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Private Lives (1931) Poster

(1931)

Trivia

Robert Montgomery was accidentally knocked unconscious during the fight scene with Norma Shearer.
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In the 1930s the word "God" was not to be used trivially in the movies. Thus the line in Private Lives regarding a cigarette was changed from, "For God sakes give me one," to "Give me one for the love of heaven."
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Glacier Bay Park in Montana doubled for the Swiss Alps in the film's mountain climbing scene.
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The original play opened in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, and starred Noël Coward (who also directed), Gertrude Lawrence, Laurence Olivier and Adrianne Allen. After a 5-week tour of England, it opened a scheduled 3-month engagement in London on 24 September 1930, after which it came to Broadway, New York City, on 27 January 1931 and ran for 256 performances, closing in September 1931. Jill Esmond replaced Allen in New York for the role of Sybil. The very popular play had 6 Broadway revivals alone, the last in 2002, and is continually revived the world over.
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Irving Thalberg, the film's producer and husband of the film's female star, Norma Shearer, had a camera crew film the first act of the play in New York with Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence so the cast of the film could see the timing for laughs. This film is unfortunately not known to have survived.
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" Private Lives " was the seventh most popular movie at the U.S. box office for 1931.
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According to TCM, MGM was given permission to film a performance of the original Noel Coward play for this movie. The cast of the film studied the performances given by the actors in the play and tried to emulate them as much as possible. It is rumored however, that the film was destroyed immediately after its viewing by the cast of the movie and it has not been heard of or found since.
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The play has been revived many times, with Tallulah Bankhead, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth Taylor,Joan Collins and Kim Cattrall all taking a turn as leading lady Amanda Prynne.
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Oddly, for so elegant an English character as Amanda, both times she smokes in the film she drops her cigarette in a glass to extinguish it.
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Playwright Noël Coward, as he was with all the film versions of his plays, was reportedly displeased with how the film turned out.
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