7.0/10
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29 user 8 critic

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 »
Reviews
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 ... 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
Learn more

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Laughton was convinced he had given an Oscar-worthy performance and was bitterly disappointed not to be nominated. 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

Henrietta Barrett: Is it nothing to you that I shall hate you for this to the end of my life?
Edward Moulton-Barrett: Less than nothing.
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 »

User Reviews

 
Magnificent Monster
12 August 2017 | by trimmerb1234See all my reviews

Charles Laughton was unmatched in larger-than-life monster roles, physical or emotional grotesques. Surrounded by stars, he outshone and certainly upstaged them all. And what a range too? The soft-hearted sentimental Hunchback of Notre Dame, the ultimate aloof aristocratic villain Squire Trelawney in Daphne DuMauriers tale of Cornish smugglers, the overbearing, over-drinking Lancashire patriarch in the comic Hobsons Choice.Nobody matched Laughton, nobody played them half as well.

Here,what would otherwise have been a nice family of happy siblings is instead daily terrorised by a bullying obsessive jealous widower.What might have been a pleasant life is made one of stress as their reasonable expectations of a happy life are thwarted by the strange exactions of one man: their father.Lives that could have been pleasant and in the main unexceptional are dominated by him. But it is the eldest daughter who receives most of her father's attention who rather than lose her, instead insists that she is an invalid and must remain bed-ridden.

Dramatically, the entire world of this family of 10 is dominated - and animated - by the single figure of this domineering monster played by Laughton. It is, after this, a fairly simple tale of the unalloyed good and brave daughter (played by Hollyood darling Norma Shearer) who rebels and against this tyrant and is able to go on to have a distinguished life with nice young suitor, poet Robert Browning (Frederic March in this for him an unchallenging role. March had elsewhere played one of cinema's most memorable monsters: Mr Hyde).

Norma Shearer rebels not only on her own behalf but also for her siblings too so that they can all live normal fulfilled lives. Not just for her own domestic happiness but also for her artistic freedom, against the the tyranny of this lone monster who would crush them all.

It was Laughton who admitted that the look that he gave his daughter (Shearer) should have earned the film an X certificate - it conveyed the very mixed and complicated emotions of this very odd Victorian disciplinarian pater familias.


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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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