Love Among the Ruins

James Costigan's script for Love Among the Ruins had been written for Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine, but when the famed couple retired from the stage, the project was shelved.

It was Katharine Hepburn's idea to involve Laurence Olivier in the project; she had always wanted to work with the legendary British actor.

Set in the Edwardian period, Love Among the Ruins told an unorthodox love story of an English barrister (Olivier) and a world-famous actress (Hepburn). Olivier played Sir Arthur Granville-Jones, the elderly barrister who reencounters the love of his youth, and experiences some winsome wistfulness.

Known for his sense of humor, Cukor thought that the title was a “little tricky,” because they were all of a “certain age.” Cukor was 76, and Hepburn and Olivier each 68.

Shooting at London's Pinewood studios went on for six weeks. The script was shot pretty much in sequence, except for the exterior shots. Cukor asked the TV people, “How does one shoot for television” They said, “Shoot it just the way you would shoot a picture.” Cukor did not have to modify his style in any way. There was no reason to modify; the film was rather small, with most of the story set in courtroom.

The charismatic presence of the two stars almost redeemed the foolish plot. Indeed, telecast on March 6, 1975, Love Among the Ruins received mixed reviews. One critic remarked, none too kindly, that Cukor should have switched the professions of the two protagonists to make them more convincing.

It was one of those entertainments, in which the actors seemed to have more fun than the audience. There was no doubt, however, that the public loved it, since the ratings were good. Olivier and Hepburn received Emmy Awards for their acting, and Cukor picked one for direction.