Cast & Crew
Milquetoast Robert Wilson and his meek wife Catherine have been married for four years when Robert prepares to join the British navy and fight in World War II. The day he leaves, he battles nerves and stomach problems while Cathy, suffering from one of her endless colds, quietly says goodbye. During boot camp, Robert struggles with seasickness and lowly conditions. A short time later, Cathy joins the Wrens, the Women's Naval Service, and has similar difficulties with the arduous training schedule. Soon, however, Cathy's tough friend, Dizzy Clayton, teaches her how to improve her appearance and have more confidence, while Robert becomes more rugged and confident himself.
As London suffers continued bombing over the next few years, Robert and Cathy write to each other, but never manage to have leave at the same time. They both advance in their positions, learning much about themselves and their strengths as they succeed. Robert describes Cathy to his friends as dependable, while she tells Dizzy that Robert is not as exciting as Dizzy's dashing cousin, Richard, with whom she has been spending much of her free time. One day, Robert's boat is attacked by enemy fire, and although his hands are badly burned, he spends five days rowing his shipmates to safety. While recuperating in the hospital, he meets a nurse, Elena, and soon asks her to dinner. After they dance together, Elena, a war widow, kisses him and then leaves.
Days later in England, as Richard declares his love for her, Cathy informs him that she must meet Robert for ten days, for the first time in three years. As Cathy and Robert travel separately toward London, each thinks about how little either one wants to return to their dreary former life. Robert arrives first at their flat with his friend, Scotty, complaining about having to see Cathy, but when she telephones from the street and declares that she no longer loves him, he is hurt. They meet on a street corner, which was dark because of the nightly blackouts and agree to a divorce, each sure that the other one will be helpless alone. When they enter a pub to continue the discussion, Cathy is pleasantly startled at Robert's strength and handsomeness, and Robert is shocked to see how confident and glamorous Cathy looks.
As they talk, the pub proprietors, who are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary, invite everyone to dance, and Cathy and Robert dance together for the first time. When Dizzy and Scotty join them, however, Scotty clumsily reveals to Cathy that Robert has described her as dependent. She storms out and they fight in the street, after which Robert wanders the streets in confusion, while Cathy visits the flat and reminisces about the love they used to share. Robert finds himself drawn back to her, and when he arrives, Cathy shows him how the walls that used to block their windows have come down in the bombing, flooding the apartment with light. They look out over the ravaged city and, realizing that anything can be built back up again, no matter how long it takes, they kiss.
Jack T. Drake
E. B. Jarvis
C. C. Stevens
The London Symphony Orchestra
A. W. Watkins
Best Writing, Screenplay
Vacation from Marriage - Vacation From Marriage
Vacation From Marriage tells the story of an English couple (Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr) whose listless marriage is energized by the outbreak of World War II and romantic dalliances with others. Korda made the film under trying circumstances, struggling with his writers to create an acceptable script and taking on the role of director when his original choice, Wesley Ruggles, gave it up and returned to his native America. The movie was shot at London's Denham Studios during harrowing wartime conditions, which included a bomb that fell on the studio grounds, blasting the offices and dressing rooms and leaving Korda's script torn to shreds by flying glass.
The timely subject helped make Vacation From Marriage a commercial success in both Britain and the U.S., and Clemence Dane won an Oscar® for her original story. The film proved to be especially significant for its female players, who also included Ann Todd as a nurse and Glynis Johns as Kerr's service-woman pal. Korda and cinematographer Georges Perinal handled the actresses with special care, making them appear both believable and glamorous. Todd soon moved on to international stardom in The Seventh Veil (1945), and Johns quickly emerged as an outstanding character actress and leading lady.
Perhaps most importantly, the movie began Kerr's relationship with MGM, the studio that would bring her to America and Hollywood stardom. Because of her outstanding performance in multiple roles in the British-made The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Ben Goetz, head of MGM in Britain, had bought half of her contract from European producer-director Gabriel Pascal. It was under this arrangement that Kerr made her MGM debut in Vacation From Marriage. Upon seeing the film, Louis B. Mayer was said to have exclaimed, "That girl's a star!" Soon Kerr was established as a leading MGM light, beginning with The Hucksters (1947) and continuing through such successes as Edward, My Son (1949), King Solomon's Mines (1950), Quo Vadis (1951) and Tea and Sympathy (1956).
Ironically, Vacation From Marriage was Donat's last film for MGM, where his achievements had included his Oscar®-winning performance in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939).
Producer/Director: Alexander Korda
Screenplay: Anthony Pelissier, Clemence Dane, from story by Dane
Art Direction: Vincent Korda
Cinematography: Georges Perinal
Editing: Edward B. Jarvis
Original Music: Clifton Parker
Cast: Robert Donat (Robert Wilson), Deborah Kerr (Catherine Wilson), Glynis Johns (Dizzy Clayton), Ann Todd (Elena), Roland Culver (Richard), Allan Jeayes (Commander).
BW-93m. Closed Captioning.
by Roger Fristoe
Vacation from Marriage - Vacation From Marriage
Although the opening credits refer to "M-G-M," the closing credits list the studio as "M-G-M London Film Productions Limited in England." The opening credits read "Clemence Dane's Vacation from Marriage." This film had its premiere in London in August 1945, under the title Perfect Strangers. Wesley Ruggles was originally hired as the director of the co-production, but a May 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Korda had taken over the direction because of disagreements with Ruggles over the story. Although Korda and M-G-M had agreed to co-produce several films, Vacation from Marriage was their first and last collaboration. Some location shooting was done in Scotland, but most scenes were shot in London, where, according to a November 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, images of recent war wreckage were used to add realism to the film's background. According to information in the MPAA/PCA file at the AMPAS Library, the British version of the film ran about 102 minutes, while the American version was cut to about 92 minutes.