Cast & Crew
Living in exile in Holland in 1660, British monarch Charles Stuart learns that a group of "Roundheads," followers of the current British ruler Oliver Cromwell, have been sent across the English Channel to assassinate him. Charles, however, is more interested in attractive farm girl Katie than his personal safety. Later, Charles receives a coded message requesting his return to England to lead a revolt, but refuses to return unless he is called by his people, not a few select followers. After Charles is finally convinced by his top advisor, Sir Edward Hyde, to go into hiding in the country, he makes his way to Katie's farm, where he accepts work as a farm hand. With revolution at England's doorstep, the Roundheads send the notorious Colonel Ingram to Holland to kill the exiled king. Meanwhile, Dick Pinner, an actor, arrives at Katie's farm impersonating Charles, who then makes arrangement for the impostor's lodging at Katie's inn. As word that the "king" is staying at the inn spreads, the French Countess Anbella and her entourage arrive to visit her old friend. The countess immediately recognizes Pinner as a fake, but as she prepares to leave, she sees Charles and sets up a late-night meeting with him. Anbella gives him a music box, a gift from the French king, which Charles later sells to pay Katie's debts to her cousin Jan. Katie, however, sees Charles with the countess, and jealously orders him to leave, only to learn later from Anbella what he has done. Charles and Katie are then reunited, but their happiness is quickly interrupted by the arrival of Ingram at the inn. Charles is forced to reveal his true identity when Ingram prepares to kill Pinner, even though the actor has confessed his identity. Despite being outnumbered, Charles manages to escape Ingram and his men, and makes his way back toward the city. Upon learning Charles' true identity, Katie rides across the fields and helps him hide in an old windmill. Ingram and his men follow her there, however, and Charles is seemingly doomed until the arrival of his cavaliers. Charles kills Ingram in a sword fight, then learns from Hyde that he has been recalled to England by the new parliament. As he prepares to sail home and reclaim his crown, Charles is forced by duty to leave Katie behind, though they proclaim their undying love for each other.
Milton A. Owen
Ben H. Wright
C. S. Ramsey-hill
Thomas P. Dillon
Erich Von Schilling
Daniel De Johghe
Elinor Van Der Veer
Leslie I. Carey
Russell A. Gausman
David S. Horsley
Ted J. Kent
T. F. Offenbecker
In an interview with Jacques Rivette and Francois Truffaut published in 1978, Ophuls recalled that it was fellow director Robert Siodmak who helped him land The Exile: "After four years of unemployment, I was able to work thanks to a friendly gesture by Robert Siodmak. He said to me, 'If you want to go back to Europe and find work, you must have made at least one film in Hollywood or else no one will have confidence in you.' He did what was necessary to give me a chance at Universal. And that's how, within a week, I was hired to make The Exile with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr."
The film is a swashbuckler in the mode of Douglas Fairbanks, Senior, with the younger Fairbanks here showing off some dashing swordplay and acrobatics in a tale of England's King Charles II exiled to Holland in 1660. In fact, Fairbanks even uses a sword in this film that his father had used in the making of The Iron Mask (1929). According to studio publicity, Fairbanks enjoyed doing many of his own stunts, preparing for one shot in which he had to drop nine feet by repeatedly practicing the drop from fourteen feet -- so that the lesser fall would look easy. Ironically, at one point he actually fell nineteen feet in an on-set accident, but was not hurt.
The Exile was much more to Fairbanks than simply a starring vehicle; he also produced it and wrote the script. He had already produced or associate-produced four previous films in his career, in both England and America, but the addition of a screenwriting credit was something new, and this film therefore represented an investment of energy and personal responsibility unlike any other of his movie projects before. Having been absent from screens during WWII (and then acting in the splashy Sinbad the Sailor ), Fairbanks was determined to establish himself as a full-fledged producer. He set up his new outfit The Fairbanks Company with a distribution deal at Universal, and The Exile was the first of a few pictures he made there.
Ophuls said he enjoyed great creative freedom on The Exile but "had very little faith in that film... [Fairbanks and I] had great fun making [it] -- perhaps a little too much, because frequently I found myself shooting a scene without knowing who was drawing a sword against whom, why they were fighting, why killing... In short, I found it hard to follow. I think that shows in the film, but I greatly enjoyed working with Fairbanks."
Probably the greatest benefit this picture had for Ophuls was that it got him his next directing gig. The Exile's high technical quality, much noted in the press and around Hollywood, attracted the attention of producer John Houseman, who hired Ophuls to direct Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), one of his finest achievements.
Overall, however, reviews of The Exile were mild at best, with Variety complaining that "too much time is consumed in reaching its exiting stages, with a script which sometimes leans toward antiquated proportions.... Maria Montez, though getting co-star credit, is in only one long sequence, and is not always understandable." The New York Times declared, "Mr. Fairbanks speaks a line more facilely than he writes it."
