Another Language


1h 15m 1933
Another Language

Brief Synopsis

A newlywed discovers that she and her husband's snobby family speak different languages.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jul 28, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Another Language by Rose Franken (New York, 25 Apr 1932), as produced by Arthur J. Beckhard.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

After they elope and honeymoon in Europe, Stella and Victor "Vicky" Hallam sail back to New York City, where Vicky's large family lives. Although Stella expresses immediate reservations about spending their first night back at Vicky's parents' home, Vicky insists that they must attend his mother's weekly Tuesday night get-together. At the dock, the delicate and artistically inclined Stella first encounters Vicky's brothers and their wives, including the crude jokester Walter and his plump, envious wife Grace. Then, at the old family home, she meets "Mom," the matriarch of the Hallam family who feigns fainting spells to get attention, and "Pop," Vicky's kind but meek father. Although she attempts to please Mom and the rest of Vicky's family, Stella faces petty criticism and snubbing from them and, as a result, avoids seeing them. After repeated excuses, however, Vicky, who is oblivious to his family's bullying, pressures Stella to attend that Tuesday night's dinner, and Stella reluctantly agrees. Because she wants to finish a bust of Vicky that she is sculpting in an art class, however, Stella causes them to show up late for the meal. Unable to endure Mom's criticisms about her "Bohemian" life style, Stella bristles with anger and retreats to the kitchen. Soon after, Jerry, Vicky's grown nephew, arrives at the house and is introduced to Stella. Struck by his young aunt, Jerry confides in her about his artistic ambitions, which already have been threatened by his domineering family, and asks to see her alone at another time. Instead, Stella invites the entire family to spend the next Tuesday night at her place, but tells Jerry that he may drop by her home whenever he pleases. When Jerry does show up, Stella, who earlier was unable to talk Vicky into walking in the rain with her, agrees to go out with him. During the walk, Jerry confesses to Stella his romantic interest, but is soundly discouraged by her. At the next, much anticipated Tuesday dinner, Mom fakes weakness and takes to Vicky's bed, while the other Hallam women gossip about Stella behind her back. They then insist that Jerry, who earlier in the evening had been rejected by Stella, dance with and kiss his aunt, causing Stella to cringe with discomfort. Finally, Jerry hotly denounces his callous relatives, breaks Vicky's bust and storms out of the house. The dinner now ruined, the guests leave, and Vicky, who is still unaware of Jerry's feelings, rails against Stella. When Stella refuses to give in to her husband's demands that she apologize and obey him, Vicky leaves for his parents' home in a huff. Jerry then returns to Stella's and, after a full confession of love, kisses her and insists that she is as unhappy as he. The next morning, Stella goes to the Hallams' to tell Vicky that because his family "speaks another language," she is going away for a time to debate her future. While she goes upstairs to deal with Mom, Jerry's parents show up, distressed because Jerry failed to come home the previous night. When Jerry finally arrives, his parents confront him, and he admits that he is in love with a married woman. Eventually, Jerry reveals that it is Stella whom he loves, but to protect his wife, Vicky pretends that he knew about the infatuation from the start and that both he and Stella laughed about it. After Jerry storms away hurt, Stella reveals Vicky's lie to the Hallams and, while maintaining her innocence in the affair, leaves the house. To Stella's delight, Vicky defies his family and follows his wife into the rain.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jul 28, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Another Language by Rose Franken (New York, 25 Apr 1932), as produced by Arthur J. Beckhard.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

Another Language


The trailer for this early MGM sound picture includes the enticing come-on "A motion picture that starts with the honeymoon!" True, the first scenes are of newlyweds Victor (Robert Montgomery) and Stella (Helen Hayes) dreamily strolling along the deck of a boat, blissfully in love. But the honeymoon's over when the husband informs his wife that their first night stateside will be spent at his mother's house - after all, they can't miss Thursday night dinner with his family, can they? Thus begins Stella's rude awakening to the fact that her husband's small-minded, overbearing family -- especially his manipulative, pathological mother (character actress Louise Closser Hale in one of her final roles) -- will be occupying lots of space in their marriage. Can audiences blame her when Victor's teenage nephew Jerry (John Beal) takes a keen interest in her unhappy situation? While not as sordid as some Pre-Code dramas, Another Language gives plenty of subversive jabs on the chin to the themes of familial piety, the institution of marriage, illicit love affairs and a woman's right to her own happiness. While more old-fashioned than many dramas of the time, it's still an interesting take on what lengths a new bride will go to avoiding being subsumed into her husband's identity.

By Violet LeVoit
Another Language

Another Language

The trailer for this early MGM sound picture includes the enticing come-on "A motion picture that starts with the honeymoon!" True, the first scenes are of newlyweds Victor (Robert Montgomery) and Stella (Helen Hayes) dreamily strolling along the deck of a boat, blissfully in love. But the honeymoon's over when the husband informs his wife that their first night stateside will be spent at his mother's house - after all, they can't miss Thursday night dinner with his family, can they? Thus begins Stella's rude awakening to the fact that her husband's small-minded, overbearing family -- especially his manipulative, pathological mother (character actress Louise Closser Hale in one of her final roles) -- will be occupying lots of space in their marriage. Can audiences blame her when Victor's teenage nephew Jerry (John Beal) takes a keen interest in her unhappy situation? While not as sordid as some Pre-Code dramas, Another Language gives plenty of subversive jabs on the chin to the themes of familial piety, the institution of marriage, illicit love affairs and a woman's right to her own happiness. While more old-fashioned than many dramas of the time, it's still an interesting take on what lengths a new bride will go to avoiding being subsumed into her husband's identity. By Violet LeVoit

Quotes

Trivia

Norma Shearer was scheduled to play the lead character, but decided to stay home to nurse her husband, Irving Thalberg, who was recovering from a heart attack.

Notes

John Beal, Hal K. Dawson, Irene Cattell, Maidel Turner and Margaret Hamilton appeared in the Broadway production of Rose Franken's play and reprised the roles they played on the stage in this film. Beal and Hamilton made their screen debuts in the production. According to Hollywood Reporter, Harvey Pierson, an extra in the film, received one hundred dollars in cash from director Edward Griffith for a suggestion he made in regards to the shooting of a particular scene. This film was Louise Closser Hale's last production. She died on July 26, 1933, two days before its general release. (Dinner at Eight, which Hale also appeared in, was shot previous to this film but was not released generally until early 1934.) Modern sources state that Helen Hayes replaced Norma Shearer in the lead after Shearer decided to stay at home and nurse her husband, Irving Thalberg, who had suffered a serious heart attack. According to a modern source, Frank Borzage was originally set to direct this film.