IMDb > Ex-Lady (1933)
Ex-Lady
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Ex-Lady (1933) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.2/10   580 votes »
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Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
David Boehm (screen play)
Edith Fitzgerald (story)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Ex-Lady on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 May 1933 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
So frank . . so outspoken... so true... See more »
Plot:
Although free spirit Helen Bauer does not believe in marriage, she consents to marry Don, but his infidelities cause her to also take on a lover. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
NewsDesk:
(3 articles)
Dangerous Davis Schedule
 (From Alt Film Guide. 15 August 2013, 2:05 PM, PDT)

Two-Time Oscar Winner Rolls Her Big Eyes Tonight
 (From Alt Film Guide. 14 August 2013, 5:06 PM, PDT)

Movie Poster of the Week: "The Bride of Frankenstein"
 (From MUBI. 26 November 2010, 9:11 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
Bette Davis' Impact Upon Women's Empowerment See more (11 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bette Davis ... Helen Bauer
Gene Raymond ... Don Peterson
Frank McHugh ... Hugo Van Hugh
Monroe Owsley ... Nick Malvyn
Claire Dodd ... Iris Van Hugh
Kay Strozzi ... Peggy Smith
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Mr. Herbert Smith
Alphonse Ethier ... Mr. Adolphe Bauer - Helen's Father
Bodil Rosing ... Mrs. Bauer - Helen's Mother
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Beranger ... Dinner Guest / Pianist (uncredited)
Armand Kaliz ... Man Flirting With Iris (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Butler (uncredited)
Gay Seabrook ... Miss Seymour - Don's Secretary (uncredited)
Billy West ... Panhandler (uncredited)
Renee Whitney ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Ynez ... Cuban Nightclub Dancer (uncredited)
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Directed by
Robert Florey 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
David Boehm  screen play
Edith Fitzgerald  story
Robert Riskin  story

Produced by
Lucien Hubbard .... supervising producer (uncredited)
Darryl F. Zanuck .... producer (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Tony Gaudio 
 
Film Editing by
Harold McLernon 
 
Art Direction by
Jack Okey 
 
Costume Design by
Orry-Kelly (gowns)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Elmer Fryer .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor
 
Other crew
Stanley Logan .... dialogue director
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
67 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Edith Fitzgerald's and Robert Riskin's story was actually an unproduced play copyrighted 1 July 1930.See more »
Quotes:
Hugo Van Hugh:Love, and life, and laughter!See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Under My UmbrellaSee more »

FAQ

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Bette Davis' Impact Upon Women's Empowerment, 6 April 2008
Author: phd12166 from United States

100 years after her birth, in 2008, to the credit of the greatest actor of the 20th century, it's impossible to separate the personal empowerment of Bette Davis' viewers from societies becoming more gender & sexually egalitarian.

"Ex-Lady" is the film version of an unperformed (1931) play "Illicit." By 1933, the blatant sexuality of "Ex-Lady" was close to being considered censor-able. Warner Bros'. production explores the subject of open marriage way before it was popular. Brazen director, French Robert Florey accentuates the acute blend of delicious dialog, succinct script, on-point performances & sensual cinematography.

Helen Bauer (Bette Davis at 25yo) is a sexy, fashion illustrator. Don Peterson (Gene Raymond at 22yo) is an advertising executive who's proposed marriage to Helen; but, she initially refuses not wanting to give up her independence. Much to the chagrin of Helen's overly moralistic father, Adolphe Bauer (Alphonso Ethier), the unwed couple is obviously having a live-in sexual relationship. Had this film been released later, these sexual aspects of an unwed relationship would've been censor-able due to the Hayes Code.

What's more, after Miss Bauer eventually becomes Mrs. Peterson, Helen's reluctance to marry comes across like the woman has intuition, when her husband begins a sexual flirtation with the bored, flapper wife, Iris Van Hugh (Claire Dodd), of his alcoholic business rival, Hugo Van Hugh (Frank McHugh). When Helen tries to platonically date a handsome rouge, Nick Malvyn (Monroe Owsley), he unsuccessfully attempts to make an adulteress of her!

Several examples of delightful dialog make my points plain:

Don (Raymond): "I'm just about fed up with sneaking in...let's get married so I'll have the right to be with you." Helen (Davis): "What do you mean 'right'? I don't like the word 'right'." Don: "Let's not quibble about words." Helen: "No, I'm not quibbling, 'right' means something. No one has any 'rights' about me, except me."

Helen soft & sincerely conveys what Bette Davis believed: women are men's equals. Part of the reason such films appeal(ed) to Davis' audiences so much is because she portrays empowered women. Helen 'says without saying' that she has the 'right' not to get married & enjoy her sexuality, too (in 1933!).

When Helen (Davis) says: "I don't want babies," Davis commented later in her life (1971), there'd be fewer divorces if couples didn't marry simply to have sex & babies. If her point, that couples who get married ought to do so because they are very strongly committed to one another, hasn't been socially adopted in the US yet, & couples still wed for moralistic reasons, Davis' Helen conveys a higher moral reason for marriage: a feminist one that holds very heavy weight today, since equality between women & men is all the more prevalent, as this early 20th century dialog reveals:

Don (Raymond): "You're a successful woman; I ought not to like it." Helen (Davis): "You're a pretty successful man; I ought not to like it." Don & Helen simultaneously: "I'm a man!"

As usual, Bette Davis' unique set of physical & verbal expressions convey a woman's power; this time without disempowering her man. This remains her appeal to women & men: as a woman's role model who is eventually actualized & an independent woman who men do love. In this sense, Bette Davis' characters, as role models of empowered women, have far reaching effects upon changing the social status of women to be equal to men and reveals that men do like it.

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