Anthony Adverse


2h 16m 1936
Anthony Adverse

Brief Synopsis

An orphan runs off to a life of adventure, then returns to France in search of the girl he left behind.

Photos & Videos

Anthony Adverse - Olivia de Havilland Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Anthony Adverse - Scene Stills

Film Details

Genre
Adventure
Period
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Aug 29, 1936
Premiere Information
Los Angeles premiere: 29 Jul 1936; New York opening: 26 Aug 1936
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen (New York, 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 16m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
15 reels

Synopsis

In 1775, petty Italian nobleman Don Luis has married the young and beautiful Maria Bonnyfeather, but because of poor health, has yet to consummate their marriage. While middle-aged Don Luis is away taking a cure, Maria has an affair with the dashing Denis Moore and becomes pregnant. Don Luis challenges Denis to a duel when he discovers Maria's infidelity. Denis is killed, and Maria dies shortly thereafter in childbirth. Don Luis abandons the infant at a convent on St. Anthony's feastday. In honor of the saint, the sisters name the homeless boy Anthony. Ten years later, the boy is taken by Father Xavier to apprentice at Casa de Bonnyfeather. Although Don Luis told John Bonnyfeather that his grandson died along with Maria, the merchant recognizes his daughter's features in the orphan and gives Anthony the surname Adverse in recognition of his difficult life. Anthony grows into a responsible businessman and falls in love with Angela Guisseppi, the cook's daughter. Despite a separation, complicated by Napoleon's invasion of Italy, the couple is reunited and married. Soon after the ceremony, however, Anthony has to leave for Havana to save his benefactor Bonnyfeather's fortune. Because the note he leaves for Angela is blown away by the wind, she does not know where he is and pursues her operatic career. Anthony is frustrated in his attempt to help Bonnyfeather and leaves for Africa to engage in slave trading. Buying and selling human lives corrupts Anthony, but he is redeemed by the death of the generous Brother Fran├žois, whom he reveres. Anthony returns to Italy to find that Bonnyfeather has died and that his scheming housekeeper, Faith Paleologus, will receive Bonnyfeather's fortune if Anthony does not reach Paris to claim his inheritance. On the road to Paris, Faith and Don Luis, who have been conspiring together, fail to murder Anthony. Once in the city, Anthony is reunited with his friend, Vincent Nolte, who is now a prominent banker on the verge of bankruptcy. No longer interested in riches, Anthony offers his fortune to Vincent and continues his search for Angela. With the help of opera impressario Debrulle, Anthony not only finds Angela, but also discovers that he has a son. Angela admits that she is still singing, but does not confess that she is now known as Mlle. Georges, the infamous opera star and mistress to Napoleon. Anthony discovers her new identity when he sees her perform and decides to leave for America in search of a new life. Angela is loyal to the Emperor, but nobly sacrifices her son, sending him to America with his father.

