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The Age of Innocence (1934)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 14 September 1934 (USA)
An engaged attorney and a divorcee fall for each other in 1870s Manhattan.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Julie Haydon ...
Barry O'Moore ...
Mr. Welland (as Herbert Yost)
Theresa Maxwell Conover ...
Edith Van Cleve ...
...
The Butler
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Storyline

An engaged attorney and a divorcee fall for each other in 1870s Manhattan.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

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Release Date:

14 September 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Época da Inocência  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(R C A Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production starred Katherine Cornell as Ellen Olenska, and Franchot Tone as Newland Archer. See more »

Quotes

[Applauding after a violinist's performance]
May Welland: Lovely, wasn't it, Granny?
Granny Manson Mingott: I couldn't hear much of it, but I like to see him make faces. I'm gonna sit closer the next time... so that I can see more of them.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Age of Innocence (1924) See more »

Soundtracks

None But the Lonely Heart
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played during the opening credits and often as background music
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User Reviews

Edith Wharton must have been disappointed in this filming of her novel. She only lived three years after it appeared.
10 September 1999 | by (Sparta, Wisconsin 54656) – See all my reviews

Edith Wharton chronicled the romantic tragedies of the 19th century 400, those anointed people who would fit in Lady Astor's Lavish New York Society ballroom. This 1934 film is the story of a young lawyer named Newland Archer who is pledged to a New York girl named May Welland. The marriage is in the offing for most of the film.

What stirs things up is the arrival of a mysterious woman, a Polish Countess named Ellen Olenska, who lives at an unfashionable Manhattan address, west 23rd street. Newland is charmed by the Countess and she, likewise. The Countess is in town to get a divorce. Society is as put off by Mrs. Olenska's frankness as they are with her address.

Teacups rattle at every social turn. Irene Dunne is younger in this film as Countess Olenska than in any other I've seen her in. She upstages every other actor in the film including John Boles who is inept as Newland. The movie seems a star vehicle for Dunne. At least the 1993 remake of Age of Innocence from Director Martin Scorcese gives some weight to the other characters, while failing finally to tell the story adequately. Julie Haydon, who would eventually play Laura in Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie, is suitably church-mousey as Newland's fiancee, May.

Newland's interest in and defense of the Countess eventually gets him in trouble with the upper-class set who are his peers. When push comes to shove, the question is, what will Archer do, dump the one he promised or run off with the Countess. What actually does happen is a fairly delicate bit of story-telling.

The 1934 Age of Innocence tells the story better than the 1993 version. But the older story isn't really that good either. Mrs. Wharton's novel was a sophisticated piece of work. It deserved a better telling on-screen. If you'd like a well-done thirties social drama, have a look at Dodsworth with Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton and Mary (yes!) Astor. Age of Innocence is strictly for Irene Dunne aficianados.


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