Toronto Film Society presented Enchantment (1948) on Monday, December 1, 1980 in a double bill with The Haunting as part of the Season 33 Monday Evening Film Buff Series, Programme 4.
It`s rather appropriate that tonight`s film, a haunting romance in the best tradition of Hollywood, is being screened at the same time that one of the first time romantic films produced in years, Jeannot Szwarc`s beautiful Somewhere in Time is playing a first-run engagement in Toronto. Ironically, Teresa Wright, the star of Enchantment, like The House on 56th Street and The Enchanted Cottage is the story of romance in a house–99 Wiltshire Place, London. The time span is some 50 years (circa 1894 to 1944).
It is the tale of romance in two generations–between David Niven and Teresa Wright in the 1890`s, and between Farley Granger and Evelyn Keyes in 1944. In the latter period, the connecting link is provided by the aged Niven, who counsels Evelyn Keyes not to hesitate to seize love, as he once did.
Not surprisingly, the scenes featuring David Niven and Teresa Wright are the most enjoyable, not only due to the superb professionalism of these performers, but to the elegance and grace of their era.
Enchantment has overtones of the Cinderella tale, with Teresa Wright as a strong-willed orphan who suffers the humiliations of the vindictive Selina (Jayne Meadows). She is in love with Rollo (Niven) who is slow to reciprocate until the evening of a grand ball. There, the sight of her in a splendid gown, and later, the intimate coziness of a library fireplace bring him to his senses.
The theme of Enchantment is that love is a force which perades certain places (such as 99 Wiltshire Place) where it had once held sway, and that it must be seized when recognized lest the opportunity pass.
Enchantment has all the hallmarks of a Samuel Goldwyn production–beautiful sets, a haunting musical score, and superb photography by the incomparable Gregg Toland, whose last film this was. It is the sort of film Hollywood did with great flair, and is sadly missing today.
Notes by John Thompson