6.6/10
13
1 user

The Past of Mary Holmes (1933)

Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

To rekindle their love, a divorce judge orders a couple whose marriage is on the rocks to re-enact their four-day breakneck courtship.

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Jean Arthur, Lee Bowman, Charles Coburn
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Long-missing Bill Cardew returns to find his wife Vicky remarried...and in no hurry to settle for just one husband.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Jean Arthur, Fred MacMurray, Melvyn Douglas
Whirlpool (1934)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Carnie owner Buck Rankin marries local girl Helen and plans to go straight, but after a brawl ends up with a twenty-year sentence for manslaughter. When a pregnant Helen vows to wait for ... See full summary »

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Jack Holt, Jean Arthur, Donald Cook
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a rich young man marries, he lets the books and letters left him by his dead mother guide his life.

Director: Vin Moore
Stars: Betty Compson, Elliott Nugent, Jean Arthur
Ex-Bad Boy (1931)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A man gets in trouble with his girlfriend when a beautiful movie star and her fiance come to his small town.

Director: Vin Moore
Stars: Robert Armstrong, Jean Arthur, Jason Robards Sr.
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The Most Precious Thing in Life is a 1934 American film directed by Lambert Hillyer and starring Richard Cromwell, Jean Arthur, Donald Cook, Anita Louise, and Mary Forbes. The film tells a ... See full summary »

Director: Lambert Hillyer
Stars: Richard Cromwell, Jean Arthur, Donald Cook
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A G-man goes undercover to infiltrate a gang, helping the group's leader escape from prison to gain his trust.

Director: J. Walter Ruben
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Jean Arthur, Chester Morris
Party Wire (1935)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When the daughter of the town's leading citizen and a local dairyman have a romance,and the man makes a sudden-and-unexplained trip out of town, the local gossips, employing the ... See full summary »

Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Jean Arthur, Victor Jory, Helen Lowell
Comedy | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Screwball comedy has wealthy mystery writer Paula Bradford using her doctor ex-husband's non-payment of alimony to coerce him into a reconciliation.

Director: Stephen Roberts
Stars: William Powell, Jean Arthur, James Gleason
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

During the World War II housing shortage in Washington, two men and a woman share a single apartment and the older man plays Cupid to the other two.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A city girl on a bus tour of the West encounters a handsome rodeo cowboy who helps her forget her simpy city suitors.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Jean Arthur, John Wayne, Charles Winninger
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi café singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, John Lund
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Mary Holmes
...
Geoffrey Holmes
...
Joan Hoyt
...
Ben Pratt
...
Jacob Riggs
Clay Clement ...
G.K. Ethridge
...
Gary Kent
...
Bill-poster Klondike
...
Betty
...
Tom Kincaid
Franklin Parker ...
Brooks
...
Flanagan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edit

Storyline

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 January 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Goose Woman  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was proceeded by The Big Cage (1933) in some theaters during it's original release. See more »

Connections

Version of The Goose Woman (1925) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Based on a famous murder case.
14 November 2004 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'The Past of Mary Holmes' was inspired by a notorious murder case that was never solved. In 1922, a man and woman were found shot dead in a field in New Jersey. The man was quickly identified as the Reverend Edward Hall, an Episcopal minister married to an heiress. The woman was Eleanor Mills, who sang in Reverend Hall's choir ... and who had been the wife of Hall's sexton. Alongside the corpses (apparently placed there by the killer) was solid evidence that Hall and Mrs Mills had been conducting a long sexual affair.

The case provoked nationwide headlines, and became more bizarre with the arrival of Jane Gibson, whom reporters swiftly dubbed 'the Pig Woman' because she raised hogs. Mrs Gibson claimed to have witnessed the murder, but she gave several conflicting testimonies ... at one point she was bodily carried into the courtroom in a hospital bed when she claimed to be too ill to testify. It became clear that the Pig Woman was lying to get attention, and the Hall-Mills case remains unsolved. Up until the Lindbergh kidnapping in 1933, the Halls-Mills murder case was considered (all together, now) the Crime of the Century.

The murder case inspired best-selling author Rex Beach to write a story called 'The Goose Woman'. Despite a few changes, this story resembles the Hall-Mills case so clearly that audiences in 1933 could be counted upon to recognise the original source when this film version of Beach's story was released.

Mary Holmes was once a famous opera singer, under the stage name Marie de Nardi. Just over 20 years ago, she gave birth to her son Geoffrey. The delivery injured her severely, damaging Mary Holmes's voice. (Erm, don't the child and the music come out at different ends?) Because the childbirth destroyed her career, Mary has resented her son ever since. Now an adult, Geoffrey is estranged from his mother. She spends her days in a remote farmhouse, raising geese and brooding over past triumphs while she plays a phonograph record of her own voice from her glory days. Despite this, Geoffrey loves his mother and wants her blessing for his engagement to Joan Hoyt.

SPOILERS COMING. When a murder occurs near her farmhouse, Mary Holmes sees a chance to get back into the limelight. She claims to have witnessed the crime, and gives a concocted story. But the circumstances of her story point to a very obvious suspect: her own son Geoffrey. He is swiftly arrested and brought to trial.

From this intriguing set-up, things get ridiculous. We're supposed to believe there's a big conflict here. Will Mary stick to her story to protect her reputation (thereby sending her despised son to the electric chair), or will she humiliate herself by confessing the truth to save her son's life? It's very obvious which choice she'll make. Part of the problem here is that the D.A. has no reason to believe Mary's reversal. The fact that she decides to clear her own son is no proof of his innocence; many a mother would lie to save her son from the hot squat.

I was hoping there would be a twist ending here: the innocent son, arrested on false testimony, turns out to be the murderer after all. No such luck. 'Skeets' Gallagher is painful to watch as a wisecracking reporter. Ivan Simpson, J Carrol Naish and Roscoe Ates give good supporting performances. I'll rate this movie 5 out of 10.


12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?