7.3/10
2,912
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)
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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's Best Supporting Actress Oscar win was this film's only Oscar nomination. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Sandra Kovac: "If I didn't think you meant so well, I'd feel like slapping your face"
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Chicken Reel
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played during the home movie scene
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User Reviews

 
Generally well-acted and entertaining, but not a highlight of Bette Davis' career...
1 September 2011 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

One of Bette Davis' more colorless entries. Here she spars with concert pianist Mary Astor over playboy George Brent (the "lie" of the title involves one of the women raising the other's child as if it were her own). Somewhat plodding melodrama does pick up steam in its second-act, but it may lose non-devout viewers before then. The film's biggest obstacles are the awkward direction by Edmund Goulding and Lenore Coffee's soapy screenplay. Mary Astor won a Supporting Actress Oscar, yet her bitchiness occasionally seems forced (she's a good sport when being used for comedic relief, but even this doesn't fully come off). Hattie McDaniel is always nice to have around (albeit stuck in her proverbial role as the mouthy maid). As for Davis, she certainly looks good, however the star is trapped performing in a dishearteningly subdued key nearly throughout. ** from ****


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