Cast

Fredric March

Anthony Adverse

Olivia De Havilland

Angela Guisseppi also known as Mlle. Georges

Donald Woods

Vincent Nolte

Anita Louise

Maria Bonnyfeather

Edmund Gwenn

John Bonnyfeather

Claude Rains

Don Luis

Louis Hayward

Denis Moore

Gale Sondergaard

Faith Paleologus

Steffi Duna

Neleta

Akim Tamiroff

Carlo Cibo

Ralph Morgan

Debrulle

Fritz Leiber

Ouvrard

Luis Alberni

Tony Guisseppi

Billy Mauch

Anthony Adverse, age 10

Henry O'neill

Father Xavier

Pedro De Cordoba

Brother Fran├žois

George E. Stone

Sancho

Joseph Crehan

Captain Elisha Jorham

Rafaela Ottiano

Signora Bovino

Rollo Lloyd

Napoleon Bonaparte

Leonard Mudie

De Bourrienne

Marilyn Knowlden

Florence Udney

Mathilde Comont

Cook Guisseppi

Eily Malyon

Mother Superior

J. Carroll Naish

Major Doumet

Scotty Beckett

Anthony's son, Anthony

Paul Sotoff

Ferdinando

Frank Reicher

Coach driver to Paris

Clara Blandick

Mrs. Jorham

Addison Richards

Captain Matanaza

William Ricciardi

Coachman in Leghorn

Grace Stafford

Lucia

Ann Howard

Angela, as a child

Joseph King

Captain, Boat to America

Charles Fallon

Traveler

Davidson Clark

Traveler

Frank Ward

Traveler

Frank Shannon

Major domo

Guy D'ennery

Major domo

George Sorrell

Footman

Philip Cooper

Stable boy

Zeffie Tilbury

Old woman at chalet

Ferdinand Munier

Doctor at baths

Egon Brecher

Innkeeper

Brenda Fowler

Midwife

Tola Nesmith

Sister Ursula

Myra Marsh

Nun

Bess Flowers

Nun

Joe Hachey

Marco

Juan Duval

Pietro

Barlowe Borland

Clerk

Fred Malatesta

Stranger

Jean De Briac

Stranger

Arthur Thalasso

Italian man

Mike Tellegan

Italian man

Panchita Acosta

Italian girl

Artemis Nigolian

Italian girl

Bernard Siegel

Pablo

Michael Mark

Stage door man

Sam Appel

Driver

Octavio Giraud

Driver

Mitchell Lewis

White man whipping slave

Billy Mcclain

Black man being whipped

Paul Weigel

Butler

Carlos J. De Valdez

Cuban policeman

Martin Turner

Black carriage driver

Joan Woodbury

Half-caste dancer

Lal Chand Mehra

Arab

Frank Lackteen

Arab

Sam Appel

Arab

Martin Garralaga

Arab

Manuel Lopez

Arab

Ray Martin

Young slave

Pat Washington

Old slave

John Lester Johnson

Native chief

Ernest Wilson

Anthony's black slave

James Robinson

Black man

George Reed

Crippled black man

Art Miles

Dock hand at Leghorn

Dennis D'auburn

Napoleon's secretary

Robert Graves

Officer

Vivian Tobin

Lady at ball

Helen Brown

Lady at ball

Lotus Thompson

Lady at ball

Lottie Williams

Nurse to Anthony's son

Claude Payton

Announcer of guests at ball

Dan Colette

Usher

Edward Keane

Officer

Antonio Filauri

Harry Semels

Cyril Thornton

Ann Bupp

Photo Collections

Anthony Adverse - Olivia de Havilland Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here is a photo of Olivia de Havilland, taken behind-the-scenes during production of Warner Bros' Anthony Adverse (1936).
Anthony Adverse - Scene Stills
Here are some scene stills from Warner Bros' Anthony Adverse (1936), directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Fredric March and Olivia de Havilland.

Film Details

Genre
Adventure
Period
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Aug 29, 1936
Premiere Information
Los Angeles premiere: 29 Jul 1936; New York opening: 26 Aug 1936
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen (New York, 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 16m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
15 reels

Award Wins

Best Cinematography

1936

Best Editing

1936
Ralph Dawson

Best Score

1936

Best Supporting Actress

1936
Gale Sondergaard

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1936

Articles

Anthony Adverse


While very much a prestige project of its era, Warner Brothers' lavish adaptation of the Hervey Allen novel Anthony Adverse (1936) becomes more and more obscure with each passing year. Some of this may be due to problems of scale in distilling the 1,200+ page book into two hours and twenty minutes of screen time, problems that were apparent even to critics of its day. Still, the impressive production values and the efforts of a uniformly fine cast make any kind of offhanded dismissal unwarranted.

Allen's substantial tome was an immediate and worldwide hit upon its publication in 1933, and Warners, who were best known as social drama specialists, were eager to demonstrate that they could mount a lush costumer as well as the next studio and secured the rights. The scenario opens in 1775 France, where the Spanish aristocrat Don Luis (Claude Rains) is visiting his chateau with his young new bride Maria (Anita Louise) in tow. While the don is unable to consummate the union, the handsome young Irish officer Denis Moore (Louis Hayward) is not quite so challenged. Discovering the infidelity, Don Luis kills Moore and spirits Maria to the Italian Alps to hide the scandal. There, Maria dies in childbirth, and the nobleman callously abandons her son at a convent.

Deposited as he was on St. Anthony's Day under adverse circumstances, Father Xavier (Henry O'Neill) has a name for his new charge. When the boy (Billy Mauch) reaches ten years old, the priest recommends Anthony for apprenticeship with the Scottish merchant John Bonnyfeather (Edmund Gwenn), not realizing that the kindly trader is, in fact, the orphan's maternal grandfather. As he grows to manhood, Anthony (now played by Fredric March) nurtures an affection for Angela Guiseppe (Olivia de Havilland), the daughter of Bonnyfeather's cook. Their planned elopement is foiled by circumstance, and an embittered Anthony spends years of globetrotting in Bonnyfeather's service, sinking into a life of debauchery.

Redeemed by a sympathetic priest, Anthony returns to Europe, to find that Angela has become a celebrated opera star. He further discovers that Bonnyfeather has died, leaving Anthony his business concerns. Unfortunately, it seems that Don Luis has conspired with Bonnyfeather's conniving housekeeper, Faith Paleologus (Gale Sondergaard) to rob Anthony of his legacy.

