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That Certain Woman (1937)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 18 September 1937 (USA)
Mary Donnell, a young legal secretary with a past, elopes with a client's son, but his father has the marriage annulled without knowing she's pregnant.

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writer:

Edmund Goulding
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Mary Donnell
Henry Fonda ... Jack Merrick
Anita Louise ... Flip
Ian Hunter ... Lloyd Rogers
Donald Crisp ... Merrick, Sr.
Hugh O'Connell ... Virgil Whitaker
Katharine Alexander ... Mrs. Rogers (as Katherine Alexander)
Mary Philips ... Amy (as Mary Phillips)
Minor Watson ... Tilden
Sidney Toler ... Detective Neely
Charles Trowbridge ... Dr. James
Norman Willis ... Fred
Herbert Rawlinson ... Dr. Hartman
Tim Henning Tim Henning ... Kenyon
Dwane Day Dwane Day ... Jackie
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Storyline

Mary Donnell was married at sixteen to a gangster and soon widowed. She works for unhappily married lawyer Lloyd Rogers. A client's son Jack elopes with her, but his father tracks them down and has the marriage annulled. Mary has a son. Unaware of this, the father remarries; his new wife is crippled in an auto accident. The lawyer, now dying, tells Mary he has left her money for her and her son, Roger's widow suspects her husband may have been the father, while Mary is convinced instead that it was her annulled ex-husband, Jack. Jack's ruthless father , upon learning he may be grandparent of the child, threatens legal action to gain custody, but his son wants no part in separating little Jackie from his mother. Further, he reasserts his love for Mary and promises he will ask his now handicapped wife, Flip, for a divorce so that Jackie will have a real family. He instructs Mary to pack her belongings and get Jackie ready to leave so that the three can start a new life ... Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love Broke Her Heart !

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aquella mujer See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The first film pairing of Bette Davis and Henry Fonda. The second being Jezebel. See more »

Goofs

The screen shows a newspaper page with headlines, photographs, and a box in large type, all part of a full-page gangster story. However, only some of the text that can be seen around the edges is part of the story. The rest is "dummy" type, about clothes for college men or electrical equipment. See more »

Quotes

Amy: [Referring to little Jackie] What about when nighttime comes, and he starts wanting you? He always does.
Mary Donnell: That's your job, Amy. You'll do it for me. Just make him believe that I... well, I... I never was. I've always been very bad luck to men.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits roll up. See more »

Connections

Referenced in All About Bette (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

'Cause My Baby Says It's So
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played during the scene at the bar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Americanized Madame Butterfly...
5 April 2005 | by rrubenduSee all my reviews

I actually liked this picture. The story loosely parallels that of Madame Butterfly...and if you see it in that light, it doesn't seem all that over the top. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the writer had the idea of updating Madame Butterfly...I visually these guys in wrinkled shirtsleeves bending over their old Royal typewriters chomping on cigars..."Yeah...Madame Butterfly...that's the ticket...only she's not a prostitute, that won't work....but a fallen woman...but a noble one....she's a bootlegger's widow...yeah! that's the ticket...she marries a playboy, he dumps her, marries someone else...she waits for him....keep the faithful maid in the plot...has a kid....the husband comes back...remarried....she sends the kid off to live with her ex and then offs herself....yeah! It'll be a hit! Not a dry in the house."

I actually realized the similarity only in the last 15 minutes of the film when I got that awful yet familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach which always anticipates a mother's pending self-sacrifice. When Butterfly sees the American wife for the first time standing outside her little house on hill in Japan and realizes who she is and why she's there...it's really heartbreaking.

Anyway, despite the melodrama, the performances That Certain Woman are really very good, especially Davis's. She was a very intelligent actress, and understood what the camera would catch.

So, maybe you don't need to OWN this video, but I wouldn't disregard it entirely. Then go out and rent Frédéric Mitterrand's beautiful 1995 film of the opera. Heart-wrenching...


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