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The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)

Elizabeth Barrett's tyrannical father has forbidden any of his family to marry. Nevertheless, Elizabeth falls in love with the poet Robert Browning.

Director:

Sidney Franklin

Writers:

Rudolph Besier (from the play by) (as Rudolf Besier), Ernest Vajda (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Norma Shearer ... Elizabeth Barrett
Fredric March ... Robert Browning
Charles Laughton ... Edward Moulton-Barrett
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Henrietta Barrett
Katharine Alexander ... Arabel Barrett
Ralph Forbes ... Captain Surtees Cook
Marion Clayton Anderson Marion Clayton Anderson ... Bella Hedley (as Marion Clayton)
Ian Wolfe ... Harry Bevan
Ferdinand Munier Ferdinand Munier ... Dr. Chambers
Una O'Connor ... Wilson
Leo G. Carroll ... Dr. Ford-Waterlow (as Leo Carroll)
Vernon Downing Vernon Downing ... Octavius Barrett
Neville Clark Neville Clark ... Charles Barrett
Matthew Smith Matthew Smith ... George Barrett
Robert Carleton Robert Carleton ... Alfred Barrett
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Storyline

In 1845 London, the Barrett family is ruled with an iron fist by its stern widowed patriarch, Edward Moulton-Barrett. His nine grown children are afraid of him more than they love him. One of his rules is that none of his children are allowed to marry, which does not sit well with youngest daughter Henrietta as she loves and wants to marry Captain Surtees Cook. Of the nine, the one exception is his daughter Elizabeth, who abides faithfully to her father's wishes. Elizabeth does not think too much about the non-marriage rule as she has an unknown chronic illness which has kept her bedridden. She feels her life will not be a long one. With her time, she writes poetry, which she shares by correspondence with another young poet, Robert Browning. Elizabeth's outlook on her life changes when she meets Mr. Browning for the first time, he who has fallen in love with her without even having met her. She, in return, falls in love with him after their meeting. With Mr. Browning's love and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When poets love, Heaven and Earth fall back to watch!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 September 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Forbidden Alliance See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play The Barretts of Wimpole Street opened at the Empire Theater in New York on February 9, 1931, and ran for 370 performances. The cast included Katharine Cornell as Elizabeth Barrett, Brian Aherne as Robert Browning and Charles Waldron as Edward Moulton-Barrett. There were two Broadway revivals, in 1935 and 1945, both of which also starred Cornell and Aherne. Flush, a dog, was in all three productions, as well as in this movie and the 1957 remake, but they were probably at least two different dogs. See more »

Goofs

When the Barrett children are gathered around the piano listening to Elizabeth sing, one of the sons can be caught looking directly into the camera lens, and then trying to divert his look. See more »

Quotes

Wilson: [after Miss Ba reads a poem aloud] I call that just lovely, Miss Ba.
Elizabeth Barrett: Yes, but do you know what it means?
Wilson: Oh, no Miss.
Elizabeth Barrett: Does it convey anything at all to your mind?
Wilson: Oh, no Miss Ba.
Elizabeth Barrett: Well, thank heaven for that.
Wilson: But, then, read poetry never does, Miss. Least ways not read poetry like what you make.
Elizabeth Barrett: Oh, but I didn't write that. It's by Mr. Browning.
Wilson: Oh, he must be a tailored gentleman.
See more »

Connections

Remade as The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Wilt Thou Have My Hand
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Herbert Stothart
Words by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Performed by Norma Shearer (piano and vocal)
Reprised by her, Maureen O'Sullivan, Katharine Alexander, Vernon Downing,
Neville Clark, Matthew Smith, Robert Carleton, Allan Conrad and Peter Hobbes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Norma Schearer shines as Elizabeth Barrett
1 December 2008 | by sdave7596See all my reviews

"The Baretts of Wimpole Street" released in 1934, has the stamp of MGM's great production values. Norma Schearer wonderfully plays Elizabeth Barrett, the invalid poet. She is overly protected by her father, brilliantly played by Charles Laughton. We later learn Laughton is really a tyrant of a man who is incapable of really loving anyone or being loved. Elizabeth meets the fellow poet Robert Browning (Frederic March), and they fall in love. Maureen O'Sullivan give one of her finest performances as Elizabeth's sister, who also falls in love with a Captain. Her father finds out and forbids her to see him again, in a cruel and heartbreaking scene where he makes her swear on a bible. The interplay between Laughton and O'Sullivan and Schearer is fascinating, as the family dynamics are brought to the foreground. "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" was originally a stage play, but translates just fine to the screen. The supporting case is top notch, but this is Norma Schearer's show. It is difficult to take your eyes off her. Laughton is great, as is O'Sullivan. Frederic March at times seems a bit off as Robert Browning, although he is very handsome and the chemistry between he and Schearer is credible. It is a shame that Norma Schearer left the movies by the 1940's. But we are fortunate that this gifted actress left such an amazing legacy of films - "The Barrets of Wimpole Street" is certainly one of them.


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