- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Living in Siberia with Mary Astor
There is something creepy about a movie that endorses adultery (not that there's any shortage of Hollywood flicks that do so.). Dodsworth stacks the deck by making Chatterton unbearable and Astor charming and lovely. So we're rooting for the adultery to take place. That's sick. It also renders the drama less compelling. When Cary Grant sheds his girlfriend for Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby our response is complicated by the fact that the girlfriend was so pretty and humanly attractive, so that we are not saying, oh, good, he's well rid of her. When Bogdanovich made his homage to that film -- What's Up Doc? -- he transformed the girl friend role into an ogre, making it easier for us to root for her breakup with Ryan O'Neal.At the end of Dodsworth, when Huston is aboard ship to accompany his wife back to America, she is more than usually obnoxious. This was the hour for Huston to display true heroism -- to put up with it because that's what love is. Because what is asked of us is the total gift of self. Matrimony is a sacrament because it's a commitment as total as Christ's when he took all of our sins, all of the sins of humanity past, present and future, upon himself -- made those sins his own, even though he was sinless -- and then offered himself to his Father in expiation for crimes that we had committed. Yes, there are moment in marriage when it becomes very hard.That is the situation Huston faced on that ocean liner that was about to leave Genoa for New York. He could have been a saint and a hero -- instead he chose to cut and run in order to live in Siberia with Mary Astor.
To Joan: Available on Amazon. Where I got mine.
- Robin H
I'm as obsessed with this movie as Fran was with her reverse-aging and flirtations with people quite out of her league. I've watched this movie (in the last 7 days this time 'round) so much, that my family is talking about intervention for me. This isn't the only movie of it's era that portray women as hysterical in trying to remain young; resisting a natural & beautiful maturing process, but this film is so much more. Taking the ~~although super-rich~~ Dodsworth's out of their midwestern US digs and transplanting them into the hustle & bustle of the cultured world is too much for wife, Fran. Husband Sammy (Huston), is priceless mostly, except when his toleration for Fran's antics is super-human, and thankfully, in the end, he sees the proverbial light (life with uncomplicated Edith-Mary Astor). The location scenes at Naples (Mount Vesuvius) are fantastic and inspired me to look up the ship "Rex" which in 1940, after the official start of WWII, the Italian line sailed it into hiding but the RAF? and others (U.S.) found her and bombed her. You can find images of the ship online (both intact & on her side waiting to be scavenged for her iron). Rex's sister ship may be the one in the last scenes where Sammy finally gives Fran her walking papers and he gets off the Rex. Look at the background when he's at the door leaving with his suitcase. Also, notice the very last scene where Mary Astor is waving down to Sammy; the background volcano and location totally remind me of the balcony scenes of Naples & the volcano in "That Hamilton Woman" leaving me wonder if that area may have been an actual royal-type location (you know what they say about real estate: "Location, Location, Location!"
- Donna S
I love this movie! I cannot believe that a woman would throw away such a wonderful husband! I love how he tells her each day "Did I remember to tell you today that I adore you." I watch this every chance I get and I absolutely love the ending. Thank you TCM for showing this wonderful film.
- Albert Ferreira
Excellent movie, watched it several times and love it. Happy to see that Leonard Maltin finally sees a movie he likes.
- LISA BOSSOLI
A MATURE MOVIEWOMANS FEAR OF GROWING OLD AND A MANS NEED TO CHALLENGE HIMSELF.GREAT ADAPTION OF SINLAIR LEWIS
Don't change history
A gem of a movie, Walter Huston's performance was superb. Accept the movie in the time frame that it was made. Don't judge this movie with today standards. The setting was right in that time. Leave it like it is, Learn something from it, it is a priceless jewel.
Dodsworth is a truly powerful movie!
Obviously, the consensus here is quite unanimous - that one could go on & on extolling the many virtues of Dodsworth. The mere fact that it holds up so well today from 1936 says so much - in fact it puts so many after to shame with its light, charming, yet honest, intelligent handling of a topic as complicated as marriage with its masterfully handled portrayals by Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Mary Astor, Spring Byington, John Payne & the entire wonderful cast - my favorite of all, Kort's mother (sorry, forgot her name!) Not to leave out author Sinclair Lewis & director William Wyler. And when all is said & done, I still wonder had Dodsworth not rushed into his decision to go back with Mrs. Cortwright, mightn't he have just been able to brush off Fran's selfish indescretions as a simple midlife crisis & gone right back to her as before - since I do believe she was the one he truly really loved?
