"Separate Tables" is about the tenants of the Beauregard Hotel in Bournemoth, England, who are each isolated in their own way. Burt Lancaster plays John, a recovered alcoholic living quietly after a bad marriage, David Niven plays Major Pollack, a WWII vet with a secret past, Deborah Kerr plays Sibyl, a spinster under the thumb of her domineering mother, and Wendy Hiller plays Pat, the capable but plain hotel owner. Pat's friendship and support of John have brought the two into a secret engagement, while Sibyl harbors a barely concealed crush for Niven's character because of his kindness to her and his obvious military dash.
But then two events happen that throw the Beauregard's residents' world topsy-turvy. The first is the sudden appearance of Rita Hayworth, who plays Ann, John's glamorous ex-wife, who starts trying to rekindle their relationship, but for what ulterior reason? The second is the discovery of a newspaper article about David Niven's character, which exposes him as a molester and a fraud. The shock of this sends Sibyl into a nervous breakdown. Will she recover? Will Pat be able to hang on to John? Why does Ann want John back, and what will become of the exposed Major Pollack?
Terence Rattigan's play is made into a viable movie, directed by Delbert Mann, with an array of stars. Burt Lancaster and Rita Hayworth are a divorced couple in this
"Grand Hotel"-but-actually-on-the-English-seacoast film.
Each of the guests has his/her own story and Mann deftly extracts each, expertly and cleanly. Oscars went to David Niven and Wendy Hiller!
The review of this Movie prepared by Bill Hobbs