6.5/10
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Anthony Adverse (1936)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 29 August 1936 (USA)
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

Tony Curtis was a huge fan of the book. He changed his name from Bernard Schwartz to Tony Curtis in homage to the lead character and was even buried with a copy of the novel. 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

Referenced in Brush with Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

The Duchess of Ferrara
(uncredited)
Written by Aldo Franchetti (as Franchetti)
Sung by Diana Gaylen (uncredited) in Paris opera
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Child of Adversity
4 May 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Hervey Allen's great blockbuster novel Anthony Adverse, a major seller during the Depression Years provided both its leads, Fredric March and Olivia DeHavilland with some choice roles in their respective careers. The book turned out to be a one hit wonder for its author, but it certainly allowed him to live comfortably. Something like that other blockbuster novel Gone With the Wind did for its author which also gave Olivia DeHavilland an even bigger role in her career.

Imagine if you will a Charles Dickens hero like Pip or David Copperfield born in very humble circumstances, but escaping to lead a life of high adventure away from the Dickensian settings of Victorian Great Britain and you've got Anthony Adverse. The supporting characters in the book and film could have also come from Dickens.

Young Anthony is the product of an affair between a young officer, Louis Hayward, and the wife of a Spanish diplomat, Anita Louise. Husband Claude Rains kills Hayward in a duel and when his wife dies in childbirth, leaves the infant at a convent. The nuns give him the name of Anthony Adverse as the boy arrives on St. Anthony's Day and is a child of adversity if there ever was one.

The grown up Anthony, played by Fredric March is apprenticed to his maternal grandfather Edmund Gwenn who does not know it as doesn't March at first. A sly and cunning housekeeper, Gale Sondergaard in her screen debut, puts the puzzle together, but she's got an agenda of her own which later meshes with the dissipated and dissolute Rains.

March also falls for young Olivia DeHavilland who is an aspiring opera singer who also wants some of the finer things in life. Though they marry and have a son, both take different paths on a quest for material security and comfort.

Anthony Adverse was a good follow up role for Olivia DeHavilland after Captain Blood. In both she's a crinolined heroine which she was destined to be cast as in her career at Warner Brothers. Still this part has a lot more to it than most of those she was doing at that time in her career.

March was 39 when he made Anthony Adverse, still he's a good enough player to gradually age into the part. The story does take place over a long period of years, right into the Napoleonic era from 1773 when Anthony is born.

Edmund Gwenn's character is pure Dickens, the Scot's merchant John Bonnyfeather (even the name) could easily have been Fezziwick from A Christmas Carol. Gale Sondergaard as the housekeeper could have been the bloodless Jane Murdstone combined with the vengeful Madame DeFarge.

Sondergaard won the first Best Supporting Actress Oscar given out for her performance. It set a pattern of villainous female roles which she played until she got blacklist troubles in the late Forties.

The novel was a lengthy one and Warner Brothers should have had something as long as Gone With the Wind in order to be really faithful to the book. Jack Warner didn't want to take a chance, but he did get a product that caught all the main points the author was trying to make.

Even today with it's magnificent Erich Wolfgang Korngold score which also won an Oscar and its photography by Tony Gaudio, also a winner Anthony Adverse holds up very well for today's audience. Fans of March and DeHavilland should love it as will others.


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