The first time I saw this movie I just could not believe how good it was. It is such a treasure. I've watched it several times and love it even more with each viewing. The actors are absolutely wonderful - Walter Huston - oh my! Ruth Chatterton - great in anything I've ever seen her in , and Mary Astor - charming. Hoping to see it again soon!
- kevin sellers
When I first saw this film I was in awe of what I felt was a brilliant look at a husband and wife splitting apart. I still like it, but more now as the story of a man's mid life crisis than as a study of a dysfunctional marriage. Having undergone a divorce myself as well as witnessing more than my share among my friends and family, I know that it takes two to untangle. And, in "Dodsworth," Ruth Chatterton's vain, silly Fran Dodsworth is made to bear all the blame. Not only is this sexist and unrealistic, it's also bad drama. If the disaster of a marriage is all one spouse's fault, then where is the conflict and torment and regret that comes with shared guilt? Still, there is no denying the excellence of Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton as this mismatched couple. Especially Chatterton. The scene where she is made to realize that she's pinned all her hopes on the wrong horse (i.e. The guy who is too weak to marry her 'cause his mama disapproves)truly earns that most overused of cliches, "devastating." Give it a B.
A tremendous movie!
Don't know why it took me so long to see this wonderful film! I passed it by several times over the years when TCM ran it, but last year, I thought, 'It's about time I watched this movie'. I was completely enthralled by it from the very first time, and each time I watch it now (it's in my DVR line-up---I'm waiting for the DVD), I wish it were the first time all over again. Terrific acting by all the stars, the characterizations are spot-on. The best part?---the person you wanted to see get their comeuppance, does, and the one who should triumph, does, too. It made me very happy. Walter Huston is amazing in this film, I just love him; and Ruth Chatterton did the villainess thing with everything she had in her. And dear Mary Astor, what thrill to see her in this. At some point, I'm absentmindedly going to erase the movie from my "favorites" and will be furious with myself and the fact that it is NOT out on DVD yet! Please, please make this fine film available for sale on DVD. So many really poor films are----and yet, this magnificent book-to-film masterpiece is not. Don't understand it...
just watched this amazing movie today!! just goes to show that some things never change no matter what year it is. must see movie. would love to buy a dvd of it.....
- Robert Cornfield
This has three of the greatest American film performances: Walter Huston, Mary Astor and Ruth Chatterton.
A Powerful Film
Wow- what a film!! Powerful performances by all and a powerful story. A true gem....My hope would be that a future star of the month would be directors starting with the films by Mr. William Wyler.
Best of the Best
Memorable in every way--acting, settings, personalities. Huston is superb. Where can you find the perfect movie, better than the book? Here.
Robert Osborne Spot on with recommendation
I was not planning on watching this but Robert Osborne's insistence on the excellence of the acting, writing and storyline piqued my interest. I started watching with remote at hand to turn it off once It lost my interest. Joyfully, this is a hidden classic that has mature insight from an era when often solutions to problems were a song and dance number or terribly witty but not very realistic dialogue. I'm so glad I watched this. Thanks, Robert.
Pre WW II Europe Never Looked So Good(1936)
Sam Dodsworth (Walter Huston) in a fine performance as a retired Industrialist decides to spend time with his wife Fran Dodsworth(Ruth Chatterton) cruising the Europeon scene, but wife succumbs to the trappings of wealth/leisure and their marriage faces uncertainty. Basically a morality tale of the times but about people who have no monetary problems yet devoid of any spiritual anchor.Huston as the voice of reason makes many timeless valid points. Could be played today in Washington, D.C. David Niven, Spring Byington, John(Howard) Payne also star. Great cast. 4.5 stars out of 5, simply too many violins, 1930's style.
My favorite line is when ...
- Dell Calloway
... Kurt's mother mother says, "no, Kourt. I did not say ... postpone." Great stuff!
