7.0/10
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25 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 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

When producer Irving Thalberg cast his wife, Norma Shearer, in the role of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Randolph Hearst was enraged that his mistress, Marion Davies, was not given the part. So Hearst pulled Davies out of MGM and placed her with Warner Brothers for the remainder of her career, and for over a year the name "Norma Shearer" did not appear in any Hearst newspapers. Hearst later attempted to get Davies cast in the title role in Marie Antoinette (1938)...a part that also went to Shearer. See more »

Goofs

The beginning of the film is set in 1845, but in the first scene Henrietta is shown singing 'Little Brown Jug', which wasn't written until 1869. See more »

Quotes

Edward Moulton-Barrett: If my children were as bright and open and affectionate as you are, I should be a much happier man.
Bella Hedley: Oh, you mustn't say such things or they'll hate me!
Edward Moulton-Barrett: And you're a very charming little person.
Bella Hedley: Anything wong, in that?
Edward Moulton-Barrett: I didn't say so. What's that scent you got on?
Bella Hedley: Scent? Me? Oh, don't you like it?
Edward Moulton-Barrett: I abominate scent, as a rule, but yours is different.
Bella Hedley: Nice?
Edward Moulton-Barrett: It's delicate and subtle. Still, I prefer you not to use it.
Bella Hedley: Why?
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kid Millions (1934) 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

Shearer's finest hour
26 May 1999 | by Jamie-58See all my reviews

This was a prestige effort in every way in 1934, gathering together the Academy Award winners of the past three years to appear together in the film version of a highly respected play. That the play no longer holds the stage, and that it is old fashioned melodrama, is hardly the point. The script may lean towards the treacly, but both Charles Laughton and in particular Norma Shearer give it s real lift.

Laughton is somewhat hammy, playing Mr. Barrett as a slightly toned down Dr. Moreau. But I defy anyone to look away; and towards the end of the film he does give a fine impression of a man in torment. But it is Shearer who really carries the film; absolutely lovely performance, restrained and wisely underplaying with Laughton. Observe their final confrontation and note how Shearer's performance rises in intensity as Laughton's grows more subdued. This is a high class of ensemble acting.

Only Fredric March lets the film down by being far too energetic as Robert Browning; meant to be cockily eccentric, he succeeds in putting your teeth on edge. Still, Norma loves him convincingly enough.

A highly recommended film for a rainy afternoon.


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