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The Light That Failed (1939)

Passed | | Drama | 24 December 1939 (USA)
Dick Heldar, a London artist, is gradually losing his sight. He struggles to complete his masterpiece, the portrait of Bessie Broke, a cockney girl, before his eyesight fails him.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Robert Carson (screen play), Rudyard Kipling (based on the novel by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronald Colman ... Dick Heldar
Walter Huston ... Torpenhow
Muriel Angelus ... Maisie
Ida Lupino ... Bessie Broke
Dudley Digges ... The Nilghai
Ernest Cossart ... Beeton
Ferike Boros Ferike Boros ... Madame Binat
Pedro de Cordoba ... Monsieur Binat
Colin Tapley ... Gardner
Ronald Sinclair ... Dick as a Boy
Sarita Wooton Sarita Wooton ... Maisie as a Girl
Halliwell Hobbes ... Doctor
Charles Irwin Charles Irwin ... Soldier Model
Francis McDonald ... George
George Regas ... Cassavetti
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Storyline

Dick Heldar, a London artist, is gradually losing his sight. He struggles to complete his masterpiece, the portrait of Bessie Broke, a cockney girl, before his eyesight fails him. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only Rudyard Kipling could write such a romance! Only Ronald Colman could play such a role! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Luz Que Se Apaga See more »

Filming Locations:

Espanola, New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The studio poster's tagline was:"Only RUDYARD KIPLING could write such a romance! Only RONALD COLMAN could play such a role!". See more »

Goofs

At c.16 minutes the English newspaper displays the American spelling of the word "vigour". See more »

Quotes

Dick Heldar: Painting is seeing, then remembering better than you saw.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in M*A*S*H: The Light That Failed (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Colman's best performances.
14 July 2017 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"The Light That Failed" is among Ronald Colman's best films....though I must warn you that it's also among his most depressing. The story is based on Rudyard Kipling's first full- length novel of the same name.

The story begins with two children playing with a gun. There's an accident and Maisie discharges the gun near Dick's eyes. This is foreshadowing what you next see in the film. Dick is a man now and fighting for the British army in Sudan. During an encounter with the enemy, he receives a sword slash across the eyes. He recovers his sight but doesn't realize that severe damage to his optic nerves has occurred and one day he'll go blind. In the meantime, the war ends and Dick spends his time painting and drawing while he tours the Middle East. When he learns that the public back in Britain love his work, he returns. His work is good but when Dick realizes he's going blind he wants to get one final masterpiece completed. The problem is his model, Bessie (Ida Lupino) is a coarse and awful woman...why is something you'll just have to see for yourself as well as how Dick deals with his eventual blindness.

The acting is superb in this one...especially Colman. It also helped that he had Lupino and Walter Huston on hand to provide support. Overall, a quality film in every way. My only caveat is that if you dislike sad, depressing stories you might want to skip this one....though I sure wouldn't!


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