Pivotal movie moments
- Aunt Charlotte Vail
I had never heard of the film Dodsworth until Cinemax showed it in 1984. I was not prepared for such an insightful intelligent movie. It has been in my top 10 favorite films of all times ever since. Casting, direction, writing, music, all perfect. The simple story of a married couple taking an extened European trip seems routine enough, until you realize the classic dilema of one spouse giving , the other spouse taking. And the self destructive behavior of some women who won't grow old gracefully. Sam loves his wife Fran, and indulges her selfish whims through most of the movie until the last scene with the classic line, "Love has got to stop some place short of sucide".Dodsworth also touches on the issue of how real love will endure in a sometimes unequal marriage. Samuel Dodsworth is the template of what a spouse should be, Fran Dodsworth polar opposite.I started telling everyone that they had to see Dodsworth and would show it to friends and family when the opportunity presented itself. I don't think it impacted others in the same way, since classic movies from the 1930's 40's and 50's are not everyone's cup of tea.One of the best films to come out of the 1930's!!!
I cant wait to watch Dodsworth again, so I can really pay attention to all of the details of this great movie. I loved it. It is timeless-same now as then,dosnt matter 1936 or 2013. People fall into these charactor roles.Mrs. Dodsworths selfishness, Mr. Dodsworths strength and hope for new horizons and his attempts to try and save this marriage and finally to have his eyes really opened to see what he was missing and what still waited for him if he moved on without her.And Mary Astor as the smart beauty who really loved this man and could really be a true partner in his life and knew he was worth the wait. I will keep looking for the next showtime on TCM.
Heart-rending tale of how selfishness and pride destroy a marriage. First of all, the dialogue is just perfect, from the frivolous, shallow chattering of Fran to the succinct, spare expressions of Mr. Iselin. Sam Dodsworth is a man of strong character, conviction and morals, unlike the dandies they meet in Europe. He likes to be engaged and interested, whereas his wife and her group of friends he deems shallow and uninteresting. He wants to sightsee, to explore, to get to know the ins and outs of the cities of such ancient histories and historical figures. She goes to fittings and salons and tea. What I love about Sam Dodsworth is that he is a man who is not self-conscious. He is confident and, even when he is unsure, he asks questions and wants to learn. I loved his intellectual curiosity and zest for living in the beginning of the movie and then again when he gets on with his life. Meeting the widowed Mrs. Cortright brings the spark of vitality back to his heart and soul. Everyone should see it at least once in their lifetime. The points of Sinclair Lewis' satirical novel are clearly portrayed in the excellent acting abilities of Walter Houston and Ruth Chatterton and the supporting cast. This is a fine film, one that is timeless and essential viewing.
- Dashiell B.
A compelling, sensetive and beautifully-made adaptation of Lewis' novel. An American automobile mogul tours Europe with his wife, but both wants something else in life. Huston recieved a Best Actor nomination, great female performances from Chatterton, Astor & Ouspenskaya, the latter in a brief scene that earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Won an Academy Award for production design, the story is still powerful today thanks it's dialouge & performances. A complex, powerful adult drama. I give it a 5/5.
Mid Life Crisis Film Extraordinaire
Times changes, fashion changes, but the essence of human beings does not. The mid-life marriage is just as vulnerable today as it was then. If you are lucky enough to be in a long term marriage, you get it, you feel it, you understand it. This movie delivers with class and heartbreaking scenes. The last scene on the ship when Mr. D. jumps ship is perfection!
Due to Leonard Maltin's 4* review...
- Jack Cox
...I will watch this movie tonight (2/26/2013) and give my own review in the near future - 2/27/2013 if all goes well.
- Daniel Kent
I can't get over the depth of this movie. Good writing (both from Mr. Lewis & the screenwriter), good acting & first rate directing. It was stories like this that set the stage for Hollywood's golden era. Now, if I could just get my hands on a screenplay. Feel free to make a recommendation.
Intelligent and well written
- Toni Stafford
I was surprised at the depth of this movie. Acting is superb, characters are fully developed and the story is heartbreaking and uplifting. A true treasure, so happy I have it on DVD.
