SEPARATE TABLES (director: Delbert Mann; screenwriters: John Gay/from the one-act plays “Table by the Window” and “Table Number Seven” by Terence Rattigan; cinematographer: Charles Lang, Jr.; editor: Charles Ennis/Majorie Fowler; music: David Raksin; cast: Deborah Kerr (Sibyl Railton-Bell), David Niven (Major Pollock), Rita Hayworth (Ann Shankland), Wendy Hiller (Miss Pat Cooper), Burt Lancaster (John Malcolm), Gladys Cooper (Mrs Rallton-Bell), Felix Aylmer (Mr. Fowler), Cathleen Nesbitt (Lady Matheson); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harold Hecht; MGM Home Entertainment; 1958)
“The well-made play and once well-thought of film seems to be lifeless when viewed today.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Stiff film adaptation of the one-act plays “Table by the Window” and “Table Number Seven” by Terence Rattigan. It plays out like small-scale version of The Grand Hotel. Director Delbert Mann (“Marty”/”The Bachelor Party”/”Jane Eyre”)keeps it as amessy and artificial character study of a groupof long-term residents fromthe British seaside town of Bournemouth, who are staying at the Beauregard Private Hotel in the off season when the summer guests have departed. The hotel is efficiently run by its pleasant dignified managerMiss Pat Cooper (Wendy Hiller). The chic guests are an unhappy assortment of misfits, losers and tortured souls.
David Niven plays the part of a phony major, the delusional man who tries to impress the mousy Deborah Kerr character with war stories of him as a hero. Deborah Kerr plays the role of a shy girl, who is accompanied by her overbearing and sarcastic mom (Gladys Cooper). Burt Lancaster is a writer suffering from past pains and is a recovering alcoholic, who has become involved romantically with the Hiller character. Rita Hayworth is cast as Burt’s fashionable former wife, who changes the dynamics of her exes relationship with the hotel manager when she surprisingly checks into the hotel and manipulates how to get back together with her ex. Before the final curtain comes down, all the monumental problems seem to be miraculously settled. The well-made play and once well-thought of film seems to be lifeless when viewed today.
David Niven and Wendy Hiller won Academy Awards.
REVIEWED ON 6/1/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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