I Thank a Fool
Original film poster
Directed byRobert Stevens
Written byKarl Tunberg
Based onI Thank a Fool
1958 novel
by Audrey Erskine Lindop
Produced byAnatole de Grunwald
StarringSusan Hayward
Peter Finch
Diane Cilento
Cyril Cusack
CinematographyHarry Waxman
Edited byFrank Clarke
Music byRon Goodwin
De Grunwald Productions
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • January 1962 (1962-01) (UK)
  • 14 September 1962 (1962-09-14) (U.S.)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

I Thank a Fool is a 1962 British Metrocolor crime film directed by Robert Stevens and starring Susan Hayward and Peter Finch.[1] It was made by Eaton (De Grunwald Productions) and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in CinemaScope and produced by Anatole de Grunwald from a screenplay by Karl Tunberg based on the 1958 novel of the same title by Audrey Erskine Lindop. The music score was by Ron Goodwin and the cinematography by Harry Waxman.


Dr. Christine Allison is convicted of manslaughter for the mercy killing of her terminally ill, married lover. After serving two years in prison, she is unable to find work.

Help comes from a surprising source – she is approached by Stephen Dane, the man who prosecuted her, to look after his disturbed wife Liane. Suspicious, she presses him for the reason he wants her. His need is a trained doctor, but not one who has the power to commit Liane to a mental asylum. Since Christine's medical license has been taken away, she is perfect. Desperate, she accepts the job.

Christine's misgivings about Stephen's motives increase as time goes by. The final straw comes when Liane's father, Captain Ferris, unexpectedly appears while the Danes are out. Christine had been told that his death in a car accident had unhinged Liane. He leaves without seeing his daughter, despite Christine's pleas.

Christine tells Liane the truth and persuades her to go back to her childhood home in Ireland to see her father. They find him there, drunk and living with a woman. A disillusioned Liane has another breakdown. When Stephen shows up, she falls while running away. The injury is not serious, and the doctor gives Christine a bottle of pills. As instructed, she gives Liane two to help her sleep.

Peter Finch in the trailer

The next morning, Liane is found dead and the bottle is missing. At the inquest, the coroner uncovers Christine's past. In her defense, she accuses Stephen of hiring her to draw suspicion away from him.

During a recess, she notices Ferris looking at his heirloom pocket watch, though Liane had stolen it and had it with her the night before her death. He admits Liane took the overdose herself. He found her dead and took the bottle away. In the past, he had been prosecuted by Stephen and had tried to bribe him by sending his then seventeen-year-old daughter to Stephen's hotel room. When the charges were dropped (though Stephen claims it was for other reasons), Ferris began blackmailing him. Stephen finally balked at paying more money, so Ferris took the opportunity to get back at him.

As the police try to take him into custody, Ferris leans against a rotted fence and falls to his death. Stephen asks Christine for a lift and they drive away together.



The film was based on a novel. Sol C. Siegel bought the film rights in March 1957, prior to publication, as a vehicle for Inger Stevens who the producer had under personal contract. The author was going to write the script.[2] In June 1957 Peter Glenville signed to direct.[3] By August the lead role was given to Ingrid Bergman with filming to take place in England and Ireland. Siegel set up the film at MGM where the producer was making a slate of movies including Home from the Hill, Some Came Running, Bachelor in Paradise, and The End of the World.[4]

In January 1958 MGM announced the movie would be made in England that year. The same month John Patrick was reported as working on the script.[5] However in March Grenville dropped out due to competing commitments.[6] Filming kept being delayed. In July 1960 MGM announced the film's stars would be Susan Hayward and Stewart Granger.[7] Eventually Granger dropped out and was replaced by Peter Finch. The job of directing was given to Robert Stevens who had never made a film before but had a strong reputation as a television director. Finch called him "the most exciting director I've ever worked with."[8]


Box Office

According to MGM accounts the film lost $1,207,000.[9]


  1. ^ "I Thank a Fool". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  2. ^ Siegel Buys Subject for Inger Stevens Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (17 June 1957: C10.
  3. ^ HOLLYWOOD TALK: Director Peter Glenville Views Work On Current Film and on the Stage By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 19 Jan 1958: X7.
  4. ^ MOVIE ON SOVIET PLANNED BY U.-I.: 90-Minute Documentary to Be Released in Fall--Ingrid Bergman in M.-G.-M. Film Special to The New York Times 20 Aug 1957: 22
  5. ^ PATRICK, GREGORY AT ODDS ON PLAY: Dramatist Wants Deadline for 'Houseful of Love' -- Miss Gellhorn Story Set By SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times 2 Jan 1958: 36
  6. ^ FOX WILL SCREEN 'THE SNOW BIRCH': Buys Mantley Novel Before Publication -- Two Added to 'Porgy and Bess' Cast By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 7 Mar 1958: 16.
  7. ^ Oldest Confession' Next for Hayworth Los Angeles Times 25 July 1960: C11.
  9. ^ 'The Eddie Mannix Ledger’, Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study, Los Angeles