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The Light That Failed (1939)

Passed  -  Drama  -  24 December 1939 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 225 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 3 critic

Dick Heldar, a London artist, is gradually losing his sight. He struggles to complete his masterpiece, the portrait of Bessie Broke, a cockney girl, before his eyesight fails him.

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(screen play), (based on the novel by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Muriel Angelus ...
...
Dudley Digges ...
The Nilghai
Ernest Cossart ...
Beeton
Ferike Boros ...
Pedro de Cordoba ...
Colin Tapley ...
Gardner
...
Dick as a Boy
Sarita Wooton ...
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Doctor
Charles Irwin ...
Soldier Model
Francis McDonald ...
George
George Regas ...
Cassavetti
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Storyline

Dick Heldar, a London artist, is gradually losing his sight. He struggles to complete his masterpiece, the portrait of Bessie Broke, a cockney girl, before his eyesight fails him. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only Rudyard Kipling could write such a romance! Only Ronald Colman could play such a role! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Luz Que Se Apaga  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lupino was so anxious to play the part, that she stole a copy of the script and stormed into William Wellman's office demanding a chance to audition. She convinced Wellman but not co-star Colman, who wanted Vivien Leigh to play the role. Because Wellman held out for Lupino, the actor unsuccessfully tried to have him replaced. The actor and director maintained a chilly relationship on the set. See more »

Goofs

At c.16 minutes the English newspaper displays the American spelling of the word "vigour". See more »

Quotes

Dick Heldar: Painting is seeing, then remembering better than you saw.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 3 (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

Well done, beautifully acted, and as melodramatic as possible
1 August 1999 | by (Mountain View, Ca.) – See all my reviews

Authors just don't have the nerve to write melodrama any more. They're afraid of big issues and larger-than-life emotions, they're afraid that if they put any real passion or sentiment on the page, they'll make fools of themselves. They're probably right, but when a story as sappy as this works, it really, uh, "tugs at the heartstrings" as they used to say.

Rudyard Kipling's war horse story works because it's well acted and directed. Ronald Colman is even more wonderful than usual as a Victorian artist who finds he's going blind, and has just enough time left to paint a masterpiece. Never was an actor more admirable, earnest, and lovable as Colman. Ida Lupino got her big break as the model for "Melancholy". Oh, she's wonderful; a mean, vicious, petty little tart, never again would anybody dismiss her as just another pretty face. This part established her as one of the all-time great Bad Girls, beautiful and strong enough to make over-the-top hysteria seem like bravura acting. She's great.

The direction is as lively as can be for what's largely two characters in one room, and the B&W photography is beautifully expressive. Recommended for when you want some old-fashioned unashamed emotion.


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