items, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Franken's play from Selznick in Nov 1942. The complicated sale had ramifications for other films, including Jane Eyre and Keys of the Kingdom (see below), and provided for the equal division of McGuire's contract between Selznick and Twentieth Century-Fox.
       The legal records indicate that Franken and Brown continued to work on the screenplay of Claudia for Twentieth Century-Fox in 1943, and that Franken protested the fact that she would not receive an onscreen screenplay credit. Jason S. Joy, the studio's public relations director, presented the matter to the Screen Writers' Guild, which ruled that, although the screenplay was closely based on the play, Franken did not make enough original contributions to the screenplay to warrant an onscreen credit. The Guild did suggest, however, that Morrie Ryskind be listed as the adaptor of the play rather than the author of the screenplay.
       According to a 25 Feb 1943 HR news item, both Frances Starr, who originated the role of "Mrs. Brown" on the New York stage, and Beverly Bayne, who appeared in the Chicago production of the play, were under consideration for the part of Mrs. Brown. Mar 1943 HR news items reveal that Twentieth Century-Fox considered both Don Ameche and Franchot Tone for the role of David before borrowing Robert Young from M-G-M for the part. McGuire (1918--2001)made her screen debut in Claudia , for which Olga Baclanova and Frank Tweddell also reprised their roles from the original stage presentation. A 5 Apr 1943 HR news item noted that Pola Negri had been tested for the role of "Madame Daruschka" before Baclanova was signed. The film marked the last screen appearance of Baclanova, who had not appeared in a picture since the 1933 Paramount release The Billion Dollar Scandal (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0339). A 25 Aug 1943 HR news item indicates that Claudia had its world premiere in Omaha, Nebraska, McGuire's hometown, in late Aug 1943.
       In 1946, Twentieth Century-Fox produced a sequel to Claudia entitled Claudia and David , for which McGuire and Robert Young reprised their roles and William Perlberg again acted as producer. Although the studio had planned to produce another sequel, in Aug 1946 HR announced that the film would not be made largely due to "difficulty in simultaneously obtaining" McGuire and Young. Franken's characters were also featured in a radio series entitled Claudia , which was broadcast on CBS, Jul--Sep 1941. The show re-appeared in syndication in 1947. The television series Claudia, the Story of a Marriage was telecast 6 Jan 1952--30 Jun 1952 on the NBC and CBS networks, and featured Joan McCracken and Hugh Reilly as the married couple. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   21 Aug 1943.   
Daily Variety   16 Aug 43   p. 3.
Film Daily   19 Aug 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Mar 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Apr 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Sep 42   p. 1, 10
Hollywood Reporter   25 Sep 42   p. 1, 9
Hollywood Reporter   30 Sep 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Oct 42   p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter   16 Nov 42   p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter   10 Dec 42   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Feb 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Mar 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Mar 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Apr 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Apr 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   10 May 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jun 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Aug 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Aug 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Aug 43   pp. 5-7.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Nov 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jul 46   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Aug 46   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Dec 46   p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter   12 Dec 46   p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter   13 Dec 46   p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter   18 Dec 46   p. 1, 10
Hollywood Reporter   20 Dec 46   p. 1, 33
Motion Picture Daily   16 Aug 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald   21 Aug 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   21 Aug 43   p. 1493.
New York Times   22 Jun 1941.   
New York Times   6 Oct 1941.   
New York Times   16 Nov 1942.   
New York Times   7 Feb 1943.   
New York Times   5 Nov 43   p. 4.
Variety   18 Aug 43   p. 10.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2016 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.