IMDb > Emma (1932)
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Emma (1932) More at IMDbPro »

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Emma -- A housekeeper faces unexpected snobbery when she marries her boss inthis enjoyable drama starring Oscar-nominee Marie Dressler and JeanHersholt. Co-starring Myrna Loy.


User Rating:
7.2/10   602 votes »
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Down 30% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Frances Marion (story)
Leonard Praskins (adaptation)
View company contact information for Emma on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 January 1932 (USA) See more »
She makes you LAUGH, She makes you CRY, but always makes you HAPPY!
After decades of raising the motherless Smith children, housekeeper Emma Thatcher is faced with resentment when she marries their father. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
Another Sterling Performance From Marie Dressler See more (23 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Marie Dressler ... Emma

Richard Cromwell ... Ronnie

Jean Hersholt ... Mr. Smith

Myrna Loy ... Isabelle

John Miljan ... District Attorney
Purnell Pratt ... Haskins (as Purnell B. Pratt)
Leila Bennett ... Matilda

Barbara Kent ... Gypsy

Kathryn Crawford ... Sue

George Meeker ... Bill

Dale Fuller ... Maid
Wilfred Noy ... Drake
André Cheron ... Count Pierre (as Andre Cheron)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wilson Benge ... George - the Second Butler (uncredited)
Wade Boteler ... Airport Official (uncredited)
George Cooper ... Airport Mechanic (uncredited)

Edith Fellows ... Gypsy as a Child (uncredited)

Clarence Geldart ... Trial Judge (uncredited)
Sherry Hall ... Magazine and Candy Clerk (uncredited)

Edward Hearn ... Haskins' Assistant (uncredited)
John Larkin ... Train Station Porter (uncredited)

Edward LeSaint ... Druggist at Trial (uncredited)

William H. O'Brien ... Undetermined Minor Role (uncredited)

Edward Peil Sr. ... Undetermined Minor Role (uncredited)
Jack Pennick ... Man at Railway Station Who Retrieves Emma's Corset (uncredited)
Dorothy Peterson ... Mrs. Winthrop (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Railroad Ticket Agent (uncredited)

Anne Shirley ... Isabelle as a Child (uncredited)
Joan Standing ... Employment Agency Clerk (uncredited)
Walter Walker ... Dr. Horton (uncredited)
Jay Ward ... Bill as a Child (uncredited)

Directed by
Clarence Brown 
Writing credits
Frances Marion (story)

Leonard Praskins (adaptation and dialogue)

Zelda Sears (additional dialogue)

Produced by
Clarence Brown .... producer (uncredited)
Harry Rapf .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Oliver T. Marsh (photographed by)
Film Editing by
William LeVanway (film editor)
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Costume Design by
Adrian (gowns)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Dorian .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Anstruther MacDonald .... sound (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Samuel Cohen .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Eddie Fitzgerald .... second camera operator (uncredited)
S.C. Manatt .... still photographer (uncredited)
Kyme Meade .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
72 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Australia:G | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

The $5,000 Mr. Smith gets for his carburetor invention in 1911 would be the equivalent of about $130,000 in 2016.See more »
Continuity: When Ronnie drives up to the Smith mansion with his dog, the dog can be seen about to follow him out of the car. Ronnie calls the dog, and we see the dog sitting in the back seat as if he hadn't budged and then walking toward him.See more »
Emma:[to Matilda] If you intend to work in the swell, smart families, you've got to learn to be deaf and blind. It isn't enough that you should just be dumb.See more »
Movie Connections:
Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4 (Lullaby)See more »


What have critics said?
See more »
23 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
Another Sterling Performance From Marie Dressler, 1 February 2001
Author: Ron Oliver ( from Forest Ranch, CA

Watching after her rich employer's motherless brood, elderly housekeeper EMMA finds love in a very unexpected place. But an accusation of murder is only one of the burdens she'll have to bear on her weary old shoulders before she finds a way to be useful again.

At the time she made this film, Marie Dressler was Hollywood's greatest star. An unlikely celebrity sensation, with her homely face & shapeless body, Dressler was nonetheless adored by the American public who could sense her basic decency & goodness. For a few brief years she became the nation's grandma, someone with whom the public could feel completely comfortable. Dressler seemed to typify the virtues of hard work & plainspoken honesty - attributes which counted for much in the Great Depression's darkest days.

This in no way is meant to denigrate Dressler's talents as an actress; she earned her accolades. She had complete command of her craft, mobilizing her pliable face & large body into capturing & holding first the audience's attention & then their admiration, followed quickly by their deep affection. Marie Dressler was a unique cinematic phenomenon; she stands alone, never replicated, duplicated or effaced - except by the vagaries of fickle time. Today in this new millennium, when her special earthy benevolence is needed more than ever, she is virtually unknown to any but the oldest or most nostalgic of movie mavens.

As sole star, and with a script penned by her dear friend Frances Marion, Dressler is given free rein to beguile in EMMA. Whether dealing with tragic death, or engaged in comedic high jinks (Dressler in an airplane simulator run amuck or chasing her lingerie-disgorging suitcase across a crowded train station is nothing less than hilarious) she is as completely unforgettable as she was to prove utterly irreplaceable.

Firm support is given by gentle Jean Hersholt as Dressler's kindly employer. As his son, Richard Cromwell gives an energetic performance. Lovely Myrna Loy, not-quite-yet a star, is strangely awkward as Hersholt's spiteful daughter. John Miljan is effective in the role of a relentless District Attorney.

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DVD now available directly from Warner's webpage! simonhowson
Please, a DVD release of this wonderful film danielj_old999
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