The Men in Her Life


1h 30m 1941

Brief Synopsis

A circus performer marries a man who promises to turn her into a ballerina.

Film Details

Also Known As
Tonight Belongs to Us, Woman of Desire
Genre
Romance
Drama
Release Date
Nov 20, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Gregory Ratoff Productions
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Ballerina by Lady Eleanor Smith (Indianapolis, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,100ft

Synopsis

Obsessed by the ambition of becoming a world famous ballerina, Polly Varley joins a traveling circus as a bareback rider. One day, Stanislas Rosing, a distinguished retired dancer, visits the circus, and impressed by Polly's grace, introduces himself to her. Soon after, Polly impetuously presents herself at Rosing's villa, and despite the objections of his housekeeper Marie, persuades Rosing to teach her to dance. After cautioning Polly of the endless training and sacrifice that she must endure, Rosing accepts her as his pupil and changes her name to Lina Varsavina. Two years of grueling work pass, and one day, Sir Roger Chevis, a young English nobleman, visits the villa while out horseback riding. When Lina becomes enchanted with the young man, Rosing warns that romance has no place in a dancer's life. Finally, one day, Rosing decides that the time has come for Lina to perform for Tatiana Olenkova, a celebrated ballerina who has retired in Rome. Although overcome with apprehension, Lina dances flawlessly and is applauded by Olenkova. Realizing that Lina is now ready for her dancing debut, Rosing sponsors her appearance in a Paris concert. An instant success, Lina is celebrating her triumph with Rosing and members of the company when Roger joins them for dinner. When Roger confesses his love for her, Lina is overjoyed until she realizes that Rosing is also in love with her. To everyone's amazement, Lina announces her engagement to Rosing. Their marriage is followed by an extensive concert tour from Europe to New York. On their voyage to New York, Lina meets David Gibson, a wealthy American ship builder and art patron. In New York, Lina performs the tribute that Rosing wrote for her, "The White Rose Dance." As the audience cheers Lina's performance, tragedy strikes when Rosing dies. Upon discovering that their arduous sea crossing had damaged Rosing's health, Lina blames herself for his death, and in an emotional backlash, begins to see Gibson. When Gibson proposes, Lina declares that she must continue her life as a dancer and rejects his offer to undertake a triumphant European tour with Marie and Victor, her new manager. While in London, Lina is visited backstage by Roger, and when she discovers that he is engaged, she turns to Gibson for consolation. Promising to give up dancing for a life as Gibson's wife, Lina marries him. After a brief honeymoon, however, she leaves Gibson when he refuses to allow her to perform at a memorial concert for Rosing. Over her husband's objections, Lina goes to Paris, but collapses while rehearsing and discovers that she is pregnant. Lina keeps the birth of little Rose a secret from Gibson and then resumes her career. Her comeback is a success and one night in London, Roger visits her backstage and declares that he has broken his engagement and is still in love with her. Soon after, Gibson arrives in London and upon discovering that he is a father, demands custody of Rose. Arguing that he can give their daughter financial and social advantages, Gibson agrees to grant Lina a divorce in exchange for custody of Rose, and Lina agrees to his price. On the night that she bids a tearful farewell to her daughter, Lina and Roger speed to the theater in a horse-drawn cab. When the horses bolt, Lina is injured and Roger killed. Bereft of her lover and her child, Lina slides into a listless decline. Eventually, however, Lina is bouyed by the idea of seeing Rose and insists upon performing in New York. There she visits Gibson, but when he refuses to let her visit Rose, she begs him to bring the little girl to her performance. Gibson acquieses, and with her daughter in the audience, Lina dances brilliantly. Rose, now five, is enthralled by Lina and insists upon meeting her. In her dressing room, Lina struggles to contain the love that she feels for her daughter. Touched by Lina's abiding love, Gibson reconciles with her. Soon after, Lina, once again Gibson's wife and Rose's mother, instructs her daughter in the techniques of ballet.

