Lady with Red Hair (1940)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  30 November 1940 (USA)
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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 »


(as Kurt Bernhardt)


(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Richard Ainley ...
Laura Hope Crews ...
Mrs. Dudley
Helen Westley ...
Mrs. Frazier
Charles Bryant
Mona Barrie ...
Mrs. Brooks
Mr. Clifton
Mr. Chapman
Fritz Leiber ...
Mr. Foster
Dudley Carter (as Johnnie Russell)
Henry DeMille


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Mulher de Cabelos Vermelhos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Louis Payne, the husband of Mrs. Leslie Carter in real life, coached Richard Ainley, who was playing him in the movie. See more »


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: Why must they make some harmless weekend seem like a vulgar, obscene escapade? What kind of minds have these women got? Oh, whatever I've done, I've done to myself! Not the baby!
See more »


The Happy Farmer
(1848) (uncredited)
Music by Robert Schumann
Played offscreen during Miss Humbert's school sequence
See more »

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User Reviews

Cornel Wilde has a bit part in a boarding house scene...
18 October 2010 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

As everyone else has commented, THE LADY WITH RED HAIR is another of those Warner bios that takes liberty with the facts, but manages to be good entertainment.

However, as the very theatrical title lady, MIRIAM HOPKINS gives an over-the-top melodramatic touch to her entire role, making it seem implausible that theater patrons would give her "acting" such a standing ovation. Indeed, the worse part of the film is when it shows Hopkins practicing her art or giving a demonstration of her talent as a stage actress.

The other flamboyant performance is given by CLAUDE RAINS, but rightfully so, since he's playing David Belasco who apparently liked to "ham it up" at every opportune moment whether teaching others how to act or simply acting up a storm in his personal life.

Director Curtis Bernhardt has done nothing to keep Hopkins or Rains from all the theatrical excesses they bring to their characterizations, but we do get some good supporting work from HELEN WESTLEY as the boarding home owner, LAURA HOPE CREWS (as Miriam's mother), JOHN LITEL as a producer, and many other Warner contractees. But RICHARD AINLEY is colorless in the sort of part that could easily have gone to CORNEL WILDE, who instead has a bit part as a wannabe actor at the boarding house. Ainsley's performance is wooden indeed and pales opposite the strident and mannered acting of Hopkins.

Interesting but something about the screenplay suggests that much was altered and cut in producing this film based on Leslie Carter's memoirs. Little JOHNNY RUSSELL appears briefly in two scenes as Carter's son, the one she loses custody of in a court battle. (He played Shirley Temple's little brother in THE BLUE BIRD shortly before this film).

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