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Darling, How Could You!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Darling, How Could You!
Directed byMitchell Leisen
Written byDodie Smith
Lesser Samuels
Based onAlice Sit-by-the-Fire
by J. M. Barrie
StarringJoan Fontaine
CinematographyDaniel L. Fapp
Edited byAlma Macrorie
Eda Warren
Music byFriedrich Hollaender
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
August 8, 1951
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Darling, How Could You!, trailer

Darling, How Could You! is a 1951 American period comedy film directed by Mitchell Leisen and starring Joan Fontaine and John Lund. The script is based on the 1905 J. M. Barrie play Alice Sit-by-the-Fire.[1][2] The film was directed by Mitchell Leisen.[3]


In late 1906, brother and sister Cosmo and Amy Grey have not seen their parents for many years, their father being a doctor who has been in Panama during work on the Panama Canal. Their housekeeper sends them to see a play, Peter Pan, but by mistake they end up seeing a rather sophisticated family melodrama instead.

Robert and Alice Grey come home not sure what to expect. The children hardly know their parents at all. Baby Molly has formed a natural attachment to her nanny, and both are reluctant to have Alice come in and "take over". The three children warm to Robert readily, but Alice receives a cold welcome. Furthermore, the play has given Amy some peculiar ideas of how adults behave. When she hears Alice receive an invitation to meet family friend Dr. Steven Clark, she falsely assumes they are having a romantic tryst.

Amy shows up at Steve's unexpectedly, trying to talk him out of the "affair", much to his confusion. She then decides to hide in a closet when her parents arrive, but when a glove is found and Amy's presence revealed, everybody gets the wrong idea. Alice assumes the doctor is seeing her daughter, while Robert assumes the doctor is seeing his wife. Eventually, Alice discovers why Amy has believed she has been having an affair. She decides to follow the plot of the play and pretends to give Steve up in a dramatic fashion. This helps win Amy, and the other children, over to her side. She explains everything to Robert, much to his amusement, and the newly contented family sits by the fire.



In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Howard Thompson called the film "feeble, sticky and laboriously arch" and a "lusterless flapdoodle." Thompson wrote: "Ragged sentimentality and hackneyed misunderstanding march hand in hand through this tritely presented tale of parlor embarrassment. ... Paramount, how could you!"[4]


  1. ^ "Darling, How Could You!". AllMovie. United States: All Media Network. Retrieved April 16, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Darling, How Could You!". Rotten Tomatoes. United States: Fandango Media. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  3. ^ "Darling, How Could You!". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Thompson, Howard (1951-11-09). "The Screen: Two New Movies Shown Here". The New York Times. p. 22.

External links

This page was last edited on 29 July 2021, at 05:20
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