6.9/10
374
13 user 4 critic

The Light That Failed (1939)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, War | 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)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Vagabond poet François Villon rises to high office in 1463 Paris.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Ronald Colman, Basil Rathbone, Frances Dee
A Double Life (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Anthony John is an actor whose life is strongly influenced by the characters he plays. When he's playing comedy, he's the most enjoyable person in the world, but when he's playing drama, ... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Ronald Colman, Edmond O'Brien, Signe Hasso
Action | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In the mid-1700's the East India Company has power over commerce on the sub-continent, with the blessings of the British government. A clerk in the company, Robert Clive, is frustrated by ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Boleslawski
Stars: Ronald Colman, Loretta Young, Colin Clive
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Russian prince goes to Monte Carlo just after World War I with money supplied him by Parisian Russians. He wins but the casino operators want him honor the tradition of returning to the ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Roberts
Stars: Ronald Colman, Joan Bennett, Colin Clive
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

George and Catherine Apley of Boston lead a proper life in the proper social circle, as did the Apleys before them. When grown daughter Eleanor falls in love with Howard (from New York!), ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Ronald Colman, Vanessa Brown, Richard Haydn
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two strangers share a sweepstakes ticket and then embark on an "imaginary" honeymoon with their "winnings".

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Ronald Colman, Ginger Rogers, Jack Carson
Raffles (1930)
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A distinguished English gentleman has a secret life--he is the notorious jewel thief the press has dubbed "The Amateur Cracksman". When he meets a woman and falls in love he decides to "... See full summary »

Directors: George Fitzmaurice, Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast
Stars: Ronald Colman, Kay Francis, David Torrence
Cynara (1932)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

London barrister's marriage is under strain after his affair with a shop-girl who is out to have him. Told in flashback.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Ronald Colman, Kay Francis, Phyllis Barry
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped.

Directors: John Cromwell, W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Ronald Colman, Madeleine Carroll, C. Aubrey Smith
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of lookalikes, one a former French aristocrat and the other an alcoholic English lawyer, fall in love with the same woman amongst the turmoil of the French Revolution.

Directors: Jack Conway, Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Ronald Colman, Elizabeth Allan, Edna May Oliver
Framed (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Mike Lambert, seeking a mining job, instead becomes the patsy for a femme-fatale's schemes.

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan
Dodsworth (1936)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A retired auto manufacturer and his wife take a long-planned European vacation only to find that they want very different things from life.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Paul Lukas
Edit

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
Edit

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:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Lupino was so anxious to play the part, that she stole a copy of the script and stormed into William Wellman's office demanding a chance to audition. She convinced Wellman but not co-star Colman, who wanted Vivien Leigh to play the role. Because Wellman held out for Lupino, the actor unsuccessfully tried to have him replaced. The actor and director maintained a chilly relationship on the set. 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

Version of The Light That Failed (1923) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Well done, beautifully acted, and as melodramatic as possible
1 August 1999 | by otterSee all my reviews

Authors just don't have the nerve to write melodrama any more. They're afraid of big issues and larger-than-life emotions, they're afraid that if they put any real passion or sentiment on the page, they'll make fools of themselves. They're probably right, but when a story as sappy as this works, it really, uh, "tugs at the heartstrings" as they used to say.

Rudyard Kipling's war horse story works because it's well acted and directed. Ronald Colman is even more wonderful than usual as a Victorian artist who finds he's going blind, and has just enough time left to paint a masterpiece. Never was an actor more admirable, earnest, and lovable as Colman. Ida Lupino got her big break as the model for "Melancholy". Oh, she's wonderful; a mean, vicious, petty little tart, never again would anybody dismiss her as just another pretty face. This part established her as one of the all-time great Bad Girls, beautiful and strong enough to make over-the-top hysteria seem like bravura acting. She's great.

The direction is as lively as can be for what's largely two characters in one room, and the B&W photography is beautifully expressive. Recommended for when you want some old-fashioned unashamed emotion.


24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 13 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed