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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 341 users  
Reviews: 14 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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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)
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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 »
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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

[last lines]
Minnie, Duchess of Sourae: You know, you're very naughty sometimes, Pearl, but you have a good heart and I can't help being fond of you.
Lady Pearl Saunders Grayston: Minnie!
Minnie, Duchess of Sourae: Pearl!
[they embrace]
Ernest: Ah! What an exquisite spectacle! Two ladies of title, kissing one another!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Vito (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played by an offscreen organ during the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Plays out like a 1930's version of a reality show
4 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Constance Bennett plays Pearl, an heiress bride who, on her wedding day immediately after the ceremony, overhears her new husband tell his lover that he married Pearl only for her money as he and his lover are penniless. However, he does have a British title, and Constance goes to live in Britain with him, with their lavish lifestyle at first financed by her money. When that runs out, she has a lover who supplies her with cash.

I generally watch these old films to escape the cynicism of today's world, and this film fails in that respect. The entire cast behaves in a despicable and inhuman manner like something out of ancient Rome, with the exception of Pearl's young sister Bessie, who is a wide-eyed innocent about to make the same mistake as Pearl did when she married her faithless husband. We all figure that Pearl behaving like a manipulative pleasure-addicted ice queen is rooted in her husband's betrayal, but nothing is said about motivation at all until the end of the film. George Cukor generally did a great job in these "women's films", especially if Katharine Hepburn was starring. But then Kate was such an excellent actress that she could get her motivation across without the use of explicit dialogue. Constance Bennett usually could do so too, so why things don't pan out here theatrically I have no idea.

As an aside, it is interesting that Gilbert Roland and Constance Bennett play lovers in this and one other film from 1933 - "After Tonight" - yet don't marry until eight years later. I wonder if there's a story there?


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