Separate Tables

Director: Delbert Mann
Year Released: 1958
Rating: 2.5

There are a lot of broken and lonely people living at the Not-So-Grand Hotel: former World War II "hero" Major Pollock (David Niven) doesn't want bad news about himself (he likes to "nudge" women in theaters) leaking to the other guests, alkie writer John (Burt Lancaster) is in a relationship with the hotel's owner Pat (Wendy Hiller) but old flame Ann (Rita Hayworth) shows up looking for him, and mousy Sibyl (Deborah Kerr) is dominated by her mother and can't break free.  Terrence Rattigan - with John Gay - adapted this to the screen from two one-act plays, and while it never quite breaks itself free from the stage (with your expected embellishments, particularly Kerr's character) and even loses track of one of the couples (Rod Taylor and Audrey Dalton) - their few scenes feel like an after-thought - you'd have to be made of titanium not to find the residents' final acceptance of Niven's creepy introvert not to be a little heart-warming (we're all human, we all have flaws).  Despite the creakiness, it's an actor's movie, and won Niven and Hiller Oscars ... although Lancaster is no slouch either.