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Friends and Lovers (1931)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance  -  3 October 1931 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 228 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 3 critic

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), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Title: Friends and Lovers (1931)

Friends and Lovers (1931) on IMDb 5.4/10

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Complete credited cast:
Captain Geoffrey Roberts
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, and later Roberts, quotes "Oh, to be in England now that April's there", which is from "Home Thoughts from Abroad" by Robert Browning (1812-89). 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 »


Referenced in Three's Company: Friends and Lovers: Part 1 (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Coincidences and Passions
28 June 2006 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

A bit of a twist on the average love triangle story, this early American film adds in something to think about in terms of coincidences in life. Everything that happens, with characters meeting who have all been seduced by the same woman, is so reliant on convenient coincidences that it would almost be contrived, if it were not for the fact that the film is indeed about stories that sound contrived but are real, a point made clear by the discussions at the dinner table scene. The film is very talky, without much room set aside for establishing atmosphere, but the dinner scene is so intense that the lack of atmosphere elsewhere is almost forgotten, and there are a few stylish bits, such as a door opening slowly so that it cannot be seen who is opening it.

In a supporting role, Erich von Stroheim plays a central European porcelain collector who manipulates his wife into seducing British gentlemen so that he can later blackmail them. It seems a shame that he was not given a bigger part, because he has by far the most interesting character and he gives off the liveliest performance in the film, speaking slowly to toy with Adolphe Menjou, and moving about the place in such a cool, leisurely manner that one is constantly hanging on edge. Unbeknown to him, his plans go awry when it turns out that two of the men that his wife has seduced are old friends; this coincidence is obvious and too slowly played out, but the resulting initial resentment followed by acceptance that occurs between the two men is interesting to track.

The film looks like it may have been intended to be a satire, and the coincidences are sort of funny, however there's nothing comical as such about the film other than von Stroheim's appropriately domineering performance and the way that he talks - how he says "passion" with his accent comes out rather humorously. The film does not quite work as a satire, presenting more so things to think about then any definite message, and the transformations and motivations of Lili Damita's seductress character are never clear and seem a bit awkward. Damita herself is not exactly excellent in her role - she is visually striking, but never as charismatic as a femme fatale should be. The rest of the cast are generally fine, as is the overall production. It just falls a little short of being anything really special.

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