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Westward Passage (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 27 May 1932 (USA)
A struggling writer divorces his wife to pursue his career without interference, but they meet in Europe years later after she has remarried.



(story), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Mrs. Truesdale
Irene Purcell ...
Baroness Diane von Stael
Emmett King ...
Mr. Henry Ottendorf
Florence Roberts ...
Mrs. Ottendorf
Lady Caverly
Count Felipe DeLatorie
Elmer's Wife
Otto Hoopengarner - the Dutchman


Struggling writer Nick Allen and socialite Olivia Van Tyne marry and live frugally because Nick refuses to compromise his writing to satisfy his publisher. However, when they have an unwanted child, he does become a "hack" writer to feed the baby, little Olivia, and he resents it. Three years later, little Olivia interferes too much in his work, so he finds his own apartment and eventually divorces Olivia, who then marries gentle and kindly Harry Ottendorf. Not seeing each other for six more years, Olivia and Nick accidentally meet in Lucerne, Switzerland, while she, Harry and little Olivia are on vacation, and Nick, now a famous author, is on tour promoting his new book. When Harry has to go back to the States on business, Nick tries to rekindle Olivia's flickering love, but she repels him. Later, Olivia finds that Nick has also booked a room on the ship going home so they can take the westward passage together. Olivia is torn between her loyalty to Harry and her burgeoning love for ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

27 May 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Divorcio por amor  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Bonita Granville. See more »


Olivia: I'm going in, Nick.
Nick Allen: Just take one look at the moon. I had if full tonight, especially for you.
Olivia: No, I'm very tired.
Nick Allen: This is the perfect place to be tired. Be tired in my arms.
Olivia: I want to go in, Nick.
Nick Allen: You want to go in because you're afraid I'm going to make love to you. You're quite right. I am.
Olivia: No you're not, Nick. Good night.
See more »


Referenced in The Complete Citizen Kane (1991) See more »


What'll I Do?
Music by Irving Berlin
Duet played by Laurence Olivier and Ann Harding on the piano
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User Reviews

Poses & Postures From Olivier
28 August 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A rich woman encounters her first husband during a WESTWARD PASSAGE across the Atlantic.

RKO Studios joined the lovely Ann Harding and the dynamic young Laurence Olivier in this rather pedestrian little soap opera, which gains its main distinction from its casting. The emotions on display are a bit tawdry at times, but the performances are certainly always entertaining.

Miss Harding, sadly rather obscure today, gives a fine portrayal of a woman slowly unfolding, like a rose, into becoming a successful, vibrant female. Even though she treats her second spouse rather shoddily, the viewer still cares about her and wishes her well. Olivier gives a marvelously hammy performance, full of stagy flourishes & fidgets. Always mindful of the camera, he makes himself a coquette to the viewers, so effortlessly stealing every scene that it's easy to forget just how petty, irresponsible & disreputable his character actually is.

A fine cast of players offer able support: Irving Pichel as Harding's decent, dull second husband; Juliette Compton & Irene Purcell as her wealthy, worldly girlfriends; slow-burning Edgar Kennedy as a henpecked husband aboard ship; Herman Bing as a comic factotum; and little Bonita Granville as the precocious offspring of Harding & Olivier.

Best of all is dear ZaSu Pitts, all fluttery gestures & rolling eyes, as the wonderfully vague proprietress of the quaint honeymoon inn where Olivier takes Harding, twice.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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