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The Great Man's Lady (1942)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Western, Romance  |  26 February 1942 (Mexico)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 421 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 9 critic

A 100-year-old pioneer woman tells her story in flashbacks.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (original story), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Ethan Hoyt
...
Steely Edwards
K.T. Stevens ...
Girl Biographer (as Katharine Stevens)
Thurston Hall ...
Mr. Sempler
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Mr. Cadwallader
Etta McDaniel ...
Delilah
Frank M. Thomas ...
Frisbee
William B. Davidson ...
Sen. Knobs
Lillian Yarbo ...
Mandy
Helen Lynd ...
Bettina
Mary Treen ...
Persis
Lucien Littlefield ...
City Editor
John Hamilton ...
Sen. Grant
Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ...
Pogey
Edit

Storyline

In Hoyt City, a statue of founder Ethan Hoyt is dedicated, and 100 year old Hannah Sempler Hoyt (who lives in the last residence among skyscrapers) is at last persuaded to tell her story to a 'girl biographer'. Flashback: in 1848, teenage Hannah meets and flirts with pioneer Ethan; on a sudden impulse, they elope. We follow their struggle to found a city in the wilderness, hampered by the Gold Rush, star-crossed love, peril, and heartbreak. The star "ages" 80 years. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The unforgettable story of the woman behind the men who built an empire. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 February 1942 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

L'inspiratrice  »

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

Hannah's age at the end of the film has been variously reported as 107 and 109. See more »

Goofs

When the Hoyts stand at the sight of their future city, they're at the foot of a hill, but moments later they're on top of a hill. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Hannah Sempler: [said to statue] Forever, Ethan. No one can change it... forever.
See more »

Soundtracks

Unfinished Symphony
("Symphony 8 in B Major") (uncredited)
Composed by Franz Schubert (begun 1822)
Heard on soundtrack during Janet and Ethan's farewell and under end title
See more »

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User Reviews

 
For Business Reasons?
8 January 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck made six films together, the most they did respectively with other leads. The Great Man's Lady while not the best example of their joint work is certainly one interesting if somewhat incredible film.

I can certainly see what attracted Stanwyck to a role that was part Maytime and part any number of Edna Ferber like tales of empire builders. Stanwyck is certainly a better actress than Jeanette MacDonald and she really does carry off the part of the 107 year old pioneer woman who is telling a young reporter about her most interesting life.

Like in Cimarron, McCrea and Stanwyck start out for the west in the 1840s in search of opportunity and like in Cimarron the woman is being taken from a life of ease and comfort to become a pioneer. The film shows how very useful she was to him.

Albeit even with her conservative politics in real life, Stanwyck was a feminist icon and in the 19th century without even the right to vote, women held a far different position than they do legally now. What help she renders to McCrea is on the unofficial side. But as the story unfolds she contributes mightily to his rise to fame and power and sacrifices EVERYTHING for him.

I'd like to give the film a higher rating, but the thing that totally throws me is the part her father plays in her ultimate decision. Thurston Hall is Stanwyck's father and he's a typical robber baron of the era. But I can't see any father asking his daughter to do what she did for business reasons. It makes the whole story quite bizarre.

McCrea and Stanwyck liked each other personally and professionally. In Tony Thomas's book about Joel McCrea based on interviews he did with him in the Eighties, McCrea said that Barbara Stanwyck was his favorite leading lady. She was thoroughly professional and helpful to every other cast member in any film she was in. He had no qualms in saying that The Great Man's Lady is her film all the way.

It's far from her best film, but for Barbara Stanwyck fans it's one of her best performances.


17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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