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Friends and Lovers (1931)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  3 October 1931 (USA)
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British Army captain Geoff Roberts carries on an affair with Alva, the wife of the cruel Victor Sangrito. Sangrito, however, is well aware of the affair, as he uses his beautiful wife to ... See full summary »


(novel) (as Maurice DeKobra) , (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Lili Damita ...
Alva Sangrito
Lieutenant Ned Nichols
Victor Sangrito
Frederick Kerr ...
General Thomas Armstrong (as Frederic Kerr)
Blanche Friderici ...
Lady Allice
Vadim Uraneff ...
Jean Del Val ...
Marquis Henri de Pézanne


British Army captain Geoff Roberts carries on an affair with Alva, the wife of the cruel Victor Sangrito. Sangrito, however, is well aware of the affair, as he uses his beautiful wife to lure men into romance with her, then blackmailing them to save their careers. When Roberts falls into Sangrito's trap, he pays the blackmail and leaves for India, hoping to forget Alva, whom he loved but now believes betrayed him. After some time in India, he is joined by his young friend and bosom companion Lt. Ned Nichols. Nichols, too, is in love with a woman back in England...the same woman. Though the two friends nearly come to blows over Alva, they eventually realize that she has been false to them both and that their friendship far outweighs their feelings for a mendacious woman. But when the two are invalided home, they encounter Alva again, and learn that she may not have betrayed them after all. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 October 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wine in the Blood  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nicholls makes a comment to Roberts along the lines of "The Old Guard dies but never surrenders its shower ... ". This is a reference to the famous quote by one of Napoleon's generals, popularly attributed to General Vicomte de Cambronne, on June 18, 1815, to the Duke of Wellington's demand for a French surrender at Waterloo. Cambronne himself said afterwards that his reply was, "Merde," (sh*t). For years afterwards, the word "merde" was referred to by the French as "le mot de Cambronne" (Cambronne's word). See more »


[first lines]
Captain Geoffrey 'Geoff' Roberts: I suppose you will hate me... now.
Mrs. Alva Sangrito: Hate you? I love you more than ever.
[He takes her hand as they gaze into each other's eyes]
See more »


Featured in Great Performances: Laurence Olivier: A Life (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Acting Up
15 August 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

The FRIENDS AND LOVERS of a duplicitous female nearly have their lives destroyed by her wicked ways.

This well-acted piece of fluff makes no attempt at serious entertainment but manages to engage the viewer nonetheless, mainly because of its unique cast.

Lily Damita plays the sultry vamp who has no difficulty in enticing every man she meets. She is the female star of the picture, but her character is completely detestable. It says nothing positive about the moral discernment or intelligence level of the lead male players in the film that they are so completely seduced, for a time.

Adolphe Menjou and Laurence Olivier play the two British officers, firm friends, who both fall into Damita's web. Making no pretense at behaving British, Menjou plays the debonair captain who must decide between carnality & comradeship. Olivier, who looks astonishingly young (he turned 24 in 1931) is bright & energetic, projecting shadows of the future Lord Olivier as he advises Menjou as to the proper cut of tailored lapels.

Whimsical Hugh Herbert puts his gentle humor to good use as Menjou's Scots valet. Acting as a sort of Greek Chorus to the proceedings around him, he easily steals most of his scenes. Erich von Stroheim, that Teutonic master of menace, dominates the screen with a cunning portrayal of Damita's vile husband. Like an uncoiled snake ready to strike, von Stroheim slithers about the screen, alert to deliver the maximum discomfort to his victims. As always, he is a joy to watch. Alas, that his role is so brief.

Frederick Kerr as a boisterous old general, and Blanche Frederici as his straitlaced titled sister provide a few moments of sparkle at the end of the film.

The action during the scenes set in India takes place entirely within the walls of a rather dull fort. The Studio, Radio Pictures, apparently were unwilling to spend an extra dime on ambiance.

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