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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

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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

Irving G. Thalberg reportedly sought Katharine Cornell, who had starred in the 1931 original production at the Empire Theater in New York, as well as the 1935 and 1945 revivals, to star in the film adaptation. Due to her intense loyalty to the theater, Katharine Cornell had regularly turned down all offers from Hollywood producers. However, Thalberg argued that Cornell "owed it to posterity to make movies... [for] future generations of audiences to enjoy and for future actors and actresses to study," according to Tad Mosel's Cornell biography, Leading Lady. Cornell was briefly persuaded by Thalberg's persistence, most notably by his offer to "destroy the finished film completely, burn it and send it up in smoke, if she wasn't completely satisfied." Cornell briefly agreed to Thalberg's terms in private, however was still reluctant to make the transition to film and backed out of the verbal commitment. The closest thing to Katharine Cornell's movie debut would be a brief cameo in Stage Door Canteen in 1945. See more »

Goofs

When Elizabeth goes for a drive in the park, she goes to a conservatory. There is one in Kew Gardens in London but this is not a park and is a long way from Wimpole Street. She would be much more likely to go to Hyde Park or Regents Park, neither of which have conservatories. 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

Little Brown Jug
(1869) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Joseph Winner
Sung by Norma Shearer, 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

 
A Difficult Romance
3 May 1999 | by Paul-250See all my reviews

The beautiful Canadian actress Norma Shearer starred in this tense and unusual love story based on the true-life romance of Elizabeth Barrett and the poet Robert Browning. Charles Laughton's performance as her possessive and pathologically jealous father was one of the finest in his outstanding career. Although incest was the film's unspoken subtext, contemporary sensitivities prevented it from being spelt-out. That was not to deter Laughton who famously remarked that though they could prevent him from speaking of it, they could not censor the glint in his eye! An outstanding film.


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