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Vacation from Marriage (1945)

Perfect Strangers (original title)
Passed | | Drama, Romance | 1 November 1945 (USA)
A dull married couple, separated by their enlistment during World War II, reunite after three years to find that they have become very different people.

Director:

Alexander Korda

Writers:

Clemence Dane (story), Anthony Pelissier (story) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Donat ... Robert Wilson
Deborah Kerr ... Cathy Wilson
Glynis Johns ... Dizzy Clayton
Ann Todd ... Elena
Roland Culver ... Richard
Elliott Mason Elliott Mason ... Mrs. Hemmings
Eliot Makeham ... Mr. Staines
Brefni O'Rorke ... Mr. Hargrove
Ivor Barnard ... Chemist
Henry B. Longhurst Henry B. Longhurst ... Petty Officer (as Henry Longhurst)
Bill Shine ... Webster (as Billy Shine)
Billy Thatcher Billy Thatcher ... Essex
Brian Weske ... Gordon
Rosamund Taylor Rosamund Taylor ... Irene
Harry Ross Harry Ross ... Bill
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Storyline

Robert and Catherine have a quiet little marriage until World War II separates them for three years. Serving in the Navy dramatically transforms both of them and they realize how much they resented their old mundane life together. Both dread their inevitable reunion and separately decide to ask for a divorce, but is the marriage really over? Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mr. Chips Is Back In A New Thrilling Romance!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie's initial telecast in Los Angeles took place Friday, November 1, 1957, on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia on Sunday, December 15, 1957, on WFIL (Channel 6), in New York City on August 23, 1958, on WCBS (Channel 2), and in San Francisco on February 3, 1959, on KGO (Channel 7). See more »

Goofs

In talking of her husband nurse Elena says that "Captain Smith married the Princess Pocahontas." In fact they were never married to each other, and apparently did not have an intimate relationship. See more »

Quotes

Robert Wilson: You've certainly got the view you always wanted.
Cathy Wilson: Miles and miles of it. But oh, Robert, the desolation!
Robert Wilson: Poor old London. Well, we'll just have to build it up again.
Cathy Wilson: It will take years and years.
Robert Wilson: But what of that, Cathy? We're young.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bhowani Junction (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Daisy Bell
(uncredited)
Written by Harry Dacre
See more »

User Reviews

a quiet treasure--should be on anyone's list of romance films
15 October 2000 | by whitecargoSee all my reviews

"Perfect Strangers" was made in war-scarred Britain in 1945 and it has that unmistakable flavour and appeal of the small, b&w 1940's English pictures of the time--trustworthy, tender without being sentimental, sweet, reticent, and positive. The epitome of the wartime film designed to boost people's morale.

Like many pre-50's films that catch my interest, it has the charming buoyancy of that other, (and now otherworldly) WWII era--before Twentieth Century attitudes had crystallized into their currently cold, disaffected, and jaundiced condition that forms our modern outlook. Films like "Perfect Strangers" (also known as "Vacation from Marriage") are the perfect antidote--tiny time capsules of hopefulness, naivete, and innocence that, certainly in the art of the cinema, can't be achieved anymore, no matter what the budget.

Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr are well cast and their performances seem effortlessly on-the-mark in this film. The two play a shy, humdrum, and rather ineffectual couple living in London during the Blitz. Kerr is a glum housewife to the staid, stodgy Donat, who works meekly in London as a bank teller.

Even though around them all is chaos in the city, they are frozen, as it were, in their daily routines: work, eat, sleep. These are two people to whom nothing much ever happens. Their marriage is in a rut but they dont know it. They are vaguely dissatisfied with themselves, but they dont know why. Each is right on the edge of being bored with the another. Certainly they are both bored with their lives.

(This is one of those couples of a type that one still encounters today--a pair of simple, unimaginative souls that, in the first flush of romance, dont envision needing anything more out of life than being married to each other).

But their dull routines are suddenly shaken up by wartime events--both are unexpectedly called to active service. This turn of events falls like a bolt of lightning on the couple. Donat reluctantly enters the Navy as an able seaman, and Kerr becomes a WREN. The story picks up pace from this point on. The two agree to keep in touch and meet whenever they are on leave.

However, both soon have their hands full trying to adjust to the rigors of service life: not just the hazards of wartime but more importantly, the trials of intense, abrupt socialization with their new comrades.

Each undergoes a separate transformation of character: they make friends, win esteem from their peers, prove themselves to be fit and able in all of their duties and even distinguish themselves in the war effort. In short, they thrive in their unexpected "vacation" and in the process, discover all sorts of things about themselves that they never would have guessed previously.

When it comes time for the couple to meet up again, each dreads having the old marriage relations reestablished. Each assumes the other has not changed or developed in any way. (Both Donat and Kerr are even getting tempting offers and romantic attentions from others at this point).

When they meet, in one of the sweetest moments in the film, they fail to even recognize each other. Its how the two get back together which comprises the rest of the storyline of the film.

Its a little treasure of a film: well-made, un-selfconscious, unassuming, and hits its mark perfectly. If you like a simple, honest story about people and people in love, give it a try.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vacation from Marriage See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (US) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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