IMDb > Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)
Mourning Becomes Electra
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Mourning Becomes Electra (1947) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
6.5/10   730 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 53% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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View company contact information for Mourning Becomes Electra on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 November 1947 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The Most Sinister Triangle In Dramatic History! See more »
Plot:
Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Orestaia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamem--er... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
A Film That Transcends Its Own Flaws See more (32 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Directed by
Dudley Nichols 
 
Writing credits
Eugene O'Neill (play)

Dudley Nichols  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Edward Donahue .... associate producer
Dudley Nichols .... producer
 
Original Music by
Richard Hageman 
 
Cinematography by
George Barnes (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Roland Gross 
Chandler House 
 
Production Design by
William Flannery 
 
Art Direction by
Albert S. D'Agostino 
 
Set Decoration by
Darrell Silvera 
Maurice Yates 
 
Costume Design by
Travis Banton 
Gile Steele 
 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry Mancke .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Clem Portman .... sound
Earl A. Wolcott .... sound
 
Special Effects by
Russell A. Cully .... special effects
Vernon L. Walker .... special effects
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
C. Bakaleinikoff .... musical director
Lucien Cailliet .... orchestrator
 
Other crew
Jack Gage .... dialogue director
Martin Lewis .... mannon portraits
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
173 min | UK:159 min | USA:105 min (edited version) | USA:121 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Italy:VM16 | UK:A | USA:Approved (PCA #12361, Adult Audience)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The original Broadway production of "Mourning Becomes Electra" by Eugene O'Neill opened at the Guild Theater on October 26, 1931, ran for 150 performances and was revived in 1932 and 1972.See more »
Goofs:
Miscellaneous: While Orin is standing by a bench where Lavinia is seated, he holds his hat by his side and drops it. It just lies there on the dirt path as he sits down, and he doesn't pick it up.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
The Battle Hymn of the RepublicSee more »

FAQ

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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
A Film That Transcends Its Own Flaws, 3 February 2008
Author: gftbiloxi (gftbiloxi@yahoo.com) from Biloxi, Mississippi

The script reduces the stage original by approximately two-thirds. The cinematography is clunky and the production values are weak. Direction is indifferent and the acting styles are all over the map. Even so, the 1947 MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA is a startlingly powerful film, a melodrama that leaps and crackles and which will hold the attention of discerning viewers through two and a half hours to its remarkably bitter end.

Loosely based on the ancient Greek tragedy THE ORESTIA, Eugene O'Neill's 1931 drama was and is an extraordinary creation. Strangely ritualistic in tone and requiring approximately six hours to perform, it stunned audiences upon its debut, was a powerful factor in O'Neill's winning of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and remains one of the great pinnacles of American theatre to this day. It is also a warped, sick, and twisted tale of adultery, incestuous affections, blackmail, murder, and suicide, and as such it held Hollywood at bay for close to twenty years.

The story concerns the Mannons, a family that has dominated a small New England town for more than a hundred years, dominating through social status and supposed family and civic duty even as they conceal several internal scandals. The film opens with father Ezra (Raymond Massey) away from home, acting as a leader in the Civil War; in his absence wife Christine (Katrina Patinoux) has taken a lover who visits the house under the guise of courting daughter Lavinia (Rosalind Russell.) When Lavinia discovers the truth, she attempts to blackmail her mother into giving up the relationship--but the attempt backfires into a horrendous cycle of murder and revenge that ultimately destroys the family and drives Lavinia to her her doom.

The script actually does manage to encompass all the primary plot points of O'Neill's original, and although the result is a bit talky in a forced sort of way the story itself possesses a relentless quality that does indeed approximate the stage original. Even more surprisingly, the script makes no effort to soften the incestuous nature of the various relationships that characterize the tale, relationships that increasingly pervert and twist the family as the story progresses. This is dark, dark stuff indeed.

As previously noted, the cast is all over the map in terms of acting style and indeed each of the principles seem to be performing for a different film. Rosalind Russell is distinctly "classic Hollywood;" Michael Redgrave is distinctly "English theatre." Katrina Patinoux, a memorable performer, is Greek and therefore somewhat out of place as the matriarch of a New England family; Raymond Massey, an equally memorable performer, seems to reprise his earlier portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Each and every one of them, in their own different ways, play at white-hot intensity, and many find the resulting mix too uncomfortable. I myself did not: if anything, I felt it added to and intensified the overall strangeness of the piece.

Eugene O'Neill dramas do not, as a rule, film extremely well: they are too clearly designed for the stage and as such they work best in front of a live audience. All the same, and in spite of its numerous flaws, this is one of the few film versions of an O'Neill play that actually manages to capture the intensity of the stage original. Dark, brooding, and deeply disturbing, MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA deserves a great deal more attention than it has ever received.

When the film failed at the box office, RKO responded by cutting it in re-release. This Image Entertainment DVD restores those cuts, and that is a very good thing indeed. Unfortunately, it is also the only good thing that one can say for the DVD. The print quality is at best mediocre, a bit fuzzy, occasionally streaked, and riddled with artifacts. There are no extras of any kind. But just as the film transcends its own flaws, so too does it transcends this poor transfer. Strongly recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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