A bittersweet tale of the increasing estrangement of a retired automobile tycoon and his wife. Increasingly obsessed with maintaining an appearance of youth, she falls in with a crowd of frivolous socialites during their "second honeymoon" European vacation. He, in turn, meets a woman who is everything she is not: self-assured, self-confident, and able to take care of herself. Written by
Sonya Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At the time of filming, Mary Astor was going through a very public and very scandalous divorce from her husband, who used Astor's diary to prove that she had been having an affair with playwright George S. Kaufman. With the press constantly stalking her, she sometimes slept on the set to avoid confrontation. Many of the cast sided with Astor throughout the ordeal, including William Wyler, Samuel Goldwyn and Ruth Chatterton, who appeared as a character witness on Astor's behalf. See more »
Sam's hand position changes, jumping to the ship's rail. See more »
The men are ready.
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Dodsworth is one of the best dramas of the 1930s. Walter Huston stars as Dodsworth, a middle-aged auto tycoon who looks forward to retirement. His wife--Ruth Chatterton--is not quite ready for the rocking chair. They embark on a grad tour of Europe. From the start Chatterton falls for the cosmopolitan airs of Europe and the attentions of the debonair men. More and more she leaves Dodsaworth alone as she flits among the cafe society. By accident he runs into a lonely American widow (Mary Astor) living in Italy. As the husband and wife drift farther apart, he moves closer to Astor. Yes it sounds like soap opera, but the acting is so good and the characters so real you forget the plot mechanics.
Huston has one of his very best film roles as the floundering Dodsworth who needs an anchor. Chatterton is excellent as the foolish wife (this was her last film), and Astor is a wonder as the American widow. The three stars turn in towering performances.
The rest of the cast includes Maria Ouspenskaya and the old countess, Spring Byington and Harlan Briggs as the best friends, John Payne as the son in law, David Niven as a gigolo, Gregory Gaye as the suitor, Paul Lukas as Arnold, and Odette Myrtil as the social leach.
There was talk in the mid-90s that Harrison Ford would star in a new version of Dodsworth but he never followed through because he wanted to continue his "action" roles. Too bad. Ford has certain qualities that would have made him (or Warren Beatty) ideal for the part. But Ford and Beatty are too old now. Oddly only Huston and Ouspenskaya earned Oscar nominations. Hard to see how Chatterton and Astor got bypassed.
This is a great American film.
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