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Separate Tables (1958)

Separate Tables DVD

bullet Full Cast and Crew for Separate Tables (1958) bullet

bullet Directed by
Delbert Mann

bullet Writing credits
John Gay
John Michael Hayes (uncredited)
Terence Rattigan (also play)

bullet Cast (in credits order)
Deborah Kerr .... Sibyl Railton-Bell
Rita Hayworth .... Ann Shankland
David Niven .... Major Angus Pollock
Wendy Hiller .... Pat Cooper
Burt Lancaster .... John Malcolm
Gladys Cooper .... Mrs. Railton-Bell
Cathleen Nesbitt .... Lady Matheson
Felix Aylmer .... Mr. Fowler
Rod Taylor .... Charles
Audrey Dalton .... Jean
May Hallatt .... Miss Meacham
Priscilla Morgan .... Doreen

bullet Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hilda Plowright .... Mabel (uncredited)

bullet Produced by
Harold Hecht .... producer
Harry Horner .... associate producer (uncredited)

bullet Original Music by
David Raksin
Harry Warren (song "Separate Tables")

bullet Cinematography by
Charles Lang (as Charles Lang, Jr.)

bullet Film Editing by
Charles Ennis
Marjorie Fowler

bullet Production Design by
Harry Horner

bullet Art Direction by
Edward Carrere

bullet Set Decoration by
Edward G. Boyle

bullet Costume Design by
Edith Head (Miss Hayworth's gowns)

bullet Makeup Department
Harry Maret .... makeup artist
Helene Parrish .... hair stylist
Franz Prehoda .... makeup artist
Joan St. Oegger .... hair stylist
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)

bullet Production Management
Gilbert Kurland .... executive production manager

bullet Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tom Shaw .... assistant director (as Thomas P. Shaw)
Harry Horner .... second unit director: Bournemouth (uncredited)

bullet Sound Department
Fred Lau .... sound recordist

bullet Other crew
Harold Adamson .... lyricist: "Separate Tables"
Mary Grant .... costume supervisor
Harold Hecht .... presenter (as Hecht-Hill-Lancaster)
James Hill .... presenter (as Hecht-Hill-Lancaster)
Burt Lancaster .... presenter (as Hecht-Hill-Lancaster)
Vic Damone .... singer: "Separate Tables" (uncredited)

bullet Awards for Separate Tables (1958) bullet

Academy Awards, USA

1959 Won Oscar Best Actor in a Leading Role
David Niven

1959 Won Oscar Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Wendy Hiller
Wendy Hiller was not present at the awards ceremony. Harold Hecht, the film's producer, accepted on her behalf.

1959 Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role
Deborah Kerr

1959 Nominated Oscar Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
Charles Lang

1959 Nominated Oscar Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
David Raksin

1959 Nominated Oscar Best Picture
Harold Hecht

1959 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Terence Rattigan and John Gay

Golden Globes, USA

1959 Won Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actor - Drama
David Niven

Nominated Golden Globe Best Motion Picture - Drama

Nominated Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actress - Drama
Deborah Kerr

Nominated Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Director
Delbert Mann

Nominated Golden Globe Best Supporting Actress
Wendy Hiller

Laurel Awards

1959 2nd place Golden Laurel Top Male Dramatic Performance
David Niven

1959 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Female Dramatic Performance
Deborah Kerr - 5th place.

1959 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Female Supporting Performance
Wendy Hiller - 4th place.

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1958 Won NYFCC Award Best Actor
David Niven

Writers Guild of America, USA

1959 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Written American Drama
Terence Rattigan and John Gay

bullet AMG Info for Separate Tables (1958) bullet

US (1958)- 98 min. - Feature, B&W

Plot Synopsis
Based on Terence Rattigan's play, Separate Tables is about a number of characters and their adventures at a British seaside hotel. Among the guests are an alleged war hero (David Niven), a timid spinster (Deborah Kerr) and her domineering mother (Gladys Cooper), and a divorced couple (Burt Lancaster, Rita Hayworth) trying to re-ignite their romance despite the presence of his mistress (Wendy Hiller). All of the characters' lives become intertwined in the course of the film as the story examines love affairs and secrets. Separate Tables is a fine, textured drama, filled with terrific performances and was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Deborah Kerr), Best Actor (David Niven), Best Supporting Actress (Wendy Hiller), Best Screenplay From Another Medium, Best Cinematography and Best Music. Niven and Hiller won Oscars for the film.

