When a Man Loves


1h 52m 1927
When a Man Loves

Brief Synopsis

In this silent film, a French adventurer fights to save a young innocent forced into a life of prostitution.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Release Date
Aug 21, 1927
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 3 Feb 1927
Production Company
Warner Brothers Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost (1731).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono (Vitaphone) (musical score and sound effects)
Color
Black and White
Film Length
10,049ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

Chevalier Fabien des Grieux, who has forsworn the world for the church, falls passionately in love with young Manon Lescaut when he encounters her en route to a convent with her brother André. The lustful Comte Guillot de Morfontaine offers André a tempting sum for Manon, and learning of their bargain, Fabien takes her to Paris, where they spend an idyllic week in a garret. André finds her, persuades her to leave Fabien, and tries to force her into an alliance with Morfontaine--then rescues Manon from the advances of a brutal apache. Fabien, crushed to believe that Manon has become Morfontaine's mistress, is about to take his vows but is deterred by her love for him. King Louis sees Manon in Richelieu's drawing room and wins her. The rejected Morfontaine orders her arrest and deportation, but he is killed by Fabien, who joins Manon on a convict ship bound for America. After inciting the convicts to mutiny, he escapes with her in a small boat.

Videos

Movie Clip

When A Man Loves (1927) - Temptations Of The Flesh Introduction of leading man John Barrymore, meeting Manon (Dolores Costello), en route to life in a convent, in the hit Warner Brothers treatment of Manon Lescaut, the 1731 novel by the Abbe Prevost, restored by UCLA and the George Eastman House, When A Man Loves, 1927.
When A Man Loves (1927) - Too Frail To Please Manon (Dolores Costello), having escaped from her brother (Warner Oland), who’s trying to sell her into prostitution, searches for her lover Fabien (John Barrymore), who’s been tricked into believing she left him, winding up in the same Paris tavern, in Warner Brothers’ When A Man Loves, 1927.
When A Man Loves (1927) - Please Trust Me As A Friend Fabien (John Barrymore), entranced by the beauty of Manon (Dolores Costello), abandons his pursuit of the priesthood and rescues her from her brother (Warner Oland), who’s just sold her into prostitution, in 18th century France, in When A Man Loves, 1927, adapted from Manon Lescaut.
When A Man Loves (1927) - Two Innocents Having met that day and escaped, her from being sold into de facto prostitution and him from enrollment in seminary, Manon (Dolores Costello) and Fabien (John Barrymore) arrive in Paris ca. 1730, learning about one another, in Warner Brothers’ When A Man Loves, 1927.
When A Man Loves (1927) - When We Are Rich Impoverished after escaping to 1730’s Paris, unmarried Fabien (John Barrymore) and Manon (Dolores Costello) happily pretend they can raise the rent, when her evil brother (Warner Oland) appears, looking to deliver her to a lecherous nobleman, in When A Man Loves, 1927.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Release Date
Aug 21, 1927
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 3 Feb 1927
Production Company
Warner Brothers Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost (1731).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono (Vitaphone) (musical score and sound effects)
Color
Black and White
Film Length
10,049ft (10 reels)

Articles

When a Man Loves (1927) - When a Man Loves


Synopsis: In eighteenth century France, the innocent young Manon Lescaut, who is planning to enter a convent, remains unaware that her dissolute card-sharp brother Andre has sold her to the Comte de Morfontaine. The Chevalier Fabien des Grieux, a young seminary student, overhears the conversation and steals Manon away to Paris. The couple lives in poverty until Manon's brother finds her and blackmails her into leaving de Grieux for Morfontaine. When the heartbroken de Grieux hears word of Manon's life with the old Morfontaine in his gambling establishment and house of ill repute, he pays a visit to see the truth for himself, eventually sparking a fateful confrontation between himself, Morfontaine, and even King Louis XV.

When a Man Loves (1927) was the third installment of John Barrymore's major three-picture contract with Warner Brothers. Fresh from his controversial, but largely well-reviewed stage production of Hamlet, he starred in Warner's film adaptation of Beau Brummel (1924) before his three big pictures with the studio: a Hollywoodized version of Moby Dick (1926) entitled The Sea Beast (1926), Don Juan (1926) and, lastly, When a Man Loves. He discovered the 20 year-old Pittsburgh-born actress Dolores Costello while reviewing the screen tests for The Sea Beast, was immediately attracted to her, and the couple later married. While her two John Barrymore vehicles (The Sea Beast and When a Man Loves) were not her first major roles, they did help propel her to stardom.

The source material for When a Man Loves was The Story of Chevalier des Greiux and Manon Lescaut, the 1731 novel by the Abbe Antoine Francois Prevost. Its melodramatic storyline makes it well-suited for opera, and it, in fact, has been adapted no less than four times: by Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber (1856), Jules Massenet (1884), Giacomo Puccini (1893), and by Hans Werner Henze in Boulevard Solitude (1952), a provocative contemporary working complete with prostitutes and drug addicts. The novel was initially banned in France, though it was widely circulated in pirated editions and later published officially in a somewhat expurgated version. The second part of the novel, it should be noted, is set in New Orleans and the wilds of Louisiana; When a Man Loves, which is really better appreciated as a free treatment of Prevost's story than an adaptation per se, ends just at the point of arrival to the New World, giving the story a more optimistic flavor. But what the film may lack in literal fidelity to the novel it more than amply compensates with a vivid cast (who can forget Warner Oland as the dissolute brother?) and lavish production design.

