Thursday, January 27, 2011

Susan Hayward in Stolen Hours 1963

With the upcoming debut of the Obscurity Factor screening series on Monday featuring The Opposite Sex, the 1956 remake of The Women (1939) I thought we'd take a look at another remake. This film is a remake of the Bette Davis tour de force Dark Victory, also from 1939.

There are a few changes to the details, but the story remains the same. The venue has changed from the North East to England, where Susan Hayward plays Laura Pember, a divorcee. The doctor (played by a beautiful Michael Craig) isn't a research physician, he's a London practitioner who tends to the wealthy. As their romance and marriage develops, Laura convinces him to go home to the seaside town where he was reared and take up the life his father lead - that of a country doctor. While this version doesn't have the fire of the original - you don't get as much of a sense of Laura Pember as a take-no-prisoners party girl as you do with Ms. Davis, it's still a 3 hankie tear jerker, and the ultimate nobility of Laura Pember is nicely portrayed. Look for Diane Baker, looking especially lovely as Ms. Pember's younger sister.
There hasn't been a DVD release of this film as of yet, though it is available on VHS with a few copies to be had on I recently saw this on TCM, so it's occasionally aired on TV. While the entire film hasn't been uploaded to YouTube, there are some scenes to be seen. Above is one from early in the film, uploaded by LorreB. The poster above is available from

Obscurity factor: 7 (not on DVD, available on VHS, occasionally aired on TCM, not on YouTube in full)


  1. LorreB sure knows how to pick the best scene in a movie. I must have seen this once or twice, and all I ever remember is the ice cube trick. It just SCREAMS for a Carol Burnett take, but it is a good, memorable gimmick. [I also remember - very dimly - an Elizabeth Montgomery version, with Michele Lee as the BFF.]

    Stolen Hours is fine. Susie gives it her all - as always (her all could be too much. The Honey Pot was on TCM last week. Yeeech). What Stolen Hours does not have is the Ross Hunter gloss which could have turned it into a glitzy guilty pleasure. It is a bit drab.

  2. I agree, Ross Hunter would have put it over the top. The Liz Montgomery version will likely make an appearance here eventually.

  3. I saw Stolen Hours on the 4;30 movie in the early 70's in NYC which means that they cut it to fit into a 90 minute slot ( with commericals) , I loved it and wept heavily at the end. About a year later there was a Bette Davis retrospective at ( I think) the Regency. An older friend took me to the double feature of Now Voyager and Dark Victory. Halfway through dark Victory I turned to my friend and said: this is like that Susan Hayward movie - and he bellowed for the whole audience to to hear: How DARE you!!!

  4. That's a wonderful story! It can be so strange to see the remake before you've seen the film that inspired it.