Adapted by John Gay and Terence Rattigan from Rattigan's play and produced by star Burt Lancaster's independent company, Delbert Mann's Separate Tables (1958) showcased the acting talents of its British-American cast in a character study of isolated individuals making tentative connections in a seaside hotel. True to Lancaster and long time producing partner Harold Hecht's preference for off beat material, Separate Tables's then-frank exploration of repression and loneliness involves sexual frigidity, perversion, jealousy, domestic violence and divorce, with the confines of the hotel enhancing the characters' emotional claustrophobia. As an alcoholic writer and his aging beauty ex-wife, Lancaster and Rita Hayworth play against glamorous, potent type; David Niven and Deborah Kerr reveal the considerable turmoil beneath the prim surfaces of a blowhard retired military man and a mother-dominated spinster. More a mature succès d'estime than a popular hit, Separate Tables nevertheless received seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Screenplay and Actress for Kerr. Wendy Hiller won the Best Supporting Actress statuette for her resigned hotel manager and Niven added a Best Actor prize to his award from the New York Film Critics.

bullet Review for Separate Tables (1958) bullet

Terence Rattigan's pair of one-act plays are deftly woven together into this intelligent, handsome drama, a kind of somber Grand Hotel of lonely and repressed lives at a British seaside hotel in the dreary off-season. David Niven and Wendy Hiller earned well-deserved Oscars for their subdued turns, as a blustery old warhorse hiding a guilty secret and the efficient hotel proprietress, respectively. Burt Lancaster is the alcoholic American whose secret affair with Hiller is complicated when his former wife (Rita Hayworth) breezes in and reopens old emotional wounds, and Deborah Kerr is a mousy woman whose secret love for Niven is shattered by scandal. Director Daniel Mann (Marty) remains true to the good manners and quiet desperation that keeps these sad souls isolated at separate tables. He gracefully floats between the two dramas and patiently allows his repressed characters to open up and reveal their true feelings in their own quiet fashion.

bullet CineBooks' Motion Picture Guide Review for Separate Tables (1958) bullet

US (1958): Drama
99 min, No rating, Black & White
CineBooks' Motion Picture Guide Review: 4.0 stars out of 5

Terence Rattigan's original play consisted of two one-acts set in the same Bournemouth, England locale. It was a tour de force for Eric Portman and Margaret Leighton, who played it successfully in London, then in New York during the fall of 1956. Rattigan collaborated with John Gay to blend the two stories into one that used four actors instead of two.

The single guests. The title refers to the practice of some hotels of seating solo guests at their own dining tables. The small hotel is at the seashore, and the dining room is filled with a host of lonely people. Maj. Pollack (David Niven) is the ultimate Englishman, peppering his dialogue with all the Major Blimp clichés like "actually," and "I say," and "Good show." He is a one-time military man who waxes on and on about his experiences in the war's North African campaign, but his stories have the ring of prevarication about them. Mrs. Railton-Bell (Gladys Cooper) is a stern and forceful matriarch with a shy daughter, Sibyl (Deborah Kerr), a mousey spinster fascinated by Maj. Pollack but far too shy to let him know.

The third at the Mrs. Railton-Bell table is Mrs. Railton-Bell's friend, Lady Matheson (Cathleen Nesbitt), a peeress of the realm. Mr. Fowler (Felix Aylmer) is a former schoolteacher who talks about his glory days when he guided the lives of young people. Miss Meachum (May Hallatt) is a racing enthusiast, and Charles (Rod Taylor) and Jean (Audrey Dalton) are unmarried lovers. The hotel is run by Miss Pat Cooper (Wendy Hiller), a plain but pleasant woman who wants to make sure all her guests are happy, but she is not all that happy herself since her lover, John Malcolm (Burt Lancaster), has not popped the question yet. John is a reclusive American writer who drinks more than he creates and spends much of his time in his room.