Film Details

Also Known As
Tonight Belongs to Us, Woman of Desire
Genre
Romance
Drama
Release Date
Nov 20, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Gregory Ratoff Productions
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Ballerina by Lady Eleanor Smith (Indianapolis, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,100ft

Award Nominations

Best Sound

1941

Articles

The Men in Her Life


Loretta Young plays a circus bareback rider turned ballerina in The Men in Her Life (1941). In true melodramatic fashion, Young's character, Lina, faces one heartbreak after another during her rise to the top of the ballet world. She marries and loses two lovers, one of whom is her dance instructor (Conrad Veidt), and in a divorce custody suit, she is forced to give up her daughter.

To play ballerina Lina, Loretta Young enrolled in classes at the American Ballet Company in New York. Though she would have a double for the most difficult steps, Young took her dance training seriously. She even moved the furniture out of her apartment living room and installed practice bars and mirrors to create a rehearsal space. Young practiced in this private studio with her dance partner as well as her double. Other members of The Men in Her Life cast made use of the space as well with Young's apartment turning into a sort of "revolving door" party spot.

The Men in Her Life was based on a novel by Lady Eleanor Smith called Ballerina. Smith was a rather enigmatic figure with a life as interesting as one of her characters. She was a member of the British aristocracy; her father held the title of First Earl of Birkenhead. Yet, Smith enthusiastically embraced the notion that she had gypsy blood. She spent many years traveling across Europe learning gypsy folklore. She was also fascinated with circus life and with the ballet and her interests are clearly reflected in her writing. She published eleven novels and a book of short stories, many of which focus on gypsy themes. A number of Smith's stories were made into films. In addition to The Men in Her Life, Smith's film adaptations include: Red Wagon (1933), based on her first book, the film starred Charles Bickford as a circus performer; Gypsy (1937) another circus drama; The Man in Grey (1943) starring Margaret Lockwood as a governess who has an affair with James Mason; and Caravan (1946) about a writer with amnesia (Stewart Granger) who falls for a gypsy.

The Men in Her Life was directed and produced by Gregory Ratoff, who had first directed Loretta Young in Wife, Husband and Friend (1939). Ratoff, who was born in Russia, began his career as a performer with the Moscow Art Theatre. He fled to Paris during the Bolshevik Revolution and began appearing in the Russe Revue. Eventually the show - with Ratoff in the cast - found its way to Broadway, thanks to theatre magnate Lee Shubert. Ratoff eventually began directing and producing theatrical productions before relocating to Hollywood where he made his film debut as an actor in Symphony of Six Million (1932), starring Ricardo Cortez and Irene Dunne. Ratoff's first big screen directing job came with 1936's Sins of Man which he co-directed with Otto Brower. Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) starring Leslie Howard and Ingrid Bergman is probably the most famous film Ratoff directed. He also made several memorable appearances on screen, including his role as Broadway producer Max Fabian opposite Bette Davis in All About Eve (1950).

Distributed by Columbia Pictures, The Men in Her Life was the second film from the studio by that title. It was not, however, a remake of the earlier 1931 film; Men in Her Life (1931) was a story of blackmail and murder that starred Charles Bickford. The Men in Her Life (1941) was the first independent production from Ratoff. It would be nominated for one Academy Award – for Best Sound Recording.

Producer: Gregory Ratoff
Director: Gregory Ratoff
Screenplay: Frederick Kohner, Paul Trivers, Michael Wilson, Eleanor Smith (novel)
Cinematography: Arthur C. Miller, Harry Stradling, Sr.
Film Editing: Francis D. Lyon
Art Direction: Nicolai Remisoff
Music: David Raksin
Cast: Loretta Young (Lina Varsavina), Conrad Veidt (Stanislas Rosing), Dean Jagger (David Gibson), Eugenie Leontovich (Marie), Shepperd Strudwick (Roger Chevis), Otto Kruger (Victor).
BW-89m.

