Tender Is the Night
Original lobby card
Directed byHenry King
Screenplay byIvan Moffat
Based onThe 1934 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Produced byHenry T. Weinstein
StarringJennifer Jones
Jason Robards, Jr.
Joan Fontaine
Tom Ewell
Cesare Danova
Jill St. John
Paul Lukas
CinematographyLeon Shamroy, A.S.C.
Edited byWilliam Reynolds, A.C.E.
Music byBernard Herrmann
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • January 19, 1962 (1962-01-19)
Running time
142 minutes (132 minutes - FMC Library Print)
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.9 million[1]
Box office$1.25 million (US/ Canada)[2][3]

Tender Is the Night is a 1962 American film directed by Henry King and starring Jennifer Jones and Jason Robards, Jr. King's last film, it is based on the 1934 novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The soundtrack featured a song, also called "Tender Is the Night", by Sammy Fain (music) and Paul Francis Webster (lyrics), which was nominated for the 1962 Academy Award for Best Song. Robards won the 1962 NBR Award for his performances in Tender Is the Night and Long Day's Journey Into Night.

King's previous film had been Beloved Infidel, a biographical drama about Fitzgerald, author of Tender Is the Night.

There are interesting backstage anecdotes about pre-production in Memo from David O. Selznick, an edited collection of the iconic producer's letters and notes. Selznick's then-wife was sought and cast as the film's lead, and his letters reflect insight into the casting process (Jane Fonda had wanted to play Rosemary; William Holden, Henry Fonda and Christopher Plummer were considered for Dick), the creative angst around the project, and Selznick's own clever insights into the source novel and its requirements to become a successful film property.

Plot summary

"The French Riviera _ _ in the Twenties": while at a party in the south of France, Nicole Diver, a woman with many emotional issues, sees her husband, Dr. Dick Diver, take an interest in an American movie starlet, Rosemary Hoyt. Jealousy gets the better of Nicole.

The story flashes back to how Dick and Nicole met. He was a distinguished psychiatrist who made the classic mistake of falling in love with a patient, Nicole Warren. He marries her despite warnings from his mentor, Dr. Dohmler, that it will ruin Dick's career.

Dick spends the next years of his life abandoning his work to indulge wife Nicole's many whims, leading a hedonistic life, paid for by Nicole's sophisticated sister, Baby. By the time he realizes the error of his ways and attempts to resume his career, it is Nicole who has found a new lover, and she wants a divorce.


Uncredited (in order of appearance)
Maurice Dallimore Sir Charles Golding
Tom Hernandez Nobleman
Renee Godfrey Nurse
Jean De Briac Dr. Faurore
Orrin Tucker Orchestra leader
Aladdin Violinist
John Richardson Young man being photographed
Carl Princi Assistant manager


The film score was composed by Bernard Herrmann. Soundtracks included the main theme "Tender Is the Night" composed by Sammy Fain with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster (above). This song was played in the film by pianist George Greeley (uncredited). Other songs were:


Variety wrote the following:

A combination of attractive, intelligent performances and consistently interesting, De Luxecolorful photography of interiors and exteriors – mostly the French Riviera – provide big plus qualities in this 20th-Fox adaptation of Tender Is The Night. This may not be a 100 proof distillation of F. Scott Fitzgerald. But Tender Is The Night is nonetheless on its own filmic terms a thoughtful, disturbing and at times absorbing romantic drama...

Jones emerges a crisply fresh, intriguing personality and creates a striking character as the schizophrenic Nicole. Robards, whose non-matinee-idol masculinity makes him an ideal choice for the role of the ill-fated doctor-husband, Dick Diver, plays with intelligence and conviction. Joan Fontaine is convincing as Nicole’s shallow, older sister, performing with the right manifestation of frivolity and bite that her part requires.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p253
  2. ^ Solomon p 229. Please note these figures are rentals.
  3. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1962". Variety. January 9, 1963. p. 13. Please note these are rentals and not gross figures
  4. ^ Tender is the Night, Soundtracks
  5. ^ "Tender Is the Night". Variety.com. Variety. December 31, 1961. Retrieved December 10, 2021.