Complicated relationships. Sibyl and Maj. Pollack begin a halting relationship, but Mrs. Railton-Bell does her best to put an end to it before it can blossom. John's former wife, Ann Shankland (Rita Hayworth), arrives at the hotel. She is a blowsy, sad social type with a penchant for histrionics.

Disgrace. Then the truth about Maj. Pollack comes out. He wasn't a major at all, just a noncombatant supply officer. Further, Maj. Pollack is arrested by the local cops for harassing women at the small movie house in Bournemouth's center, then released. Mrs. Railton-Bell suggests that Maj. Pollack leave this genteel hotel immediately, but Miss Pat Cooper springs to his defense, saying the decision is Maj. Pollack's.

Former wife. Ann, a needy woman, fearful that she may never find another man, makes it clear that she would like to renew her life with John. But he is becoming more enamored of Miss Pat Cooper, who is as sweet as a dessert trifle.

Facing disapprobation. Maj. Pollack decides that he is not going to leave the hotel but will tough it out in the face of the grim disapproval on the guests' faces. In the morning, Maj. Pollack enters the dining room, and the other guests are pleasant enough, offering their "good mornings" but little else. Mrs. Railton-Bell tries to get Sibyl away from Maj. Pollack, but when the quiet daughter asserts herself, ignores her mother, and begins a conversation with Maj. Pollack, Mrs. Railton-Bell realizes that she no longer can pull Sibyl's strings.

Happy ending. The picture concludes with the hope that Maj. Pollack and Sibyl will eventually get together and that the same will happen for John and Miss Pat Cooper.

It's adult, intelligent, and every role is marvelously shaded. The idea of bringing various types to a hotel setting had been done before in GRAND HOTEL (1932) and other films but seldom as touchingly as in this film. To anyone who saw the play, the screen adaptation is a marvel of interweaving that appears to be one ensemble tale rather than two disparate stories. The addition of Vic Damone crooning the title song over the titles was not needed.

bullet Leonard Maltin Review for Separate Tables (1958) bullet

US (1958): Drama
99 min, No rating, Black & White
Leonard Maltin Review: 4.0 stars out of 4

Terence Rattigan's pair of romantic playlets set at English seaside resort are reworked here into superb drama in the GRAND HOTEL vein; Lancaster and Hayworth are divorced couple trying to make another go of it, Hiller is his timid mistress, Niven a supposed war hero, Kerr a lonely spinster dominated by mother Cooper. Bouquets all around, especially to Oscar winners Niven and Hiller. Screenplay by Rattigan and John Gay.

bullet Memorable Quotes from Separate Tables (1958) bullet

Ann Shankland: I didn't mean any harm.
John Malcolm: That's when you do the most damage.
Ann Shankland: We all make mistakes.
John Malcolm: You specialize in them.

Ann Shankland: You're making it a bit too obvious, you know, that you hate the very sight of me.
John Malcolm: The very sight of you is perhaps the one thing about you I don't hate.

Mrs. Railton-Bell: Are you on the side of Mr. Malcolm and his defense advice or are you on the side of the Christian virtues -- like Mr. Fowler and myself?
John Malcolm: Never in my life have I heard a question so disgracefully begged. You should be in politics, Mrs. Railton-Bell.

Mr. Fowler: The trouble about being on the side of right, as one sees it, is that one often finds oneself in the company of such very questionable allies.

John Malcolm: You know something, Ann? No one I know of lies with such sincerity.

Miss Meacham: And what do I know of morals and ethics? Only what I read in novels. And as I only read thrillers, that doesn't amount to much.

bullet Trivia for Separate Tables (1958) bullet

Director Delbert Mann specifically shot May Hallatt's pool split in a long take with a moving camera--he wanted to show that a stand-in was not doing her trick shot for her. Unfortunately, the picture was taken from him, and re-edited with the middle of the shot removed, destroying that effect.

bullet Goofs for Separate Tables (1958) bullet

Crew or equipment visible: Camera reflected in window in the last dolly shot.

bullet DVD Details bullet

Separate Tables (1958)

Product Details

Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Region 1
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Studio: MGM
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001
Run Time: 99 minutes

DVD Features

Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Commentary by: director Delbert Mann

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Deborah Kerr and David Niven in Separate Tables

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