39 user 25 critic

The Divorcee (1930)

Passed | | Romance, Drama | 19 April 1930 (USA)
When a woman discovers that her husband has been unfaithful to her, she decides to respond to his infidelities in kind.




(based on a novel by), (treatment) (as Nick Grindé) | 2 more credits »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Helene Millard ...
Tyler Brooke ...
Zelda Sears ...
Dr. Bernard
Dorothy (as Helen Johnson)


Jerry and Ted are young, in love, and part of the New York 'in-crowd'. Jerry's decision to marry Ted crushes a yearning Paul. Distraught Paul gets drunk and wrecks his car, disfiguring young Dorothy's face in the process. Out of pity, Paul marries Dorothy. Years later, the apparent perfect marriage of Ted and Jerry falls apart from infidelity on both sides. Inwardly unhappy, popular Jerry lives a party life while Ted sinks into a life of alcoholism. Jerry then runs into Paul, who still loves her. After spending time together with Jerry, Paul plans to divorce Dorothy. When Jerry sees Dorothy again, she has second thoughts about where her life is heading. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer All Talking Picture!


Romance | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 April 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La divorciada  »

Box Office


$340,691 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shooting wrapped in only 22 days and, surprisingly for MGM, there were no retakes. See more »


At 30:11, the stole on Jerry's arm moves. See more »


Jerry Bernard Martin: Well you don't exactly take the veil when your decree is granted, you know.
See more »


Featured in MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992) See more »


You Were Meant For Me
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Played on the radio
Danced by Robert Montgomery and Judith Wood
See more »

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User Reviews

Fast, advanced sound and naturalistic acting, and modern themes...terrific!
26 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Divorcée (1930)

The start of this is such a busy, overlapping party scene in a country house, you can't help but get swept up in it. And if some of the acting or a few of the quips are not perfect, the best moments are really fun and spirited. The naturalism is really refreshing, and pace fast, and the dialog real. Then it spins out of control--the events, not the movie--and before fifteen minutes are up, there's a brief terrible moment that has two or three of the actors exploring an hysteria that a method actor would be proud of. It's intense, great stuff. Get at least that far in.

The rest of the movie follows suit, through quiet and fast moments, and the drama turns to melodrama and back, all pinned together by the ever convincing Norma Shearer. The themes--fidelity and infidelity, love and friendship, the superficial versus the things that matter--give it all something to chew on or laugh at at ever turn.

It's unnecessary to say that this is just two years after the full advent of sound, and it's a very developed, mature element in the movies. In fact, the density of things going on would never have been possible with intertitles, and it must have been a revelation to audiences and movie makers equally. Fast dialog and overlapping events are a natural extension of the theater, of course, but with the ability to shift scenes and zip down wooded roads with the camera is the essence of cinema.

So, in all, for how it's made, for the acting (the best of it), and for the serious, important themes, this is gem, an amazing movie, whatever its hiccups and flaws here and there. I wouldn't miss it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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