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The Enchanted Cottage is a 1945 romantic film fantasy starring Robert Young, Dorothy McGuire, and Mildred Natwick. It was based on a play by Arthur Wing Pinero.

Plot summary

When pilot Oliver Bradford (Robert Young) is disfigured by war wounds, he hides from his family (Spring Byington) and fiancée (Hillary Brooke), renting a cottage from Mrs. Minnett (Mildred Natwick). Laura Pennington (Dorothy McGuire) is a shy, homely maid who tidies up the place. Oliver and Laura gradually fall in love and discover that their feelings for each other have mysteriously transformed them. He appears handsome to her, and she seems beautiful to him. This is only perceived by the two lovers (and the audience), not by others. Laura comes to believe that the cottage is "enchanted" because it was once often rented to honeymoon couples.


Arthur Wing Pinero's 1923 play was soon filmed in 1924 as a timely story involving physical and emotional disabilities following the First World War. RKO Producer Harriet Parsons acquired the rights for her studio for an updated World War II version set in New Englandmarker. When the film was taken away from her by RKO management to be given to producer writer Dudley Nichols, a strong newspaper editorial column was written by Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper. Hopper set aside her long feud with her arch rival Harriet's mother Louella Parsons, and viciously criticised RKO for taking properties away from a female producer to give to a male. The outcry from the column made RKO change its mind and give the property back to Harriet Parsons. Parsons wrote an outline of the updated story about a disfigured rather than disabled World War II veteran then engaged DeWitt Bodeen for the screenplay, the two becoming lifelong friends. Parsons also selected John Cromwell as director. David O. Selznick lent RKO Dorothy McGuire for the film as MGM provided Robert Young who reteamed with McGuire after her debut in Claudia. Parsons also contributed to the screenplay along with Herman J. Mankiewicz who was requested by Cromwell to touch up Bodeen's screenplay.

Composer Roy Webb wrote a piano concerto for the film that a blinded World War I veteran (played by Herbert Marshall) uses as a tone poem to describe the story of the two protagonists to a gathering of people. Webb was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score in 1945 and performed the concerto in the Hollywood Bowlmarker in the same year. Marshall, who had lost a leg in the First World War, played his blind role with the help of special contact lenses.

Rather than having her character having noticeable physical disabilities, Dorothy McGuire insisted her character show her plainness by no makeup, ill-fitting clothes, and a drab hairstyle. When McGuire was filmed looking appealing to Robert Young her character had similar costumes that were well tailored.

Adaptations to Other Media

The Enchanted Cottage was adapted as a radio play on the September 3, 1945 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire reprising their film roles, and on the December 11, 1946 broadcast of Academy Award Theater, starring Peter Lawford and Joan Lorring.

External links


  1. p.276 Barbas, Samathana The First Lady of Hollywood 2006 University of California Press

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