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Craig's Wife (1936)

Passed | | Drama | 25 September 1936 (USA)
A domineering woman marries a wealthy man for his money, and then uses her position to further her own ambitions for money and power.

Director:

Dorothy Arzner

Writers:

Mary C. McCall Jr. (screenplay) (as Mary C. McCall), George Kelly (play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rosalind Russell ... Harriet Craig
John Boles ... Walter Craig
Billie Burke ... Mrs. Frazier
Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Harold
Dorothy Wilson ... Ethel Landreth
Alma Kruger ... Ellen Austen
Thomas Mitchell ... Fergus Passmore
Raymond Walburn ... Billy Birkmire
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Landreth
Robert Allen ... Gene Fredericks
Nydia Westman ... Mazie
Kathleen Burke ... Adelaide Passmore
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Storyline

In Rye, New York, wealthy Walter Craig loves his wife, Harriet Craig. Conversely, Harriet, unaware to Walter, married him solely for independence, she believing that love in the romantic sense only complicating marriage. She focuses all of her energies on ensuring that the house in which they live is maintained to her standards, where everything and everyone has their proper place, leading to the household domestics, who do what they're told regardless, having a sense of contempt for her under their breath. To Harriet, Walter is purely a means to the end of that perfect house. Without Walter having realized it, Harriet, as was her want, has isolated them in their house, his friends who have slowly distanced themselves from him in not wanting to deal with her. Besides the domestics, the only person allowed in the house is Walter's maternal Aunt Ellen, who lives with them in she being his protector against Harriet, unlike Walter's belief that he is taking care of her. Harriet wants the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'obsession de Madame Craig See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Remade in 1950 with Joan Crawford as Harriet, and Wendell Corey as Walter. See more »

Quotes

Harriet Craig: I'm all alone in the house now...
[turning to see the door closing behind her]
Harriet Craig: Wait! don't go!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The definition of a control freak
2 March 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Rosalind Russell gives an excellent, haunting portrayal of "Craig's Wife" in this 1936 version of a play by George Kelly. Later on, it was remade as "Harriet Craig" and starred Joan Crawford and Wendell Corey.

Harriet Craig is a manipulative, cold woman married to a man (John Boles) who adores her and therefore can't see her for what she is - a controlling woman obsessed with possessions and status.

This is a difficult role because in order to pull it off, Harriet would have to be a lot more subtle than she is in this movie. Even with an accomplished actress like Russell, that's hard to do because Harriet's actions are so obvious. In the film, Walter is clueless while she drives everyone else away. I happen to know a Harriet Craig in real life, and in that case, her husband knows but doesn't do anything about it to keep peace. That would have been a more believable choice here.

The film "Harriet Craig" is more drawn out and it takes people a little longer to catch on to what Harriet is really about. This version, probably truer to the play, is directed by Dorothy Arzner and moves quickly. The ending is very striking, and there Russell is most effective.

This was a breakout role for the attractive Russell, and it also proved an excellent part for Joan Crawford. Russell is able to show the tiniest bit of vulnerability in Harriet's nature. I think the Russell version is the stronger film, though both are well worth seeing.


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