The sequence where young Anthony first sojourns to Bonnyfeather's--and gets his few ragged possessions ripped off his back by a band of taunting youths--caused director Mervyn LeRoy some conflict with the industry's morality monitors of the day, as recounted in the filmmaker's 1974 autobiography Take One. "We had routinely submitted our script to [the Breen Office], and it came back with forty pages crossed out," he wrote. "Their notations said that we couldn't film those forty pages, because the hero [was] naked in one scene, when he was a little boy...I was furious. I had never done a picture that contained anything offensive in it--I never would--and I resented their lack of trust."

After three days of fruitless face-to-face meetings with office head Joseph Breen, LeRoy pleaded to film the scene as written, telling Breen that his people could trim anything they wanted if they didn't like it. "He didn't object to a single frame," the director wrote. "Later, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church saw it, and they were among the first to give Anthony Adverse their blessing. The little boy was still nude, but he was a block away."

Anthony Adverse was certainly well regarded by the AMPAS, accruing six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Art Direction. Sondergaard became the first-ever recipient of the newly-instituted Best Supporting Actress Award (then a plaque, rather than a statuette), and the prizes were also awarded to Gaetano Gaudio's cinematography, Ralph Dawson's editing and Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score. It was then industry practice to present the latter award to the winning studio's music department head; the following day, WB music head Leo Forbstein offered the Oscar® to Korngold, who declined. The statue remained in Jack Warner's office for years until the composer gave in to the studio's repeated entreaties.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy; Michael Curtiz (uncredited)
Screenplay: Sheridan Gibney; Hervey Allen (novel); Milton Krims (dialogue and screenplay, uncredited)
Cinematography: Tony Gaudio
Art Direction: Anton Grot
Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Film Editing: Ralph Dawson
Cast: Fredric March (Anthony Adverse), Olivia de Havilland (Angela Guiseppe), Donald Woods (Vincent Nolte), Anita Louise (Maria), Edmund Gwenn (John Bonnyfeather), Claude Rains (Marquis Don Luis), Louis Hayward (Denis Moore), Gale Sondergaard (Faith Paleologus), Steffi Duna (Neleta), Akim Tamiroff (Carlo Cibo), Ralph Morgan (Signore De Bruille), Fritz Leiber (Ouvrard), Luis Alberni (Tony Guiseppe).
BW-141m. Closed Captioning.

by Jay S. Steinberg
Anthony Adverse

Anthony Adverse

While very much a prestige project of its era, Warner Brothers' lavish adaptation of the Hervey Allen novel Anthony Adverse (1936) becomes more and more obscure with each passing year. Some of this may be due to problems of scale in distilling the 1,200+ page book into two hours and twenty minutes of screen time, problems that were apparent even to critics of its day. Still, the impressive production values and the efforts of a uniformly fine cast make any kind of offhanded dismissal unwarranted. Allen's substantial tome was an immediate and worldwide hit upon its publication in 1933, and Warners, who were best known as social drama specialists, were eager to demonstrate that they could mount a lush costumer as well as the next studio and secured the rights. The scenario opens in 1775 France, where the Spanish aristocrat Don Luis (Claude Rains) is visiting his chateau with his young new bride Maria (Anita Louise) in tow. While the don is unable to consummate the union, the handsome young Irish officer Denis Moore (Louis Hayward) is not quite so challenged. Discovering the infidelity, Don Luis kills Moore and spirits Maria to the Italian Alps to hide the scandal. There, Maria dies in childbirth, and the nobleman callously abandons her son at a convent. Deposited as he was on St. Anthony's Day under adverse circumstances, Father Xavier (Henry O'Neill) has a name for his new charge. When the boy (Billy Mauch) reaches ten years old, the priest recommends Anthony for apprenticeship with the Scottish merchant John Bonnyfeather (Edmund Gwenn), not realizing that the kindly trader is, in fact, the orphan's maternal grandfather. As he grows to manhood, Anthony (now played by Fredric March) nurtures an affection for Angela Guiseppe (Olivia de Havilland), the daughter of Bonnyfeather's cook. Their planned elopement is foiled by circumstance, and an embittered Anthony spends years of globetrotting in Bonnyfeather's service, sinking into a life of debauchery. Redeemed by a sympathetic priest, Anthony returns to Europe, to find that Angela has become a celebrated opera star. He further discovers that Bonnyfeather has died, leaving Anthony his business concerns. Unfortunately, it seems that Don Luis has conspired with Bonnyfeather's conniving housekeeper, Faith Paleologus (Gale Sondergaard) to rob Anthony of his legacy. The sequence where young Anthony first sojourns to Bonnyfeather's--and gets his few ragged possessions ripped off his back by a band of taunting youths--caused director Mervyn LeRoy some conflict with the industry's morality monitors of the day, as recounted in the filmmaker's 1974 autobiography Take One. "We had routinely submitted our script to [the Breen Office], and it came back with forty pages crossed out," he wrote. "Their notations said that we couldn't film those forty pages, because the hero [was] naked in one scene, when he was a little boy...I was furious. I had never done a picture that contained anything offensive in it--I never would--and I resented their lack of trust." After three days of fruitless face-to-face meetings with office head Joseph Breen, LeRoy pleaded to film the scene as written, telling Breen that his people could trim anything they wanted if they didn't like it. "He didn't object to a single frame," the director wrote. "Later, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church saw it, and they were among the first to give Anthony Adverse their blessing. The little boy was still nude, but he was a block away." Anthony Adverse was certainly well regarded by the AMPAS, accruing six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Art Direction. Sondergaard became the first-ever recipient of the newly-instituted Best Supporting Actress Award (then a plaque, rather than a statuette), and the prizes were also awarded to Gaetano Gaudio's cinematography, Ralph Dawson's editing and Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score. It was then industry practice to present the latter award to the winning studio's music department head; the following day, WB music head Leo Forbstein offered the Oscar® to Korngold, who declined. The statue remained in Jack Warner's office for years until the composer gave in to the studio's repeated entreaties. Director: Mervyn LeRoy; Michael Curtiz (uncredited) Screenplay: Sheridan Gibney; Hervey Allen (novel); Milton Krims (dialogue and screenplay, uncredited) Cinematography: Tony Gaudio Art Direction: Anton Grot Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold Film Editing: Ralph Dawson Cast: Fredric March (Anthony Adverse), Olivia de Havilland (Angela Guiseppe), Donald Woods (Vincent Nolte), Anita Louise (Maria), Edmund Gwenn (John Bonnyfeather), Claude Rains (Marquis Don Luis), Louis Hayward (Denis Moore), Gale Sondergaard (Faith Paleologus), Steffi Duna (Neleta), Akim Tamiroff (Carlo Cibo), Ralph Morgan (Signore De Bruille), Fritz Leiber (Ouvrard), Luis Alberni (Tony Guiseppe). BW-141m. Closed Captioning. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Sometimes the great house of Bonnyfeather becomes too heavy a burden for one man's shoulders.
- John Bonnyfeather

