Enchanted Cottage, The (1945): John Cromwell’s Oscar-Nominated Romantic Melodrama, Starring Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire

John Cromwell’s romantic fable, “The Enchanted Cottage,” is based on a popular play by Arthur Pinero. The source material was previously made as a silent feature in 1924, with Richard Barthelmess and May McAvoy in the leads.

In this sensitive and occasionally touching version, Robert Young plays Oliver Bradford, a young man who returned from World War II disfigured (severe facial scars) and suicidal.  He was engaged before the War, but now holds no one could love him—that is, until he meets Laura Pennington (Dorothy McGuire), a plain woman who’s insecure about her looks.

The two lonely people marry out of desperation, and move into a small cottage, the remains of the large estate of Abigail Minnett (Mildred Natwick), who lost the rest of her property in a fire.

The cottage has been the site of many honeymooner, helping Oliver and Laura discover their own true love while undergoing major transformations.

Oliver regains his old handsome features, and Laura also becomes more beautiful. Though the couple finds love and happiness, they also realize that the cottage’s magic only works as long as they remain at home.

Production values are polished, especially Ted Tetzlaff’s stylized (b/w) imagery and moody score by Roy Webb, which was Oscar-nominated.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Score (Drama or Comedy): Roy Webb

Oscar Context: 

The winner was Miklos Rozsa for Hitchcock’s “Spellbound.”

 

Credits

Running time: 91 Minutes.

Directed By: John Cromwell

Script: De Witt Bodeen and Herman J. Mankiewicz

Released September 10, 1945

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