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Poster for "Trio" (1950).jpg
Australian daybill
Directed byKen Annakin
Harold French
Written byW. Somerset Maugham
Noel Langley
R. C. Sherriff
Based onthree short stories
by W. Somerset Maugham
Produced byAntony Darnborough
StarringJames Hayter
Kathleen Harrison
Nigel Patrick
Wilfred Hyde-White
Jean Simmons
Michael Rennie
Roland Culver
CinematographyGeoffrey Unsworth
Reginald H. Wyer
Edited byAlfred Roome
Music byJohn Greenwood
Muir Mathieson
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Paramount Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 1 August 1950 (1950-08-01)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£147,000 (by 1953)[1]

Trio (also known as W. Somerset Maugham's Trio) is a 1950 British anthology film based on three short stories by W. Somerset Maugham: "The Verger", "Mr Know-All" and "Sanatorium". Ken Annakin directed "The Verger" and "Mr Know-All", while Harold French was responsible for "Sanatorium".

Trio is the second of a film trilogy, all consisting of adaptations of Maugham's stories, preceded by the 1948 Quartet and followed by the 1951 Encore. Production budget of the film was shared by the J. Arthur Rank Organization and Paramount.

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Sound, Recording (Cyril Crowhurst)[2] and was the final one released under the Gainsborough Pictures banner.


The Verger

The new vicar at St Peter's Church is astonished to learn that the long-serving verger, Albert Foreman, is illiterate. Foreman is too set in his ways to want to learn to read and write, and the vicar feels he has no choice but to sack him. Foreman's savings, while substantial, are not enough to sustain him for the rest of his life. On the way back to his lodgings, Foreman notices that there is no tobacconist's shop in the area and decides to open one. He also proposes to his landlady Emma. Their shop is so successful that when his stepdaughter's husband loses his job Foreman sets up another shop for them to run. Over the next ten years, Foreman starts up ten shops and becomes wealthy. The bank manager recommends that Foreman invest his savings, causing him to reveal that he cannot read the necessary papers. The manager exclaims, "What would you be today if you had been able to?" Foreman replies that he would be the verger at St Peter's.

Mr Know-All

Reserved Mr Gray finds himself forced to share a cabin on an ocean liner with the loud, opinionated, supremely self-confident gem dealer Max Kelada. Kelada soon dominates all the onboard social gatherings, much to the annoyance of his fellow passengers, who take to calling him "Mr Know-All" behind his back because of his insistence that he is an expert on all subjects. One night, Kelada remarks on the fine quality of the pearl necklace worn by Mrs Ramsay, who has rejoined her husband after a two-year separation caused by his work. Mr Ramsay bets Kelada ten pounds that the pearls are fake. Kelada accepts the wager, despite Mrs Ramsay's attempt to call it off. While he is examining the pearls Kelada observes that the woman is very uneasy. He then says that he was wrong and pays Mr Ramsay. Afterwards, back in their cabin, Gray and Kelada are surprised when two five-pound notes are slipped under their door in an envelope. Gray gets Kelada to tell the truth: the pearls are real and very costly. Kelada adds that he would not have left such an attractive wife alone for that long. Gray begins to warm to his cabin mate.


This segment is based on "Sanatorium", which was first published in Ashenden: Or the British Agent.

Mr Ashenden is sent to a sanatorium and becomes acquainted with the other residents. Another newcomer is Major George Templeton, who admires the lovely Evie Bishop. Evie has spent years in one sanatorium after another. Ashenden also observes the feud between two long-term patients, Mr Campbell and Mr McLeod, who delight in making each other's lives miserable. One more patient, Mr Chester, resents the visits of his wife because he envies her robust good health. McLeod dies, depriving Campbell of his enjoyment of life. After George and Evie fall in love the doctors warn them that George will hasten his death if they marry, but they decide that happiness, no matter how brief, is worth the price. Their example eases Mr Chester's bitterness about his own fate.


The Verger

Mr. Know-All




Bosley Crowther described the film as "another delightful screen potpourri, made from short stories of W. Somerset Maugham ... Wonderfully rich ... Shot through with keen, ironic humor".[3] TV Guide called it "a small and highly enjoyable film".[4]

Box office

Trade papers called the film a "notable box office attraction" in British cinemas in 1950.[5] According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winners' at the box office in 1950 Britain were The Blue Lamp, The Happiest Days of Your Life, Annie Get Your Gun, The Wooden Horse, Treasure Island and Odette, with "runners up" being Stage Fright, White Heat, They Were Not Divided, Trio, Morning Departure, Destination Moon, Sands of Iwo Jima, Little Women, The Forsythe Saga, Father of the Bride, Neptune's Daughter, The Dancing Years, The Red Light, Rogues of Sherwood Forest, Fancy Pants, Copper Canyon, State Secret, The Cure for Love, My Foolish Heart, Stromboli, Cheaper by the Dozen, Pinky, Three Came Home, Broken Arrow and Black Rose.[6]


  1. ^ Andrew Spicer, Sydney Box Manchester Uni Press 2006 p 211
  2. ^ "The 23rd Academy Awards (1951) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (11 October 1950). "The Screen in Review; 'Trio,' Based on Old Stories by Somerset Maugham, Opens at the Sutton Theatre". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Trio Review". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  5. ^ Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p. 212
  6. ^ Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 233.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 June 2021, at 06:35
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