6.9/10
2,218
43 user 26 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.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

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

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

A Free Soul (1931)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An alcoholic lawyer who successfully defended a notorious gambler on a murder charge objects when his free-spirited daughter becomes romantically involved with him.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore
Min and Bill (1930)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Min, the owner of a dockside hotel, is forced to make difficult decisions about the future of Nancy, the young woman she took in as an infant.

Director: George W. Hill
Stars: Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, Dorothy Jordan
Coquette (1929)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A flirtatious Southern belle is compromised with one of her suitors.

Director: Sam Taylor
Stars: Mary Pickford, Johnny Mack Brown, Matt Moore
Female (1933)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Alison Drake, the tough-minded executive of an automobile factory, succeeds in the man's world of business until she meets an independent design engineer.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Dieterle, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Lois Wilson
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Joan Blondell, Warren William, Ann Dvorak
Night Nurse (1931)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A nurse enlists the help of a petty criminal to foil a sinister plot to murder two children.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The author of a controversially racy best-selling book tries to hide her celebrity status from her provincial small-town neighbors, who'd be scandalized if they knew.

Director: Richard Boleslawski
Stars: Irene Dunne, Melvyn Douglas, Thomas Mitchell
Private Lives (1931)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Divorced couple unexpectedly meet each other during their honeymoon and rekindle their love.

Director: Sidney Franklin
Stars: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Reginald Denny
The Big House (1930)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A convict falls in love with his new cellmate's sister, only to become embroiled in a planned break-out which is certain to have lethal consequences.

Directors: George W. Hill, Ward Wing
Stars: Chester Morris, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone
The Champ I (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Alcoholic ex-boxer struggles to provide a good living for his son.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Warren William, May Robson, Guy Kibbee
Kitty Foyle (1940)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A hard-working, white-collar girl from a middle-class family meets and falls in love with a young socialite, but she soon clashes with his family.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Dennis Morgan, James Craig
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Ted
...
...
Don
...
...
...
...
Tyler Brooke ...
Hank
Zelda Sears ...
...
Dr. Bernard
...
Dorothy (as Helen Johnson)
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer All Talking Picture!

Genres:

Romance | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

19 April 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La divorciada  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$340,691 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Crawford was outspoken as to how often the roles she coveted at MGM were given to Norma Shearer. When approached for comment by the press, Crawford famously remarked, "What do you expect? She sleeps with the boss" - referring to Shearer's husband, MGM production chief Irving Thalberg. See more »

Goofs

The beginning of the movie is 1925 shortly before Jerry's marriage, yet, "Singing in the Rain" is playing on the radio. The song was composed for Hollywood Music Box Revue in 1927 and really popularized in MGM's Hollywood Revue of 1929. See more »

Quotes

Offscreen Man #4: I didn't know you had a husband, Jerry?
Jerry Bernard Martin: Ha-ha. I had; but, I haven't.
Offscreen Man #4: Let's drink to his health, the infernal fool!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Played at the New Year's Eve party at the end
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"An overtone of sarcasm"
26 January 2012 | by See all my reviews

The dramas of the early sound era were often awkward, phoney-looking things. A lot of this has to do with the acting. Most actors were of course experienced in silent cinema, but a lot of players with stage experience had also been brought in as was deemed appropriate for "talkies". Silent screen acting tended to be over-the-top so that meaning could be expressed without words, and stage acting also tended to be over-the-top so that meaning could be expressed to people sitting in the back row. But this excessive style didn't really work in the more authentic setting of sound cinema. Of course, movie people weren't stupid; they were aware of what did and didn't work and the industry adapted quicker than is sometimes thought.

And of course, there were some actors and actresses who simply seemed to get the hang of it straight away. Norma Shearer was among a small number who survived the transition from silents to talkies with her career completely intact. One thing Shearer had was a remarkable presence – she's able to project herself with just a simple gesture or pose, and in The Divorcée she's often standing with her shoulders slightly forward in understated aggression. And within this context she is able to give a restrained performance, conveying a great deal but with a degree of credibility that makes the drama seem more believable. Shearer deservedly won the Academy Award for her work here. Compare her to previous year's winner Mary Pickford in Coquette, a slice of ham from a bygone era, and you can see how much things have changed.

Let's also take a look at the director Robert Z. Leonard. He's not too well remembered these days because he isn't deemed an auteur, but at the time he was among the forefront of Hollywood professionals. Two things in particular are worth noting about his style in The Divorcée. First is that he uses a lot of camera movement to really engage us in a scene (who says early sound films were static?), often using a noteworthy pan as a character appears. Secondly, he gives us an awful lot of the interplay between characters in simple wordless glances between them, for example the jealous look of Conrad Nagel when Shearer and Chester Morris announce their betrothal, or later a silent, spiteful exchange between Shearer and Mary Doran. There was a temptation for talkie directors to shoot things before the assembled actors as if for a stage play, but here Leonard is making subtle close-ups that cut across the action, and in so doing giving depth to the story outside of the dialogue.

This picture is now often classified as a "pre-code" movie for its depiction of Shearer's promiscuity after she becomes the titular divorcée, although even by the standards of the day it's pretty tame. However, thanks to its fluid direction and naturalistic acting, it is nevertheless a movie that seems a few steps ahead of its time, and points towards the increasingly sophisticated sound cinema of the 1930s.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 43 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page