However, all the critics lauded "newcomer" Paule Croset in the role of Katie, with Variety calling her a "refreshing new personality," and James Agee writing in Time, "Her performance is as clear as a brook, and audiences may well object that the camera does not linger long on her cool, inviting beauty."
The Tahitian-born actress had already had several credited roles in low-budget RKO programmers (including Val Lewton's The Body Snatcher ), and The Exile was an attempt to reinvent herself as something more. While it was not uncommon for actors to be "introduced" to the screen after many prior appearances, perhaps in this case there actually was some confusion in the press because Croset had previously been credited as Rita Corday, the name by which she is still best remembered. She had other names, too: her birth name was Jeanne Paule Teipotemarga, and after The Exile she used the names Rita Croset and Paula Corday. All the name changes didn't help her career, however, and she retired from the screen in the mid-1950s.
The Exile was released in sepia tone, which had been a not-terribly-uncommon sight during the war years as studios sought to save money by limiting the use of Technicolor. Sepia was seen as a good-enough substitute when a film story lent itself to color but color was not available. In this case, it was also the basis for a joke around Hollywood: since The Exile opened at around the same time as the big hit Forever Amber (1947), it garnered the mocking nickname of "Forever Dark Brown."
The Exile actually performed quite well at the box office initially, even against Forever Amber, but when Captain from Castile opened on a then-unprecedented 475 screens, The Exile was squashed at the box office and ultimately became a modest money loser.
Producer: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Director: Max Ophuls
Screenplay: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.; Cosmo Hamilton (novel); Clemence Dane (screenplay, uncredited)
Cinematography: Franz Planer; Hal Mohr, George Robinson (both uncredited)
Art Direction: Hilyard M. Brown, Bernard Herzbrun
Music: Frank Skinner
Film Editing: Ted J. Kent
Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (Charles II Stuart), Maria Montez (Countess Anbella de Courteuil), Paule Croset (Katie), Henry Daniell (Colonel Ingram), Nigel Bruce (Sir Edward Hyde), Robert Coote (Dick Pinner), Otto Waldis (Jan), Eldon Gorst (Seymour), Milton Owen (Wilcox), Colin Keith-Johnston (Captain Bristol).
by Jeremy Arnold
Although Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. is listed above the title in the opening credits, he is listed last in the end cast credits. The film opens with the following written and spoken prologue: "The Year of Our Lord, 1660...There dwelt in this house Britain's wandering young king, Charles Stuart, exiled by the 'Roundheads' of the tyrant, Cromwell...Neglected by all-Save a few cavaliers...Forgotten by all-Save his people." Charles II of England was born in London on May 29, 1630. As the eldest surviving son of Charles I, he went into exile at The Hague, the Netherlands, during the era of the Protectorate led by Oliver Cromwell and assumed the title of king upon the execution of his father in 1649. In January 1651, Charles accepted the Scottish crown and led an army of 10,000 against the forces of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England. In September 1651, Charles's forces were routed in Worcester and he fled to France. Upon the death of Cromwell in 1658 and the succession of his son Richard as Lord Protector, a new demand for a return to the monarchy led to Charles's restoration to the throne and his return to England on May 26, 1660. Charles was crowned on April 23, 1661 and continued to reign until his death on February 6, 1665, at which time he was succeeded by his brother James II.
The Exile marked the first film by Fairbanks, Jr.'s new independent production company, as well as the feature film debut of actress Paule Croset. Though Fairbanks, Jr., whose onscreen credit reads "written and produced by," received the only screenwriting credit for The Exile, Hollywood Reporter news items state that the credits, at one time, were to be issued to Clemence Dane and "Thomas Elton," Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.'s pseudonym, which was then being used by Fairbanks, Jr. The Exile was the first American film to be directed by noted French director Max Opuls. According to modern sources, the exiled Opuls had lived in Hollywood for four idle years, having only worked briefly on the Howard Hughes production Vendetta . With World War II over, Opuls was told by fellow director Robert Siodmak that he needed to make at least one Hollywood film before returning to Europe "or else no one will have confidence in you." Siodmak, who had just directed Universal's The Killers , then arranged for Opuls to meet with studio executives and, within a week, he was hired to direct The Exile.
The picture was also the final Universal film for actress Maria Montez, as the studio had failed to exercise its option on her contract earlier in the year, according to New York Times. Upon the completion of the film, a legal squabble broke out between the actress and the studio, because both Montez and Fairbanks, Jr. had clauses in their contracts stating that no one could be billed above them. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, the litigation reached the federal courts in December 1947, at which time the two parties agreed to an out-of-court settlement: in return for Montez removing her restraining order, she received top billing on the title credits, but second billing in pressbooks. Hollywood Reporter production charts and news items include Dorothy Hart, Michele Haley and Janna DeLoss in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.