This is a true, timeless classic. WHY CAN I NOT GET IT ON DVD? I love Walter Huston's performance! He was an amazing actor that seems to be forgotten. Please schedule it often. This one will really stir your emotions.
- dee dee
loved the movie the first time i saw it and will always watch it when it is on. ruth chattertons character got what she deserved, never felt sorry for her.
Never Miss This Movie
I've seen "Dodsworth" countless times, the first as a kid when we didn't have a color TV, there was no cable and the Star Spangled Banner closed out the programming after the late movie before the test pattern came on. I never miss an opportunity to watch it TCM. I have a video cassette of it and up until recently, it was available on Hulu. I love this movie. Love it.
Walter Huston is Superb as Sam Dodsworth...
- Chris B.
...and Ruth Chatterton plays his roving wife, Fran. After too many years of work, he sells his business, a successful motor company, and the now retired Dodsworth and his wife set sail to Europe for a long deserved trip. Though Huston was never considered a leading man he broke the mold in this film. The supporting cast includes Mary Astor, as Edith Cortwright, Paul Lukas, as Arnold Iselin, David Niven, as Capt. Locket, the wonderful Maria Ouspenskaya, as Baroness von Obersdorf and John Payne, as Harry McKee. He was billed as John Howard Payne in this, his debut film. Sam Dodsworth stands by as his wife becomes flirtatiously involved with Capt. Locket (Niven). As this shipboard romance comes to an end, Fran Dodsworth begins a real affair with Arnold Iselin (Lukas). Mrs. Dodsworth is afraid of growing old and wasting away in a small town like Zenith. She is extravagant with Sams money, his generosity and her own feelings toward this new man. Sam goes back to America while Fran stays behind. He feels as though she is only going through a phase and he allows her to ride it out. Watch this grand drama as it unfolds and see what becomes of Dodsworth when he finds happiness elsewhere and his wife goes on to find yet another man in her life. All in all this is a very well done film.
Why do I sypathize for the Baddie?
Though, of course, I am in the end happy for Walter Huston and Mary Astor, I also find that I sympathize for Ruth Chatterton during her defeats. (Another reviewer hinted at this too.) Why? Shouldn't I be glad she gets what she deserves? I am thinking maybe it's because Ruth Chatterton is simply riveting and magnetic. I think I have had this same curious response a few other times too. The other one I can remember right now: Jean Hagen's Lena Lamont in Singing in the Rain. (She's horrible, and she's brilliant!)
- Mark Sutch
Watching the main couple struggle through the end of their marriage was realistic. This was the 1930s when divorce was still a taboo and the public simply had a condemning view of those who had gone through one. The audience can truly feel for Mr. Dodsworth (Walter Huston) as his wife (Ruth Chatterton) does her best to humiliate, hurt and push him away. She flirts with anyone who looks at her, then acts offended when they give her attention. She has serious issues with getting older and views her husband as a reminder of their aging. Then when they become grandparents, she hides the news from her current beau, not even allowing her husband to discuss it in front of him. She is a hussy and cad (usually the guy is a cad). She deserves a good spanking and gets one verbally by her last, short-lived fiance's mother. Touche. Lovely done. The mother puts her in her place when she tells Mrs. Dodsworth she is too old for her son. Verbal slap. She forbids her son to consider marrying this old (she is playing a 35 yr old) woman! Lovely.More intriguing is the unpretentious, easily developed relationship between Mr. Dodsworth and a divorced woman, Mrs. Cortright (played brilliantly by Mary Astor). The met briefly while on a cruise to England with his wife months prior. After his wife tells him the marriage is over, that she wants divorce and marry another man, he gives up and goes on his lonely travels throughout Mediterranean cities. Mr. Dodsworth and Mrs. Cortright bump into each other in a post office in her expat home in Naples, Italy. They appreciate and respect each other, then begin to fall in love. Twists and turns throughout, the ending will leave the audience relieved and happy. Glad I finally was able to see this highly rated movie. Enjoy!
