6.5/10
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Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)

Approved | | Drama | 19 November 1947 (USA)
Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Oresteia set in New England, after the American Civil War.

Director:

Dudley Nichols

Writer:

Eugene O'Neill (play)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosalind Russell ... Lavinia Mannon
Michael Redgrave ... Orin Mannon
Raymond Massey ... Ezra Mannon
Katina Paxinou ... Christine Mannon
Leo Genn ... Adam Brant
Kirk Douglas ... Peter Niles
Nancy Coleman ... Hazel Niles
Henry Hull ... Seth Beckwith
Sara Allgood ... Landlady
Thurston Hall ... Dr. Blake
Walter Baldwin ... Amos Ames
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Hills
Erskine Sanford ... Josiah Borden
Jimmy Conlin ... Abner Small
Lee Baker ... Reverend Hills
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Storyline

Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Oresteia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamemnon, Brigadier General Ezra Mannon (Raymond Massey) comes home to his unhappy wife Christine (Katina Paxinou) and loving daughter Lavinia (Rosalind Russell). But Lavinia's ex-suitor, Adam Brant (Leo Genn), has become Christine's lover, and together Adam and Christine plot to poison Ezra. When they succeed, Lavinia turns to her brother Orin (Sir Michael Redgrave) to help bring the lovers to justice, but when they succeed, Orin goes mad and his suicide note may come between Lavinia and her new suitor, Peter Niles (Kirk Douglas). Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Mother and Daughter Loving the Same Man! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is one of three RKO-distributed movies that were edited heavily after their initial unsuccessful first runs. The others were All That Money Can't Buy (1941) and Joan of Arc (1948). All three have been restored to their full lengths (or, in the case of this movie, approximately their full lengths) on DVD. See more »

Goofs

While Adam Brandt stands by the bench where Lavinia is seated, he holds his hat by his side and then drops it on the ground. Instead of hastily picking it up and putting it on the bench next to him as he sits down, he seems to forget about it and leaves it on the ground after sitting down to talk to her. See more »

Quotes

Orin Mannon: You folks at home take death so solemnly. You have to learn to mock or go crazy.
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Alternate Versions

After its original "roadshow" engagement in 1947, where the full 173-minute version was shown (with an intermission), "Mourning Becomes Electra" was cut to 121 minutes for the remainder of its theatrical run. This version is not available for television, but does exist in 16mm prints. See more »

Connections

Version of Le deuil sied à Electre (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
See more »

User Reviews

This movie has had a bad rap for years....
1 November 2004 | by bogatorSee all my reviews

This is one of the best acted, entertaining movies I've ever seen. I don't know why it is so bashed by the media. Rosalind Russell is perfect as the overwrought Lavinia, whose hatred gets the best of her. Russell is simply superb. Michael Redgrave, while not as good as Russell, nevertheless gives substance to a weak role. I thought Katina Paxinou, of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" fame, was excellent too and her scenes with Russell crackle with bitchiness that O'Neill probably didn't intend.

And the best news of all, this magnificent film is finally being released on DVD in December 2004. Never on VHS, laserdisc, or any form except, for God bless it, TCM, this film needs exposure to help its reputation as a great drama and a well-acted film that has been mistreated by the years.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$435,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(premiere) | (re-edited) | (original release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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