Despite only being on screen for less than 20 minutes, David
Niven walked home with the 1958 Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Separate Tables (a record for the shortest performance to win for a lead role over 60 years later).
Adapted to the screen by Terence Rattigan from his own stage
play, the film follows a group of various people staying at a seaside hotel in the coastal English town of Bournemouth, where the characters have some interaction with each other, but always dine
at "separate tables".
It's understandable why Niven won the Academy Award, since his
story is the most central to the plot as a war veteran who is accused of a scandal to which some of the other hotel guests wish to see him expelled from the building.
It's all quite melodramatic with the other stories going on
all around this, but the ensemble cast are all excellent, particularly Wendy Hiller who has interaction with all the hotel's guests.
The plot probably would work best as a stage play, but this
film did break some boundaries at the time of its release due to its risqué dialogue and sexual innuendos, which are all quite tame now, but would have been quite the scandal in the late