Invitation (1952 film)

Invitation is a 1952 melodrama starring Van Johnson and Dorothy McGuire as a happily married couple, until the wife learns a secret about her husband. The film was based on the short story "R.S.V.P." by Jerome Weidman. The theme song "Invitation" has since become a jazz standard.

Invitation FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byGottfried Reinhardt
Produced byLawrence Weingarten
Written byPaul Osborn
Based onR.S.V.P.
by Jerome Weidman
StarringVan Johnson
Dorothy McGuire
Ruth Roman
Music byBronislau Kaper
CinematographyRay June
Edited byGeorge Boemler
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
February 1, 1952
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,455,000[1]


Ellen Pierce (Dorothy McGuire) is very happily married to architect Dan (Van Johnson). However, due to a bout of rheumatic fever in her childhood, her heart is weak and she cannot exert herself too much; how frail she is, she does not really know. Her wealthy father (Louis Calhern) and the family doctor (Ray Collins) have kept from her the fact that she probably only has a few more months to live.

When Ellen visits acquaintance Maud Redwick (Ruth Roman), Dan's embittered former girlfriend, Maud reminds her about a vicious remark she had made at Ellen and Dan's wedding that he was only a "loan" for about a year. That, plus an invitation addressed to Dan to a medical conference and various other clues, leads Ellen to discover the truth, not only about her prognosis, but also an even more devastating secret: that her father had arranged the marriage to make her happy, and that Dan did not love her.

When Dan finds out, he confesses via flashbacks that he had initially rejected her father's offer, but due to a lack of success in his career, he had indeed married her at her father's behest. However, he claims that he has since fallen deeply in love with her.

He tells her about a Doctor Toynberry who has come up with a new technique that has a good chance of curing her and begs her to undergo the operation he has arranged for her. If it is a success, they will know by spring. After absorbing everything, she goes through with the medical procedure. The film flashes forward to the spring, with her healthy and blissfully still married to Dan.


Theme musicEdit

The theme music by Bronislau Kaper was originally used in A Life of Her Own (1950), but became a jazz standard after being used in this film and becoming known as "Invitation".

Box officeEdit

According to MGM records the film earned $855,000 in the US and Canada and $600,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $178,000.[1]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.

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