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The Barretts of Wimpole Street

The Barretts of Wimpole Street(1957)

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NOTES

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The film opens and closes with voice-over narration of an excerpt from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese as spoken by Jennifer Jones. Throughout the film, voice-over narration of excerpts from both Elizabeth Barrett Browning's and Robert Browning's poetry are read. According to modern biographical sources, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), whose father, Edward Moulton, took the name Barrett after he acquired a Jamaican estate, suffered a spinal injury at the age of fifteen that left her a semi-invalid for many years. As portrayed in the film, Barrett married fellow poet Robert Browning in 1846 and lived most of her remaining years in Italy.
       According to a March 14, 1955 Daily Variety article, Grace Kelly was originally considered for the lead role, but was on suspension at M-G-M and was replaced by Jennifer Jones. As noted in a January 8, 1957 Motion Picture Daily article, the entire cast was British, except for Jones. Co-stars Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna were married in 1957. The spaniel named "Flush," which was based on the poet's actual dog of the same name, had a comedic role in the film as the antidote to her father's tyranny. For information on remakes of the original play, see the entry for The Barretts of Wimpole Street produced in 1934 by M-G-M in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-1940. The 1934 film was also directed by Sidney Franklin.