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The Constant Nymph (1943)

Not Rated | | Drama, Music, Romance | 10 July 1943 (Mexico)
The daughter of a musical mentor is hopelessly in love with her cousin's husband, a handsome composer.

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writers:

Kathryn Scola (screenplay), Margaret Kennedy (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Boyer ... Lewis Dodd
Joan Fontaine ... Tessa Sanger
Alexis Smith ... Florence Creighton
Brenda Marshall ... Toni Sanger
Charles Coburn ... Charles Creighton
May Whitty ... Lady Longborough (as Dame May Whitty)
Peter Lorre ... Fritz Bercovy
Joyce Reynolds ... Paula Sanger
Jean Muir ... Kate Sanger
Montagu Love ... Albert Sanger
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Roberto (as Edward Ciannelli)
Janine Crispin ... Marie
Doris Lloyd ... Miss Hamilton
Joan Blair Joan Blair ... Lina
André Charlot André Charlot ... Dr. Renee (as Andre Charlot)
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Storyline

Fourteen-year-old Tessa is hopelessly in love with handsome composer Lewis Dodd, a family friend. Lewis adores Tessa, but has never shown any romantic feelings toward her. When Tessa's father dies, Lewis contacts her late mother's wealthy family so they'll take care of Tessa and her sisters. Lewis becomes taken with Tessa's haughty cousin Florence and the two soon marry and head off for Florence's estate in England. Meanwhile, Florence sends Tessa and her sister Paula off to finishing school. The girls run away from school and Tessa moves in with Florence and Louis. Florence soon becomes consumed with jealousy over the bond between her husband and Tessa. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He tried to divide his heart and broke theirs.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 July 1943 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

La ninfa constante See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Fontaine's Best Actress Oscar nominated performance was the only one in the category not in a Best Picture nominee that year. See more »

Quotes

Florence Creighton: You flung yourself at my husband in this house and you succeeded!
Tessa Sanger: I can't help it if I love Lewis! I did long before you came to Switzerland and it's not a happy thing. It's brought nothing but sadness into my life, and yet it's so overwhelming I wouldn't want it to be different.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Between Two Worlds: Erich Wolfgang Korngold (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Tomorrow
(uncredited)
Words by Margaret Kennedy
by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Sung by Joan Fontaine (dubbed by Sally Sweetland) with chamber group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Delicate Matter For The Code
31 January 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In this last and only American version of The Constant Nymph the omnipresent Code had to be dealt with rather delicately in order for this film to get to the big screen. It involves nothing less than a middle aged man falling in love with an underage girl. No wonder the original casting of Errol Flynn was scratched by Jack Warner.

In 1943 as Robert Osborne said rather delicately himself, Flynn was having some 'legal problems'. He sure was, he was facing a charge of statutory rape and was fighting for his career. No wonder he was scratched and Charles Boyer substituted as the pianist/composer. Even without the rape charge I don't Flynn would have been suitable casting in that role in any event.

But it was Joan Fontaine who got the Oscar recognition with a nomination for Best Actress playing a teenager of barely legal age who has a congenital heart problem and who charms Boyer. In the original novel and the play made from it, Boyer's character actually runs off with the Fontaine character.

Some of the same territory was tread on by Billy Wilder in The Major And The Minor, but Ginger Rogers was only pretending to be an adolescent.

Boyer meets Fontaine and her siblings Brenda Marshall, Jean Muir, and Joyce Reynolds at the home of their father Montagu Love. When he dies the girls go to their uncle Charles Coburn to live, except Marshall who marries Peter Lorre. That in itself is something, how often does Peter Lorre get the girl? Boyer marries Coburn's daughter Alexis Smith, but Smith senses something wrong and develops a jealousy of Fontaine. Turns out that while Boyer doesn't do anything, she's right to be suspicious.

The novel by Margaret Kennedy was turned into a play by Basil Dean and debuted in London with no less than Noel Coward and Edna Best in the leads. It ran 148 performances on Broadway in the 1926-27 season and two film versions across the pond were made, a silent with Ivor Novello and another sound version that starred Brian Aherne who would later marry Joan Fontaine. I'd be curious to see how the whole May/September romance was handled there.

Fontaine lost the Oscar that year to newcomer Jennifer Jones who was also playing a juvenile of a different kind in The Song Of Bernadette.

The Constant Nymph is a strange yet curiously winning film. One wonders how the story would be done today in a film.


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