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The Silver Cord (1933)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  5 May 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 158 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 2 critic

A domineering matriarch is less than happy when her son brings home his new bride. She immediately sets to work at sabotaging their marriage as well as the engagement of her younger and ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (from the play by)
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Title: The Silver Cord (1933)

The Silver Cord (1933) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Complete credited cast:
Christina Phelps
David Phelps
Laura Hope Crews ...
Mrs. Phelps
Eric Linden ...
Robert Phelps
Frances Dee ...


A domineering matriarch is less than happy when her son brings home his new bride. She immediately sets to work at sabotaging their marriage as well as the engagement of her younger and weaker son. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mother | newlywed | based on play


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

5 May 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Silver Cord  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Frances Dee met Joel McCrea on the set of this film. Following a whirlwind courtship, the two were married later that year(1933) in Rye, New York. He died on their 57th wedding anniversary. (ref: Frances Dee's Biography & Personal Details for marriage dates.) See more »


Robert Phelps: [Mummy's boy to ex-fiancee] What are you going to do?
Hester: I don't know... Yes I do, I'm going to marry an orphan!
See more »

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User Reviews

Laura Hope Crews Steals the Show
10 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Terrific acting by the 5 stars makes this one a must see.

Based on a stage play, THE SILVER CORD is about "mother love" at its worst. The film was very controversial for its implied homosexuality of the younger son and the mother's unnatural "romantic" feelings for both sons.

Irene Dunne stars as the new bride (and biologist) who travels with husband (Joel McCrea) to visit the family before heading off to New York City for their new jobs. But something seems wrong.

The mother, Laura Hope Crews, seems rude to the younger son's (Eric Linden) fiancée (Frances Dee). But Dunne puts such thoughts aside and ignores a few of the strange things the mother says. Then she finds out "her" room is down the hall from McCrea's, and his room adjoins mother's room.

Later she walks in as "mummy" is tucking in McCrea and kissing him (on the lips) good night. Mummy has also been working on Linden and getting him to doubt his feelings for Dee. Everything blows up and with Dee running into the snowy night toward the frozen pond. As the boys run after her, mummy shouts from the window for boys to come back and get their coats! Dee falls through the ice and is rescued.

As the girls leave the house the following morning, Dunne lets mummy know what she thinks of her and her attachment to the boys. But mummy has a tight hold, faking illness and forever boasting of her sacrifices. The girls leave but the boys stay behind.......

Crews is magnificent as the voracious mother (repeating her stage role); it's a part few actresses would dare play. The sexual overtones are incredible for a 1933 film and Crews take advantage of her best film role. Dunne is also excellent as she tries to maneuver the course without losing McCrea. Dee has some excellent scenes after she gets dumped by bewildered Linden. All 5 stars are terrific in this drama that is bizarrely underrated and unknown.

A neglected gem for anyone who likes great acting......

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