A messy divorce leaves Mrs. Leslie Carter shunned by Chicago society for being an adulteress and forbidden from having custody of her son. She's determined to return to her hometown in a ... See full summary »
A messy divorce leaves Mrs. Leslie Carter shunned by Chicago society for being an adulteress and forbidden from having custody of her son. She's determined to return to her hometown in a few years as a success and with enough money to fight to get her son back. In order to realize her plans, she heads to New York with ambitions of being a great actress. Despite having no stage training, producer David Belasco becomes attracted to her and becomes intent on making her a star, as well as winning her heart. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
None of the Broadway plays mentioned in the movie were performed by Mrs. Leslie Carter. Her Broadway debut was in a play called "The Ugly Duckling" in 1890, not "The Way of Beauty." Her second play was "Zaza," not "The Lady From France." It is not known why the names of her plays were changed. See more »
Mrs. Leslie Carter:
Actors aren't supposed to be human beings, are they? They're strange animals always on exhibition.
Mrs. Leslie Carter:
Why people love to admire them as they would a good bit of horseflesh, or a brilliant peacock spreading its feathers.
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The Lady With Red Hair is about the relationship of Broadway impresario David Belasco and his star creation Mrs. Leslie Carter.
Mrs. Carter was a society socialite whose rather messy divorce and custody battle made her want to seek employment in the theater when she couldn't get a job doing anything else. After a few tries she hook up with David Belasco who molds her into a glamorous stage star from the turn of the last century.
What I found amazing in this whole film was that we never do find out just what in this divorce made her such a notorious woman. The film opens as the divorce proceeding is about to conclude, we never see what it was all about.
We do find out that the terms of the divorce gave her limited visitation rights to her son. That's given as the real reason for her determination to succeed as opposed to possibly trading in on her notoriety. A reason today's audience would definitely understand. In fact why was she billed as "Mrs. Leslie Carter" if it wasn't for the notoriety.
Miriam Hopkins as Carter and Claude Rains as Belasco give a good account of themselves. So do those two old gals Laura Hope Crews as Hopkins's mother and Helen Westley as the owner of the theatrical boardinghouse where they reside. Those two date back to when Mrs. Leslie Carter was a big name on Broadway.
Richard Ainley of the Ainley British theatrical family gives a wooden performance in a part that's underwritten as Carter's second husband. Wasn't Errol Flynn available?
Back in the 1890s divorce in and of itself was scandal. So why weren't we given the salacious details?
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