IMDb > Craig's Wife (1936)

Craig's Wife (1936) More at IMDbPro »

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Mary C. McCall Jr. (screenplay)
George Kelly (play)
View company contact information for Craig's Wife on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 September 1936 (USA) See more »
A domineering woman marries a wealthy man for his money, and then uses her position to further her own ambitions for money and power. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Timeless American Theme See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Rosalind Russell ... Harriet Craig

John Boles ... Walter Craig

Billie Burke ... Mrs. Frazier

Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Harold
Dorothy Wilson ... Ethel Landreth
Alma Kruger ... Ellen Austen

Thomas Mitchell ... Fergus Passmore

Raymond Walburn ... Billy Birkmire
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Landreth

Robert Allen ... Gene Fredericks

Nydia Westman ... Mazie

Kathleen Burke ... Adelaide Passmore
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Stanley Andrews ... Davis (uncredited)
James P. Burtis ... Moving Man (uncredited)
Nell Craig ... Nurse Rigby (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)

John Hamilton ... Detective (uncredited)
George Offerman Jr. ... Tom McGuire (uncredited)
Thomas Pogue ... Billy Birkmire's Father (uncredited)
Frankie Van ... Cab Driver (uncredited)

Directed by
Dorothy Arzner 
Writing credits
Mary C. McCall Jr. (screenplay)

George Kelly (play)

Produced by
Edward Chodorov .... associate producer
Harry Cohn .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
R.H. Bassett (uncredited)
Emil Gerstenberger (uncredited)
Milan Roder (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Lucien Ballard (photography)
Film Editing by
Viola Lawrence 
Production Design by
William Haines (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Stephen Goosson 
Costume Design by
Lon Anthony 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Arthur S. Black Jr. .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Lodge Cunningham .... sound engineer (uncredited)
Music Department
Morris Stoloff .... musical director
William Grant Still .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
73 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
USA:Approved (PCA #2403)

Did You Know?

Although Stephen Goosson is credited as the art director for the film, he was actually fired by director Dorothy Arzner early in production. To replace him, she hired William Haines, who had only art directed one previous film, and had no apparent desire to pursue a career in film art direction; he had a thriving business as an interior decorator to the stars.See more »
Harriet Craig:I'm all alone in the house now...
[turning to see the door closing behind her]
Harriet Craig:Wait! don't go!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of Craig's Wife (1957) (TV)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
23 out of 27 people found the following review useful.
Timeless American Theme, 13 February 2001
Author: NRastro from New York, NY

A very interesting film! I saw it at a university's film archive; to my knowledge, it is not often screened on cable or broadcast TV.

For Rosalind Russell fans, the film is quite a change of pace from those who may know her best from the screwball comedy "His Girl Friday." She's very good in "Craig's Wife," (as is the supporting cast) and her performance gives you an appreciation for her range as an actress.

I say the film addresses a timeless American theme, which is the tension between American culture's focus on materialism (an issue even way back in the 1930's, clearly) versus a person's more human needs, such as emotional intimacy. The character of Harriet Craig clearly resists any show of vulnerability and, as the film progresses, increasingly reveals a depth of coldness that's also chilling for the audience to witness, and is mirrored in the uneasiness the supporting characters display as they interact with her.

What gives the film its lasting impression is that there are almost certainly many of us today who have met someone like the character. Furthermore, in the present day, we often see similar themes (love vs. money) played out in American films.

The theme was a common one, I think, in the 1930's, partly because the Depression and its aftermath made it hard for anyone (particularly women, for whom few career opportunities were available, let alone accepted) to ignore the economic expediency and comfort that finding a wealthy husband could afford. In that era, the hardships that may have accompanied being a romantic and marrying for love (without regard for money) were not trivial.

For a comic take on this same thematic vein, catch "Midnight" with Claudette Colbert, which is a delightful movie that I think screens fairly often on the AMC (American Movie Classics) cable channel. Less from a money-based viewpoint, but very much from an emotional standpoint, the character Mary Tyler Moore plays in 1980's "Ordinary People," a drama, has some of the same elements as Rosalind Russell's Harriet Craig here.

Another variant, which centers on the ambiguous intentions of a man toward a wealthy young woman, can be found in "The Heiress" with Olivia de Havilland, remade (with the title of the Henry James novel both films were based on) as "Washington Square" in the 1990s, with Jennifer Jason Leigh.

So, I view "Craig's Wife" as a surprisingly unflinching view of how one woman walled herself up within a prison -- both material and emotional -- of her own making. Highly recommended.

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