7.3/10
3,059
46 user 16 critic

The Great Lie (1941)

Approved | | Drama | 12 April 1941 (USA)
After a newlywed's husband apparently dies in a plane crash, she discovers that her rival for his affections is now pregnant with his child.

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writers:

Lenore J. Coffee (screen play) (as Lenore Coffee), Polan Banks (from a novel by)
Reviews

On TV

Airs Mon. May. 06, 9:15 AM on TCM

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Maggie Patterson
George Brent ... Peter Van Allen
Mary Astor ... Sandra Kovak
Lucile Watson ... Aunt Ada Greenfield
Hattie McDaniel ... Violet
Grant Mitchell ... Joshua Mason
Jerome Cowan ... Jock Thompson
Charles Trowbridge ... Senator Ted Greenfield
Thurston Hall ... Oscar Worthington James
Russell Hicks ... Col. Harriston
Virginia Brissac ... Sadie
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Dr. Ferguson (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Addison Richards ... Mr. Talbot
Sam McDaniel ... Jefferson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Olin Howland ... Ed - Arizona Ranch Hand (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Sandra and Pete elope but their marriage is invalid since she's not yet divorced. Sandra is, however, pregnant by Pete. Pete marries his former fiancée Maggie, then flies to South America where his plane crashes. Maggie pays Sandra to let her adopt Pete's baby. Pete returns "from the dead". Sandra and Maggie contend for Pete and the baby. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes there's a terrible penalty for telling the truth.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Far Horizon See more »

Filming Locations:

Mojave Desert, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$689,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Mary Astor mimed playing the piano in this film extremely convincingly, being an accomplished pianist in her own right. However, the actual piano playing on the soundtrack was dubbed by Max Rabinowitz. When close-up shots were required, Norma Drury 's hands are those we see on the piano. See more »

Goofs

(at around 33 mins) The position of Pete's hands and arm changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Sandra Kovac: Whoever heard of an ounce of brandy?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Maltese Falcon (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

How Dry I Am
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played during the home movie scene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The quintessential Warner Bros melodrama.
6 January 2010 | by David-240See all my reviews

To my mind this film is perfect - a classic example of what the studio system of the golden years of Hollywood could achieve. Strong direction, witty dialogue, beautiful music, sublime cinematography, crisp editing, gorgeous production design and costuming, brilliant performances - every element of this film is perfect.

Add to all that the daring (for its day) story-line, Bette Davis at the height of her dramatic powers and at her most beautiful, and Mary Astor delivering what I think is one of the great screen performances of all time, and you have a very special film indeed.

Although the film may seem to have dated elements, especially in the depiction of the African-American characters, if you let yourself watch the film with 1941 eyes you will be richly rewarded. Besides which the wonderful Hattie McDaniel brings so much depth to what could have been a simple stereotype.

As you can tell, I love this film. I understand Bette Davis and Mary Astor loved working together - and you can see that on the screen. The scenes between the two of them are electric, with so much being said beyond the words. Thank God Astor won an Oscar for her work here. She truly deserved it.


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