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Anthony Adverse (1936)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Romance  |  29 August 1936 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,043 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 8 critic

In 18th-century Italy, an orphan's debt to the man who raised him threatens to separate him forever from the woman he loves.

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, (uncredited)

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(by), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: Anthony Adverse (1936)

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Donald Woods ...
...
...
...
...
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Steffi Duna ...
...
...
Signore Debruille
Fritz Leiber ...
Luis Alberni ...
Tony Guessippi
Billy Mauch ...
Anthony Adverse at Ten
Henry O'Neill ...
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Storyline

In late 18th century Italy, a beautiful young woman finds herself married to a rich but cruel older man. However, she is in love with another, younger man. When the husband finds out, he kills the lover in a swordfight, and takes his wife on a long trip throughout Europe. Months later, she dies giving birth to a son. The husband leaves the child at a convent, where he is raised until the age of 10; then he is apprenticed to a local merchant, who gives him the name "Anthony Adverse" because of the adversity in his life. But his adversity has only begun, as fate takes him to Cuba, Africa, and Paris. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | debt | convent | merchant | orphan | See All (97) »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 August 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adversidade  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,050,500 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Milton Krims wanted onscreen credit for his work on the screenplay, but the studio denied his request. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Marquis Don Luis: I dare say you wish you'd never left Versailles. You had a very pleasant time at court with those gallant young officers. With one in particular, I recall.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of a Great Motion Picture (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Lasciate i monti
(uncredited)
(from "L'Orfeo")
Music by Claudio Monteverdi (as Monteverdi) in Leghorn opera
Sung by Carol Ellis (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Flawed, but interesting adaptation of a flawed, but interesting book
24 August 2000 | by (warren michigan) – See all my reviews

Today both Hervey Allen and his novel, Anthony Adverse, are all but forgotten, as is the 1936 Mervyn Leroy adaptation. Allen has never been granted a biography or a critical study( one could also say the same thing about Mervyn Leroy) while both the novel and the film are dismissed as over blown, prolix "white elephants". This is not entirely fair. Allens 1200 page colossus was the greatest best seller of its day, and was only surpassed when Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With The Wind, while Leroys film isn't bad. In fact it is pretty good, in its own way. First of all, Leroy managed to condense Allens erudite, baroque epic into the space of a two -hour, black and white film. In doing so, he managed to retain most of the novels elaborate religious symbolism( Allen seems to have been either a Lapsed, but still affectionate Catholic or an Episcopalian of the "high church " variety with a fascination with Priests, The Virgin Mary, and Crucifixion symbols), all of the colorful characters( Allen seems to have ransacked Tolstoy, Dickens, Dumas, and Balzac for ideas.), and most of the action.( the carriage chase in the Alps is one of the great "scenes" of thirties cinema). The film has also retained the novels plot, or most of it. One would not know, for example, that the hero ends up dying rather UNheroically in Texas sometime in the early eighteen twenties, or that the book has a truly bizarre, ambiguous epilogue in which "white trash" settlers of Texas from Missouri stumble across the statuette of the virgin and the ruins of Adverses estate.The great problem with the book -and with the film- is that Anthony Adverse is NOT a heroic figure. He is played upon, not player, a passive, frequently humiliated victim of adversity. Clearly, Allen wanted to make him a philosophical hero, not a swashbuckler. He is a clerk, for heavens sake. Most of the time, he is engaged in capitalist transactions of some sort, instead of sword-play. ( indeed, the only sword- play in the movie is between the villainous Don Luis and Anthony's father.)The basic action is simple. One Priest gives Anthony a mind,by teaching him. Another gives him a soul, by reminding him that slavery is a sin( Incidentally, the film is a powerful indictment of slavery and racism). Finally, Olivia De Havillands character gives him a heart, by introducing him to the son he never knew he had. March-a very fine actor at his best- seems curiously flat and passive in the role of Adverse. The truly great performances are by Claude Rains and Gale Sondergaard as the over the top super-villains. Rains exhudes decadence, arrogance and sadism, while Sondergaard won the first best supporting actress Oscar, simply by grinning satanically for two hours.


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