The print being broadcast on TCM was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the George Eastman House and includes its original Vitaphone score. The first commercially viable synchronized sound process, Vitaphone linked the film projector to a large phonograph disc containing the soundtrack. It had obvious technical limitations in terms of maintaining synchronization with the projector throughout a film's running time--skipping records were not infrequent--but its recorded sound had superior fidelity compared to early sound-on-film processes, and its amplification system worked well for large auditoriums. The similarly lavish Barrymore vehicle Don Juan (1926) was the first feature film to use the Vitaphone process, though in that film--as with When a Man Loves--it was used not to add synchronized dialogue but rather to provide an economical and standardized form of orchestral accompaniment and selected sound effects. As one can hear in this restored version of When a Man Loves, it reproduced music surprisingly well. Only with The Jazz Singer (1927), also directed by industry veteran Alan Crosland, did Warner Brothers begin to use the Vitaphone process to synchronize spoken dialogue in a feature film.

Director: Alan Crosland
Screenplay: Bess Meredyth
Photography: Byron Haskin
Editor: Harold McCord
Music: Henry Hadley
Principal Cast: John Barrymore (Chevalier Fabien des Grieux); Dolores Costello (Manon Lescaut); Warner Oland (Andre Lescaut); Sam de Grasse (Comte Guillot de Morfontaine); Holmes Herbert (Jean Tiberge); Stuart Holmes (King Louis XV); Bertram Grassby (Duc de Richelieu); Tom Santschi (Boat Captain). BW-100m.

by James Steffen
When A Man Loves (1927) - When A Man Loves

When a Man Loves (1927) - When a Man Loves

Synopsis: In eighteenth century France, the innocent young Manon Lescaut, who is planning to enter a convent, remains unaware that her dissolute card-sharp brother Andre has sold her to the Comte de Morfontaine. The Chevalier Fabien des Grieux, a young seminary student, overhears the conversation and steals Manon away to Paris. The couple lives in poverty until Manon's brother finds her and blackmails her into leaving de Grieux for Morfontaine. When the heartbroken de Grieux hears word of Manon's life with the old Morfontaine in his gambling establishment and house of ill repute, he pays a visit to see the truth for himself, eventually sparking a fateful confrontation between himself, Morfontaine, and even King Louis XV. When a Man Loves (1927) was the third installment of John Barrymore's major three-picture contract with Warner Brothers. Fresh from his controversial, but largely well-reviewed stage production of Hamlet, he starred in Warner's film adaptation of Beau Brummel (1924) before his three big pictures with the studio: a Hollywoodized version of Moby Dick (1926) entitled The Sea Beast (1926), Don Juan (1926) and, lastly, When a Man Loves. He discovered the 20 year-old Pittsburgh-born actress Dolores Costello while reviewing the screen tests for The Sea Beast, was immediately attracted to her, and the couple later married. While her two John Barrymore vehicles (The Sea Beast and When a Man Loves) were not her first major roles, they did help propel her to stardom. The source material for When a Man Loves was The Story of Chevalier des Greiux and Manon Lescaut, the 1731 novel by the Abbe Antoine Francois Prevost. Its melodramatic storyline makes it well-suited for opera, and it, in fact, has been adapted no less than four times: by Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber (1856), Jules Massenet (1884), Giacomo Puccini (1893), and by Hans Werner Henze in Boulevard Solitude (1952), a provocative contemporary working complete with prostitutes and drug addicts. The novel was initially banned in France, though it was widely circulated in pirated editions and later published officially in a somewhat expurgated version. The second part of the novel, it should be noted, is set in New Orleans and the wilds of Louisiana; When a Man Loves, which is really better appreciated as a free treatment of Prevost's story than an adaptation per se, ends just at the point of arrival to the New World, giving the story a more optimistic flavor. But what the film may lack in literal fidelity to the novel it more than amply compensates with a vivid cast (who can forget Warner Oland as the dissolute brother?) and lavish production design. The print being broadcast on TCM was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the George Eastman House and includes its original Vitaphone score. The first commercially viable synchronized sound process, Vitaphone linked the film projector to a large phonograph disc containing the soundtrack. It had obvious technical limitations in terms of maintaining synchronization with the projector throughout a film's running time--skipping records were not infrequent--but its recorded sound had superior fidelity compared to early sound-on-film processes, and its amplification system worked well for large auditoriums. The similarly lavish Barrymore vehicle Don Juan (1926) was the first feature film to use the Vitaphone process, though in that film--as with When a Man Loves--it was used not to add synchronized dialogue but rather to provide an economical and standardized form of orchestral accompaniment and selected sound effects. As one can hear in this restored version of When a Man Loves, it reproduced music surprisingly well. Only with The Jazz Singer (1927), also directed by industry veteran Alan Crosland, did Warner Brothers begin to use the Vitaphone process to synchronize spoken dialogue in a feature film. Director: Alan Crosland Screenplay: Bess Meredyth Photography: Byron Haskin Editor: Harold McCord Music: Henry Hadley Principal Cast: John Barrymore (Chevalier Fabien des Grieux); Dolores Costello (Manon Lescaut); Warner Oland (Andre Lescaut); Sam de Grasse (Comte Guillot de Morfontaine); Holmes Herbert (Jean Tiberge); Stuart Holmes (King Louis XV); Bertram Grassby (Duc de Richelieu); Tom Santschi (Boat Captain). BW-100m. by James Steffen

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