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Anthony Adverse (1936)

In 18th-century Italy, an orphan's debt to the man who raised him threatens to separate him forever from the woman he loves.

Directors:

Mervyn LeRoy, Michael Curtiz (uncredited)

Writers:

Hervey Allen (by), Sheridan Gibney (screen play)
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fredric March ... Anthony Adverse
Olivia de Havilland ... Angela Guisseppi
Donald Woods ... Vincent Nolte
Anita Louise ... Maria
Edmund Gwenn ... John Bonnyfeather
Claude Rains ... Don Luis
Louis Hayward ... Denis Moore
Gale Sondergaard ... Faith
Steffi Duna ... Neleta
Akim Tamiroff ... Carlo Cibo
Ralph Morgan ... Signore Debruille
Fritz Leiber ... Ouvrard
Luis Alberni ... Tony Guisseppi
Billy Mauch ... Anthony Adverse at Ten
Henry O'Neill ... Father Xavier
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Storyline

In late 18th century Italy, a beautiful young woman finds herself married to a rich but cruel older man. However, she is in love with another, younger man. When the husband finds out, he kills the lover in a swordfight, and takes his wife on a long trip throughout Europe. Months later, she dies giving birth to a son. The husband leaves the child at a convent, where he is raised until the age of 10; then he is apprenticed to a local merchant, who gives him the name "Anthony Adverse" because of the adversity in his life. But his adversity has only begun, as fate takes him to Cuba, Africa, and Paris. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

29 August 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adversidade See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,050,500 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film required 131 sets, including a 12-acre African compound built on the studio backlot - the largest set which had ever been constructed. See more »

Goofs

I noticed an omission. There wasn't a 'goof' section. During the duel between Don Luis (Claude Rains) and Denis Moore (Louis Hayward) the sword wielded by Moore was "unbated", i.e., his fencing foil was blunted with a protective guard on the tip. As Osric, would say when Don Luis thrusts home, "a hit, a hit, a most palpable hit..." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Marquis Don Luis: I dare say you wish you'd never left Versailles. You had a very pleasant time at court with those gallant young officers. With one in particular, I recall.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of a Great Motion Picture (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(uncredited)
Music by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Flawed, but interesting adaptation of a flawed, but interesting book
24 August 2000 | by coop-16See all my reviews

Today both Hervey Allen and his novel, Anthony Adverse, are all but forgotten, as is the 1936 Mervyn Leroy adaptation. Allen has never been granted a biography or a critical study( one could also say the same thing about Mervyn Leroy) while both the novel and the film are dismissed as over blown, prolix "white elephants". This is not entirely fair. Allens 1200 page colossus was the greatest best seller of its day, and was only surpassed when Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With The Wind, while Leroys film isn't bad. In fact it is pretty good, in its own way. First of all, Leroy managed to condense Allens erudite, baroque epic into the space of a two -hour, black and white film. In doing so, he managed to retain most of the novels elaborate religious symbolism( Allen seems to have been either a Lapsed, but still affectionate Catholic or an Episcopalian of the "high church " variety with a fascination with Priests, The Virgin Mary, and Crucifixion symbols), all of the colorful characters( Allen seems to have ransacked Tolstoy, Dickens, Dumas, and Balzac for ideas.), and most of the action.( the carriage chase in the Alps is one of the great "scenes" of thirties cinema). The film has also retained the novels plot, or most of it. One would not know, for example, that the hero ends up dying rather UNheroically in Texas sometime in the early eighteen twenties, or that the book has a truly bizarre, ambiguous epilogue in which "white trash" settlers of Texas from Missouri stumble across the statuette of the virgin and the ruins of Adverses estate.The great problem with the book -and with the film- is that Anthony Adverse is NOT a heroic figure. He is played upon, not player, a passive, frequently humiliated victim of adversity. Clearly, Allen wanted to make him a philosophical hero, not a swashbuckler. He is a clerk, for heavens sake. Most of the time, he is engaged in capitalist transactions of some sort, instead of sword-play. ( indeed, the only sword- play in the movie is between the villainous Don Luis and Anthony's father.)The basic action is simple. One Priest gives Anthony a mind,by teaching him. Another gives him a soul, by reminding him that slavery is a sin( Incidentally, the film is a powerful indictment of slavery and racism). Finally, Olivia De Havillands character gives him a heart, by introducing him to the son he never knew he had. March-a very fine actor at his best- seems curiously flat and passive in the role of Adverse. The truly great performances are by Claude Rains and Gale Sondergaard as the over the top super-villains. Rains exhudes decadence, arrogance and sadism, while Sondergaard won the first best supporting actress Oscar, simply by grinning satanically for two hours.


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