Trivia

Film debut of Gale Sondergaard, who won a "Best Supporting Actress" Academy Award (which was a new category).

Milton Krims wanted onscreen credit for his work on the screenplay, but the studio denied his request.

The miniatures that Fred Jackman built for the Port Royal set in Captain Blood (1935) were reused in this movie.

Notes

The filming of Hervey Allen's bestselling, 1,200 page novel, some of which was trimmed to comply with Hollywood's censorship requirements, was an enormous undertaking. Warner Bros. press material claims that the film contains 98 roles, with 78 speaking parts. Files in the Warner Bros. collection at USC reveal that Kitty Carlisle tested as Angela, J. Carrol Naish as Bonaparte, and Bette Davis as Faith. Daily Variety notes that Humphrey Bogart was also tested for the role of Napoleon. John Carradine was signed as Ferdinando, but when production problems delayed the filming of his part, he was released to honor a prior commitment. Producer Hal Wallis was interested in borrowing Freddie Bartholomew from M-G-M for the part of Anthony as a boy, and suggested Edward G. Robinson and Basil Rathbone for Don Luis. Studio files also indicate that the property was promised to director William Dieterle, who was bypassed for Harry Warner's son-in-law, Mervyn LeRoy. Milton Krims requested screen credit for his work on the screenplay, but it was denied by the studio. Edward Chodorov also made an uncredited contribution to the script. The African slave compound was constructed on the studio's backlot, occupying twelve acres.
       According to modern sources, the film re-used the miniatures that Fred Jackman built for the Port Royal set in Captain Blood. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and won Academy Awards for Original Score, Cinematography, Editing and Supporting Actress. Sondergaard's award for Supporting Actress was the first ever awarded in that category, but efforts were made to remove her name from the credits for the 1948 re-release. of the film because she was married to Herbert Biberman, one of the blacklisted "Hollywood Ten." The film was named as one of the National Board of Review's top ten pictures and came in eighth in the Film Daily critics' poll. According to Motion Picture Herald, the staff of the theater at the world premiere in Los Angeles wore costumes of the Napoleanic era. The first night's gross at the theater was twenty percent more than any previous film in their twelve years of operation. Modern sources note that Olivia de Havilland's singing voice was dubbed by Diana Gaylen and that Howard Koch wrote the lyrics to "Angela's" song. According to modern sources Boris Nicholai, Marjorie Gateson, Alma Lloyd and Walter Kingsford were also in the cast. Modern sources place the budget at $1,050,500 with a shooting schedule of 72 days. Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Allen's novel for $40,000, modern sources note.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1936

Released in United States 1996

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Warner Bros. Whiz: Mervyn Leroy in the 1930's" July 20 - August 4, 1996.)

Released in United States 1936