A Musical-romance with Dick Powell as a private stationed in Hawaii who gets involved with Ruby Keeler, the general's engaged daughter. In order to avoid a scandal, the pair break up, but ... See full summary »
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
Charles Laughton was convinced he had given an Oscar-worthy performance and was bitterly disappointed not to be nominated. See more »
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 »
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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