Great acting, and I really wanted to slap the wife
- Jeff Boston
A few hours ago, I enjoyed my 2nd viewing of "Dodsworth," my 1st being in June 07, and both courtesy of TCM. I'm not a fan of the anti-capitalist Sinclair Lewis, who coincidentally (?) won the Nobel Prize the year after the Great Depression began, but the movie adaptation of his least political best seller is fabulous. Very mature film, especially compared to today's collective trash. Great lines, like when Astor tells Chadderton "You're almost sure to, my dear" shortly before the Astor line mentioned in a prior post (a third into this classic film), and so many past and future Oscar noms (Chadderton, Ouspenskaya, Lukas, Niven, Huston, and Director Wyler). Landmark film in that it is the wife who is unfaithful and wants "freedom." The ever patient spouse is the man, who utters toward the end of the film "I've got to take care of her." Such has been uttered by millions of victimized women throughout history. The film was a precursor of things to come, with the decadence of the idle rich trickling down to the middle class of America, to the detriment of children, and, undoubtedly, our nation. Selfishness sucks. The great actor Huston did not believe in selfishness, in his roles and in real life. Even good selfishness. He believed in collectivism, even as an old man, having been heavily involved in 3 of the handful of pro-Soviet films Hollywood produced (all during the WW 2 era, when godless Russia was an ally, and before he won his Oscar). In "Dodsworth," his character even gets to speak of creating an airline with flights from Seattle to Moscow, mentioning the niceness of the Soviet people. Huston lived to see the formation of the Iron Curtain, but died a few months before Soviet-armed North Korea began killing Americans in the Korean War.
- Jack Woker
I have seen Dodworth at least four times over the years, and it will always remain one of my favorite films. It is brilliantly written, acted and directed. The scene near the end where Sam and Edith reveal (and realize) their love for each other never fails to move me, and the film ends on a real high. Mary Astor was never better, and Huston and Chatterton give the performances of their careers. A masterpiece!
Jarrod and Souix - were you watching DODSWORTH?
Jarrod and Souix, were both of you watching a different movie than I? Fran showed us clearly that she has learned absolutely nothing from the two occassions that Dodsworth forgave her and showed himself willing to work to restore their relationship. To the last moments in the film, as he escaped from her (and the ship taking them home), she was only thinking how she would "look" to others, not what she really was. The movie opened with a clear portrait of Fran has a woman who made an orderly home for her husband, so that he could focus on his creativity and business. She was obviously very young when they married and she saw his retirement and their trip to Europe as a way of regaining the missed opportunities of her long past very young womanhood. ..making up for "wild oats" not sown, so to speak. And his friend hinted in the early scenes at the Dodsworth home, that Dodsworth had a blind-spot where Fran was concerned. He had obviously spoiled and indulged Fran. Her self-absorbtion and vanity, her pliable and easily redirected taste and affections made her a more and more "comical" figure as the movie progressed. This was summarized for the audience starting with the dressing down that David Niven's character gave her on the Queen Mary and climaxing with the Countess' direct speak about Fran's age when they met concerning the pending marriage. No...Dodsworth was a man who knew who he was (down deep), he was not easily flattered, nor did he want to be. He had an eye for beauty and functionality and a heart for the future. He was heading for the sky (and the budding airline industry) at the end of this film, not towards a wasted time showing up Fran by having "his turn" at being as morally bankrupt and intellictually misdirected as Fran. P.S. I, too, love this movie and watch it everytime I get a chance.
- Betty J
I absolutely LOVE this movie, and never miss it when it's on. Walter Houston is, as always, amazing. There's an elegance and dignity invested in everything he does. Ruth Chatterton is a strong enough actress to make some small part of you have sympathy for Fran. Mary Astor is lovely as Edith, and is part of one of my favorite moments in the movie. During the party in the Dodsworths' Paris hotel room, when Edith notices that Fran is planning to get involved with Karl Lucas's character, she approaches Fran and quietly says "My dear...don't". The maturity and frankness of the movie is remarkable.
Her turn, his turn...agreed
I agree with Jarrod McDonald. I don't think this is really the ending, I think that now it's his turn to do what she did. In the end, i think that they should have found their way back to each other, that this tortured love of theirs with heal itself. They both will have their moments but in the end, it comes down to them coming back to each other and being happy and not being selfish.
