Enchantment FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byIrving Reis
Screenplay byJohn Patrick
Based onA Fugue in Time
by Rumer Godden
Produced bySamuel Goldwyn
StarringDavid Niven
Teresa Wright
Evelyn Keyes
Farley Granger
Narrated byWilliam Johnstone
CinematographyGregg Toland
Edited byDaniel Mandell
Music byHugo Friedhofer
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • December 11, 1948 (1948-12-11)[1]
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.6 million[2]
David Niven in the film
David Niven in the film

Enchantment is a 1948 American romantic drama film directed by Irving Reis and starring David Niven, Teresa Wright and Evelyn Keyes. It was produced by Samuel Goldwyn, and based on the 1945 novel A Fugue in Time by Rumer Godden.


In World War II London, a bold American servicewoman named Grizel Dane (Evelyn Keyes) pays a visit to her granduncle, aged General Sir Roland 'Rollo' Dane (David Niven), looking for a place to stay. At first reluctant to disturb his routine, Rollo soon gives in.

Interspersed flashbacks reveal the history of the Dane family. The first takes place when Rollo (Peter Miles) is a child. He and his older siblings, Selina (Sherlee Collier) and Pelham (Warwick Gregson), are introduced to Lark Ingoldsby (Gigi Perreau) by their father (Colin Keith-Johnston). He explains that her parents have been killed in the Tay Bridge disaster and that she will be living with them as a member of the family. Selina immediately resents the newcomer.

The second flashback occurs when the children have grown up. Roland's father has died, leaving Selina (played as an adult by Jayne Meadows) in charge of Lark (Teresa Wright), whom she treats more like a servant than a member of the family. Rollo (David Niven) returns on leave from the army. When Lark asks Pelham (Philip Friend) for a dress, the first that would not be a hand-me-down from Selina, he realizes that she is growing up and invites her to a dance. She becomes acquainted with the Marchese Guido Del Laudi (Shepperd Strudwick), a business associate of Pelham's.

In the last flashback, Lark is being courted by the Marchese. Pelham unexpectedly reveals his love for her with a kiss, but her reaction makes it clear that she does not love him. Rollo surprises everyone by returning early from his latest posting on Lark's birthday. Rollo and Lark finally acknowledge their love for each other, but Selina has other plans. She has arranged for General Fitzgerald (Henry Stephenson) to appoint Rollo to his staff for a five-year mission to Afghanistan. However, Lark refuses to wait that long, living uneasily with both Selina and Pelham. When Rollo is indecisive, she goes up to her room. Rollo makes his choice; he hastens to refuse the appointment, but Selina confronts Lark, telling her that Rollo has decided to take the job. When he does not return by the next morning, Lark is convinced and leaves to marry the Marchese. Rollo returns too late, finding only a letter Lark wrote in which she says, "Selina was right." Furious at his sister's malicious meddling, Rollo vows never to enter the house again while she lives.

In the story set in World War II, ambulance driver Grizel transports injured Pilot Officer Pax Masterson (Farley Granger) to a hospital. Later, she is surprised to find him in the general's house. It turns out he is Lark's nephew. While he waits for the old man to return home, Pax and Grizel become acquainted. As time goes on, they start falling in love. When Pax receives his orders, he asks her to marry him, but she is daunted by the uncertainties of war. As Pax is leaving, Rollo hands him a telegram addressed to him; it announces that Lark died the month before. Rollo talks to Grizel and persuades her not to throw away the chance for love as he did. She runs after Pax in the middle of a bombing raid and embraces him. While she is away, a bomb demolishes the house and kills Rollo.



The Brooklyn Eagle found the film "beautifully packaged...a Christmas gift for all those who prefer their love stories told between sighs and suppressed tears, told with an artful catch in the throat." The acting and direction were praised overall – "the entire film is marked by excellent taste" – while still finding the film "a little bit too well-bred, a little too correct, on the bloodless side, you might say."[3] Columnist Hedda Hopper reported that "the film lives up to its title. It has charm, romance, and pathos....Samuel Goldwyn has done it again."[4] It was the highest-grossing film in Italy in 1957.[5]


  1. ^ "Enchantment: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  2. ^ "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. January 4, 1950. p. 59 – via Archive.org.
  3. ^ Sheaffer, Lew " 'Force of Evil' Vital But Uneven; 'Enchantment' is a Sentimental Treat." Brooklyn Eagle, 27 December 1948.
  4. ^ Hopper, Hedda. "Looking at Hollywood." Chicago Tribune, 23 December 1948.
  5. ^ "5 Yank Films High on '57 Italo B.O. List". Variety. November 19, 1958. p. 22. Retrieved July 7, 2019 – via Archive.org.