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Our Betters (1933)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  17 March 1933 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 349 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 4 critic

Although the British upper class may be thought our betters in society, but they are certainly not our betters, and perhaps our equals, in morality.

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(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lady Pearl Grayston
Violet Kemble Cooper ...
Duchess (as Violet Kemble-Cooper)
Phoebe Foster ...
Princess
...
Thornton Clay
Charles Starrett ...
...
Bessie
...
Pepi D'Costa
Minor Watson ...
Arthur Fenwick
Hugh Sinclair ...
Lord Bleane
...
Lord George Grayston
Harold Entwistle ...
Pole
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Virginia Howell ...
Mrs. Saunders (scenes deleted)
Walter Walker ...
Mr. Saunders (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

American heiress Pearl Saunders marries Lord George Grayston but later sees him embracing his lover on their wedding day. She has his title and he has her money; thereafter they are rarely seen together. Pearl is accepted by the British aristocracy and is presented at court, but creates a scandal by wearing black. She encourages her younger sister, Bessie, who idolizes her, to respond to the attentions of Lord Harry Bleane despite Bessie preferring American Fleming Harvey. Pearl gives a weekend party at the Grayston estate inviting close friends, including her lover, Arthur Fenwick; her friend, Duchess Minnie and Minnie's gigolo companion, Pepi D'Costa; as well as Bessie, Lord Bleane and Harvey. Pepi, who had been meeting Pearl on the sly, discretely suggests a rendezvous with her in the new teahouse on the property. Both make some pretext to leave but are seen by Minnie entering the teahouse. Vindictive Minnie pretends to have left her purse in the teahouse and sends Bessie to fetch ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

wedding | sister | party | heiress | gigolo | See All (25) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 March 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Haute société  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 12 March 1917 and closed in June 1917 after 112 performances. It was revived on 20 February 1928 with Ina Claire as Pearl, Constance Collier as the Duchess, Reginald Bach (who also directed) as Thornton Clay, and with Lillian Kemble-Cooper and Madge Evans. The revival ran for 128 performances and closed in June 1928. See more »

Quotes

Lady Pearl Saunders Grayston: Men are trivial, foolish creatures. Kind hearts but no heads. And they're so vain, poor dears, they're so vain.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Celluloid Closet (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz of the Flowers
(1891-2) (uncredited)
from "The Nutcracker Ballet, Op.71"
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
In the score during the royal court scenes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"As if one remembered an emotion after he no longer felt it.."
7 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fascinating, richly-textured morality play by the great Somerset Maugham, acted to perfection by a first-rate cast including Constance Bennett at her absolute peak. George Cukor directed with a master's touch, Max Steiner provided the score, and David O. Selznick's production was polished. Constance Bennett plays the disillusioned American wife of a British aristocrat, who finds out on her wedding day that her husband married her only for her money. She decides to take life on their terms, and becomes a cunning seductress among a large group of wealthy and cynical people. Her scheming, combined with the sharp, cynical dialog worthy of Oscar Wilde, and the general irony of the whole affair, makes for an amusing and intelligent film. The witty one-liners are to be cherished, as are the fabulous gowns, and the glowing beauty of Constance Bennett. The film was also one of the first to feature an openly gay character. It's a great treat to view the film 75 years later. Although society may have changed, human behavior has not.


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