by Stephanie Thames
The Men In Her Life

The Men in Her Life

Loretta Young plays a circus bareback rider turned ballerina in The Men in Her Life (1941). In true melodramatic fashion, Young's character, Lina, faces one heartbreak after another during her rise to the top of the ballet world. She marries and loses two lovers, one of whom is her dance instructor (Conrad Veidt), and in a divorce custody suit, she is forced to give up her daughter. To play ballerina Lina, Loretta Young enrolled in classes at the American Ballet Company in New York. Though she would have a double for the most difficult steps, Young took her dance training seriously. She even moved the furniture out of her apartment living room and installed practice bars and mirrors to create a rehearsal space. Young practiced in this private studio with her dance partner as well as her double. Other members of The Men in Her Life cast made use of the space as well with Young's apartment turning into a sort of "revolving door" party spot. The Men in Her Life was based on a novel by Lady Eleanor Smith called Ballerina. Smith was a rather enigmatic figure with a life as interesting as one of her characters. She was a member of the British aristocracy; her father held the title of First Earl of Birkenhead. Yet, Smith enthusiastically embraced the notion that she had gypsy blood. She spent many years traveling across Europe learning gypsy folklore. She was also fascinated with circus life and with the ballet and her interests are clearly reflected in her writing. She published eleven novels and a book of short stories, many of which focus on gypsy themes. A number of Smith's stories were made into films. In addition to The Men in Her Life, Smith's film adaptations include: Red Wagon (1933), based on her first book, the film starred Charles Bickford as a circus performer; Gypsy (1937) another circus drama; The Man in Grey (1943) starring Margaret Lockwood as a governess who has an affair with James Mason; and Caravan (1946) about a writer with amnesia (Stewart Granger) who falls for a gypsy. The Men in Her Life was directed and produced by Gregory Ratoff, who had first directed Loretta Young in Wife, Husband and Friend (1939). Ratoff, who was born in Russia, began his career as a performer with the Moscow Art Theatre. He fled to Paris during the Bolshevik Revolution and began appearing in the Russe Revue. Eventually the show - with Ratoff in the cast - found its way to Broadway, thanks to theatre magnate Lee Shubert. Ratoff eventually began directing and producing theatrical productions before relocating to Hollywood where he made his film debut as an actor in Symphony of Six Million (1932), starring Ricardo Cortez and Irene Dunne. Ratoff's first big screen directing job came with 1936's Sins of Man which he co-directed with Otto Brower. Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) starring Leslie Howard and Ingrid Bergman is probably the most famous film Ratoff directed. He also made several memorable appearances on screen, including his role as Broadway producer Max Fabian opposite Bette Davis in All About Eve (1950). Distributed by Columbia Pictures, The Men in Her Life was the second film from the studio by that title. It was not, however, a remake of the earlier 1931 film; Men in Her Life (1931) was a story of blackmail and murder that starred Charles Bickford. The Men in Her Life (1941) was the first independent production from Ratoff. It would be nominated for one Academy Award – for Best Sound Recording. Producer: Gregory Ratoff Director: Gregory Ratoff Screenplay: Frederick Kohner, Paul Trivers, Michael Wilson, Eleanor Smith (novel) Cinematography: Arthur C. Miller, Harry Stradling, Sr. Film Editing: Francis D. Lyon Art Direction: Nicolai Remisoff Music: David Raksin Cast: Loretta Young (Lina Varsavina), Conrad Veidt (Stanislas Rosing), Dean Jagger (David Gibson), Eugenie Leontovich (Marie), Shepperd Strudwick (Roger Chevis), Otto Kruger (Victor). BW-89m. by Stephanie Thames

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Tonight Belongs to Us and Woman of Desire. Although a March 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item states that George Sklar was to script the picture, the extent of his contribution to the released film has not been determined. An April 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Elizabeth Gallagher was tested for a role in the picture, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to publicity materials contained in the AMPAS production files, Victor Varconi was initially slated to play the role of the theatrical impresario. A May 28, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Harry Stradling took over the film's photography from Arthur Martinelli when Martinelli was recalled to Twentieth-Century Fox to film How Green Was My Valley. The Men in Her Life (which is not a remake of the 1931 Columbia picture of the same title) marked the first independent production of Gregory Ratoff and Harry Goetz. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Recording.