9 user 3 critic

The Guardsman (1931)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | 7 November 1931 (USA)
A Vienna based acting couple make magic when they perform together on stage. Unknown to the theater going public and despite being married for only six months, that magic seems no longer to... See full summary »



(from the play by) (as Ferenc Molnar), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
The Actor
The Actress
The Critic
A Creditor


A Vienna based acting couple make magic when they perform together on stage. Unknown to the theater going public and despite being married for only six months, that magic seems no longer to translate to their personal life, where they are constantly arguing, even under their breaths during on-stage curtain calls. These arguments stem from the actress' moody behavior, which the actor believes means that she no longer loves him and that she is looking for another man to replace him in her personal life. He believes she even scans the audience for potential suitors, probably being most attracted to the soldier type. Their feuding is at a point where they take pot shots at each other about everything in their lives, even the quality of the other's acting. The actor may have a valid point as the actress has been receiving bouquets of roses of late and a Russian guardsman has been seen hanging around outside their home. The actor knows these things as he is that Russian guardsman (who is ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 November 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gardeskaptenen  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ferenc Molnár's play opened in Budapest in 1911. English versions were staged in London (as "Playing With Fire") and New York (as "Where Ignorance Is Bliss") in 1913. But the definitive English version, adapted by Philip Moeller, opened in New York in 1924 and starred Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. See more »


[the Creditor has seen through the Actor's disguise]
A Creditor: Your own mother might not know you. Your own wife might not know you. And you might put on all the uniforms and all the whiskers and all the wigs in the world. But, as long as you owe me money, I would know you.
See more »


Remade as The Chocolate Soldier (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

a historical theatrical couple on film
27 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The names Lunt and Fontanne to this day signify greatness in acting. This famous stage couple has a theater named after them in New York City. To see some of these "great names" perform, though, can prove to be the shattering of illusions. Today's acting styles are so different than they were back then, and one sometimes expects to see hammy gestures, trembling voices, and over the top melodrama.

I am thrilled to report that Lunt and Fontanne live up to their reputation and are as wonderful today as they were back then when they filmed their hit play, "The Guardsman." It's a silly story -- a husband and wife theatrical couple spar at each other, and the husband believes his wife is unfaithful. To test her, he disguises himself as a Russian guardsman and attempts to seduce her.

Lunt and Fontanne were a very attractive couple and absolutely charming. Their performance in a scene from "Elizabeth the Queen" at the very beginning of the film had me hankering for more. I wish they had made other films, but they refused, finding it too boring.

A real treat.

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