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Winterset (1936)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 3 December 1936 (USA)
Immigrant radical Bartolomeo Romagna is falsely condemned and executed for a payroll robbery. Years later, his son Mio sets out to find the truth of the crime and to bring to account the ... See full summary »


Alfred Santell


Maxwell Anderson (play), Anthony Veiller (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Burgess Meredith ... Mio Romagna
Margo ... Miriamne Esdras
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Trock Estrella
John Carradine ... Bartolomio Romagna
Edward Ellis ... Judge Gaunt
Maurice Moscovitch ... Esdras
Paul Guilfoyle ... Garth Esdras
Stanley Ridges ... Shadow
Mischa Auer ... Radical
Willard Robertson ... Policeman in the Square
Alec Craig ... Hobo
Myron McCormick Myron McCormick ... Carr
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Maria Romagna
Barbara Pepper ... Girl
Fernanda Eliscu ... Piny


Immigrant radical Bartolomeo Romagna is falsely condemned and executed for a payroll robbery. Years later, his son Mio sets out to find the truth of the crime and to bring to account the gangster Trock Estrella. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HURLS ITS ROMANTIC FIRE ACROSS THE SCREEN! (Print Ad-Vancouver Sun, ((Vancouver, BC)) 10 February 1937) See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Burgess Meredith, in his first film with a credited role, recreates the role he played in the original Broadway production. See more »


Featured in Sprockets: Masters of Menace (1995) See more »


Written by Ernesto Lecuona
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User Reviews

Outstanding film adaptation retains theatrical virtues
10 March 2017 | by 16mmRaySee all my reviews

WINTERSET was a big hit on Broadway and RKO's decision to retain Burgess Meredith, Margo, and Eduardo Ciannelli to repeat their original stage roles is a major reason for the success of the film version. That they were able to adapt their performances to the intimacy of the camera is remarkable. Maxwell Anderson's dialogue is naturalized considerably from its poetic original but enough of the beautiful lyricism is retained in Anthony Veiler's screenplay to make it a very special script. While Ted Hecht must have been very good on Broadway as Garth, Paul Guilfoyle's performance in the film resulted in perhaps his best and most important screen work. Two other performances deserve special mention. Stanley Ridges as Shadow is menacing without being paranoid as is his boss, played by Ciannelli. Ridges' bloody appearance in the Esdras doorway is one of the most shocking screen moments in 30's cinema. And Willard Robertson, who made a career out of playing impatient meanies is beautifully obstinate as the boorish patrolman. Russian actor Maurice Moscovitch makes his screen debut as Garth and Miriamme's father. A veteran of the Yiddish Theater, Moscovitch later played Paulette Goddard's father in THE GREAT DICTATOR but died before that picture's release. Another Russian, Mischa Auer, makes one of his rare dramatic appearances as a social radical.

The physical set is beautiful, especially the stone-style recreation of the alley and stairwells beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Finally, the film boasts a rare original score by Nathaniel Shilkret. Shilkret was a longtime bandleader who made records for RCA. He was hired as part of the RKO music staff in 1936 to replace Max Steiner who was leaving to join fledgling org Selznick-International. Shilkret's bold compositions for WINTERSET enhance the theatricality of film, though most of the dupe prints extant on video reproduce the soundtrack with very limited fidelity.

For modern audiences with little patience for plays-made-into-films that represent their stage origins, WINTERSET will be a disappointment. But for those who can appreciate the care with which director Alfred Santell took to recreate much of the prosaic beauty of the Broadway original, WINTERSET will be a rewarding experience - if you can see it in a respectable copy.

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Release Date:

3 December 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Abismos Humanos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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