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 <email@example.com>
William Wyler and Ruth Chatterton fought bitterly almost daily on the interpretation of Fran. Chatterton felt she should be played entirely as a villainess, whereas Wyler found reasons to sympathize with the character. According to Mary Astor, the tension was increased by Chatterton's own desperation at her advancing age. At 43 she was far from an old woman but well past the age when actresses typically enjoyed continued audience appeal and their choice of roles. Once a big star on stage, and briefly one in films a few years earlier, her success was waning and, according to Wyler, she exhibited very "haughty" behavior on the set. She was self-conscious about her figure and her looks, insisting on daily facials to maintain a youthful glow. Her insecurities manifested themselves as hatred and fear toward Wyler and his multiple-take working method. At one point she reportedly slapped the director's face and locked herself in her dressing room. See more »
Fran's arm position changes when she leans on the mantle. See more »
The men are ready.
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If you're tired of the actual Hollywood teenager productions, you have a chance to see some maturity watching "Dodsworth". The relationship of the Dodsworths are amazingly realistic, and the wonderful performances by Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton only improve the reality of the situation. He is amazing as a retired middle-aged industrialist and she is faultless as his futile, snob and frustrated wife. This film also got me some extra points because of Mary Astor, at the highest point of her beauty. It's masterly directed by William Wyler, and the cinematography is wonderful. One of the greatest films from the first decade of the sounded films.
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