This happens to be one of my favorite movies. The theme is ageless. I'm truly sorry that only movie buffs know about this film.
Her turn, his turn
- Jarrod McDonald
I don't think the story really ends with the last scene of this movie. It is merely his turn to stay abroad with a lover, something she had already done. For some reason, we expect the Dodsworths to find their way back together and stay together. I know that viewers will think Mary Astor's character is the more sympathetic woman and that Walter Huston's Mr. Dodsworth has at last found true happiness, but I don't think so. I think what has happened is that the narrative has switched so that we are experiencing, or rather watching, infidelity, from the reverse angle. When you think about this story, it's really a tortured love that is only escalated by the new choices that are being presented abroad.
Dodsworth - Mature Classic
This film is one of my top three favorite films of all time. I don't ever cry watching films, but this film is the only film that I come close to crying while watching. The film should have won the five major Academy Awards. The film is by far the best picture of 1936. The story by Pulitzer Prize winner Sidney Howard is great. Such mature dialogue is never spoken in today's films - including films today that deal with divorce. Walter Huston is Walter Huston - I've never seen him in a bad role. Ruth Chatterton is awsome as Fran. She's mean and wicked and plays the part with guts. She is very much overlooked, but if you watch her in this film you'll love to hate her - her character is a real witch. All in all, it's a beautiful film that should be shown more. Mary Astor, Paul Lukas and David Nivien are also wonderful in their supporting roles. Everytime this film is on, I have to watch it until it's over.
A must see for everyone, especially married couples.
I had never seen this film until last year when I turned on TCM and couldn't turn away...Though dated in costume, the content is timeless...Lets not forget Ruth Chatterton, who I really never saw in many movies, is brilliant..Of course, Walter Houston is amazing..In every movie he is in, he brings a regality to his characters, even in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, you can't take your eyes off of him..Amazing movie..Mary Astor is so very sympathetic, something I don't remember her being in many movies..Watch this every time its on.....
Dodsworth is a classic movie...Mary Astor and Walter Huston are great together. A great line is when [huston] says, "Have I told you I adored you today?" That is a perfect line! I just saw it this morning....It goes down as a classic...Mary Astor isn't breathtaking in her looks, but in her acting.. Walter Huston is great...as usual.
- Chris Feehan
One of the "perfect" films........ never miss it. Walter Houston is remarkable
Walter Houston is Dodsworth
I have seen "Dodsworth" so many times and each time I see it, it's like seeing it for the first time all over again. Walter Houston immersed himself so completely into the role of Dodsworth that the viewer feels every ounce of pain, confusion and ultimate happiness as the character is supposed to emit. Houston makes this movie timeless. After all, every single human emotion is in this movie. He was just fabulous.
- Rich Katanich
Ms. Winkler's previous post inspired me to write this one.I was using my computer with TCM on and I could not help but hear the dialogue and ambience of Doddsworth.I had been watching all morning and decided with Doddsworth to 'get to work' but I stopped my insignificant work (comparatively) to give this great film my full attention. Moreover, glad I did. This film is a treasure just like the previous Walter Huston films TCM has been screening today.(Especially the film that is set in the African jungle that was shown previous). The acting and character projection by the majority of the actors is superb and Doddsworth personality and change when he meets Mary Astor in Venice is so heartwarming. I was so captivated I was actually talking to Doodsworth on the screen telling him to 'get your act together and don't leave Mary'', your only salvation'. When he did, I was broken and felt the complete scene deeply, but as he sat and talked to his wife on the ship, I could see it coming.I too was blown away by the scene the previous person mentioned at the train station. When the camera angle changed to a shot from behind Doddsworth, and looking at his'wife' standing there was an emotional experience everyone could feel.I could go on and on. I love Walter Huston's performances, so full of energy and emotion. What an actor/what a film.(let's not forget the director)
Walter Huston is wonderful
- Wendy Winkler
Walter Huston gives a heartfelt performance in this movie. Just watch the scene where he is leaving on a train right after his wife has asked him for a divorce. You can really feel his character's pain. No big speech. Just a quiet, powerful performance. The rest of the cast is also excellent.