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Children of Divorce (1927)

 |  Drama, Romance  |  25 April 1927 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 55 users  
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A young flapper tricks her childhood sweetheart into marrying her. He really loves another woman, but didn't marry her for fear the marriage would end in divorce, like his parents'. Complications ensue.


, (uncredited)


(titles), (novel) (as Owen McMahon Johnson) , 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kitty Flanders
Jean Waddington
Edward D. 'Ted' Larrabee
Einar Hanson ...
Prince Ludovico de Saxe
Duke Henri de Goncourt
Katherine Flanders
Edward Martindel ...
Tom Larrabee
Julia Swayne Gordon ...
Princess De Saxe
Tom Ricketts ...
The Secretary
Albert Gran ...
Mr. Seymour
Iris Stuart ...
Margaret Campbell ...
Mother Superior
Percy Williams ...
Joyce Coad ...
Little Kitty
Yvonne Pelletier ...
Little Jean


A young flapper tricks her childhood sweetheart into marrying her. He really loves another woman, but didn't marry her for fear the marriage would end in divorce, like his parents'. Complications ensue.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Drama | Romance




Release Date:

25 April 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Filhos do Divórcio  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Josef von Sternberg was called in by Paramount to reshoot some scenes, shoot new scenes and recut the existing footage after executives made the determination that the film was not releasable. See more »


Kitty Flanders: You'd make a marvelous second husband but you are too much of a luxury for a poor girl's first husband.
See more »


Referenced in Clara Bow: Discovering the It Girl (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Here are my notes from introducing the restored film Jan. 22, 2010
25 January 2010 | by (Culpeper, VA USA) – See all my reviews

Tonight's print was a Library of Congress lab restoration. When we acquired the original nitrate negative in 1969, it was missing footage, had image loss and decomposition. It had even been lacquered (think of waxing your car to fill in scratches.) So when it was copied using the state-of-the-art resources available at the time, there were problems printed in. Then in the year 2000, we tried using newer film stocks and light filters to make better patch footage. By then, one-quarter of the nitrate negative had melted and that material was lost forever. The lacquer caused splices (cement joins) to break open and the emulsion (picture area) to crack as it bent over the rollers. Wet-gate printing (immersing the film in cleaning liquid) was used to fill in the scratches. The deterioration visible on the note you see Clara Bow writing about 60 minutes into the story shows how the footage looked 31 years ago. Much of what seems to be dirt printed in, especially on the fades, is actually deterioration. In the first reel the image may jump a little but that goes away. Over 200 work-hours were spent to make this the best print possible and the Library is the only archive to hold material on this title. This print has been screened a relatively few number of times over the last decade, (most recently at the BFI in London just last month); it's not available on home video and it hasn't played on television so this is a rare opportunity to see it.

The star of Children of Divorce is Clara Bow who was an even bigger box office draw at the time than Angelina Jolie is now.

She grew up poor on the streets of Brooklyn. According to silent film actress Louise Brooks who was a friend of Clara's, Bow liked to say she came to Hollywood not through winning a beauty contest (as many stars claimed to have gotten their start) but through wining a personality contest. In her first film DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS she played a spunky tom-boy. Then after making 23 films by the age of 18, mostly small uncredited parts, she starred in THE PLASTIC AGE as a sexy flapper and a star was born! Roaring twenties writer Elinor Glyn wrote about Clara Bow claiming she had "IT," - IT being sex appeal and so much more! This "IT girl" persona was capitalized upon by the studio who starred her in films with titles like IT - DAUGHTERS OF PLEASURE, THE ADVENTUROUS SEX, KISS ME AGAIN, FREE TO LOVE, MAN TRAP, DANGEROUS CURVES, NO LIMIT, CALL HER SAVAGE and this romance-society-melodrama -CHILDREN OF DIVORCE! But there was much more to her than just "IT." Bow was known for adding little pieces of business, human touches that made her character unpredictable, more real and fascinating.

Clara also discovered a tall stuntman from Montana who had a 2 minute scene in WINGS and another 2 minute bit in her film IT, his name is Gary Cooper. (Gary, Indiana) Actor James Hall was originally chosen to play the male lead in CHILDREN OF DIVORCE, but the role was given to Gary Cooper at the insistence of star Clara Bow. The role helped to propel Cooper towards superstardom. Gary Cooper had appeared uncredited in over 20 films by the time CHILDREN OF DIVORCE came along. After this film he never went uncredited again. That's not to say he's really good in it. And I don't want to say Cooper is bad in it either, he was just young and not yet comfortable with acting. His character is a rich playboy type and it was probably the first time he'd ever worn fancy dinner clothes. One scene called for him to walk through a room where a party was going on. He was supposed to breezily stroll through the crowd flirting with the girls and sipping champagne from their glasses. But he was more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. They did upwards of 30 takes as he continued to stumble and spill his champagne on the party goers. He was fired but the actor they replaced him with was even worse so he was summoned back, but only after they had spent a good amount of time searching for him. He had taken off for awhile to be alone, thinking his career was over.

One recent review described Children of Divorce as a woman's emotion picture with a soapy flavor centered on two friends played by Bow and Esther Ralston (best known as playing the mother in PETER PAN which we played here a few months ago). As the title suggests the film is full of lurid warnings about the dangers of divorce and the terrible effects on the next generation.

The film begins in an American "divorce colony" in Paris after the First World War and during prohibition in the states, where parents left their children at convents for months at a time while the adults partied. Kitty, Jean and Ted meet and become friends. Years later, wealthy Ted (Gary Cooper) falls in love with Jean (Esther Ralston). And while Kitty (Clara) is in love with a penniless Prince (played by Einar Hanson who died in a car accident 2 months after this film opened), she reluctantly follows the advice of her mother - (marry for money). Hedda Hopper (best known for being a famous Hollywood gossip columnist who wore outrageous hats) plays the mother.

Just today I watched a documentary on Clara Bow and her son said the night before she died she was up watching Gary Cooper in The Virginian on the late, late show. I guess she never did get over him… P.S. - Bottom line the print looked amazing and the audience was very moved, I recommend it to all silent film buffs. LS

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