Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  19 November 1947 (USA)
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Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Orestaia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamem--er, Ezra Mannon comes home to his unhappy wife (Christine) and loving ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Katina Paxinou ...
Nancy Coleman ...
Thurston Hall ...
Walter Baldwin ...
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Erskine Sanford ...
Jimmy Conlin ...
Lee Baker ...


Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Orestaia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamem--er, Ezra Mannon comes home to his unhappy wife (Christine) and loving daughter (Lavinia). But Lavinia's ex-suitor, Adam Brant, has become Christine's lover, and together Adam and Christine plot to poison Ezra. When they succeed, Lavinia turns to her brother Orin to help bring the lovers to justice, but when they succeed, Orin goes mad and his suicide note may come between Lavinia and her new suitor, Peter Niles. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | new england | lover | ship | poison | See All (134) »


...Mother and daughter in love with the same man ... rivals in ruthlessness even to murder! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 November 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Electra le sienta bien el luto  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Nichols disclaimed screenplay credit because he only abridged the play's text and moved some scenes outdoors. Nichols first finished cut ran over four hours but was edited down to 174 minutes for its roadshow premiere. See more »


About 22 minutes into the film, Orin is standing by a bench where Lavinia is seated. He holds his hat by his side and he drops just lies there on the dirt path as he sits down and he doesn't pick it up. See more »


Referenced in That Girl: Mission Improbable: Part 1 (1969) See more »


Traditional sea chantey
Sung over credits and throughout film by unidentified male chorus
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User Reviews

Great performances!
31 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I caught this film on TCM about six months ago and recorded it on my DVR. I loved it! "Mourning Becomes Electra" made in 1947, is long, at just about three hours. At first glance, Rosalind Russell (at age 40) is a bit long in the tooth to play Lavinia; but once you get past that, she is quite good in the part. The scenes between Russell and Katina Paxinou (playing Russell's mother, Christine) were mesmerizing. Michael Redgrave (playing the son Orrin) is a bit stiff in the first part of the movie, but once he goes "crazy" with guilt in the last part, he is brilliant. Raymond Massey, playing the father, is in the film only a short time, but is memorable as Ezra, the war weary husband to Christine. A young Kirk Douglas is good too as Lavina's suitor. This film has it all - murder, greed, dark family secrets, revenge, lust. It is too bad this film is sadly forgotten. It flopped when it opened in 1947 - probably too long and involved for audiences a that time. And too bad Rosalind Russell did not win the Oscar for it - what an injustice. Russell had been considered the favorite to win, but a long shot nominee, Loretta Young won for "The Farmer's Daughter" a far lesser film than this one, in my opinion.

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