Stronger Than Desire


1h 18m 1939
Stronger Than Desire

Brief Synopsis

A lawyer's wife keeps mum as her husband defends an innocent woman for the crime she committed.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Jun 30, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Evelyn Prentice by W. E. Woodward (New York, 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Elizabeth Flagg, the neglected wife of brilliant defense attorney Tyler Flagg, falls victim to the fatal charms of the unscrupulous Michael McLain after her husband becomes involved with client Barbara Winter, a society girl. Elizabeth discovers her husband's apparent infidelity when Barbara's watch, which she had left in Tyler's train compartment when she attempted to join him on his business trip to Boston, is mailed to the Flagg residence. Although Tyler tells Barbara that he is happily married and wishes that she leave him alone, Barbara, desperate for his attention, threatens suicide when he returns her watch. Soon after Tyler announces that he is taking his family on a European vacation, McLain begins to blackmail Elizabeth with the threat of exposing the love letters she had written him. Elizabeth goes to his apartment, and in a struggle to regain possession of the letters, a gun is fired and Michael falls to the ground. Believing that she has killed him, Elizabeth flees. The police, however, find Michael's wife Eva holding the gun, and she is charged with murder. Guilt-ridden, Elizabeth convinces Tyler to defend the penniless Eva. A full scale investigation ensues, and when Mrs. D'Amoro, the apartment manager who witnessed the murderer leaving the building, arrives at the Flaggs to give a description of the perpetrator, she is struck by how much Elizabeth resembles the murderer, but remains silent about it. After finding McLain's secret hiding place, in which are hidden pictures taken of his past blackmail victims, Tyler finds a roll of film in McLain's camera and sends it to be developed, hoping that the pictures will provide him with a lead. Using the defense that the murder was committed by an unknown assailant, Tyler tries to ferret out the identification of the real murderer, never suspecting that Elizabeth may be the killer. At the trial, Elizabeth is unable to keep her secret and rises to confess her guilt, but through Tyler's careful cross-examination of Eva, and through the evidence of an enlarged photograph, in which Eva's reflection appears in the dead man's eye, Tyler proves Elizabeth's innocence. Despite Eva's admission that she murdered her abusive husband when Elizabeth left, the jury decides that the murder was committed in self-defense, and she is absolved of the crime. After the trial, life at the Flaggs returns to normal, and the family resumes making plans for a European vacation.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Jun 30, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Evelyn Prentice by W. E. Woodward (New York, 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

Stronger Than Desire


Ann Dvorak had been quietly rebelling against the breakneck schedule dictated by her bosses at Warner Brothers for years, going so far as to take them to court twice in four years for underhanded salary and contract dealings, but when she married director Leslie Fenton she'd be damned if their draconian view of her labor was going to prevent her from taking a long honeymoon overseas. Revenge was swift: Warner Brothers loaned her out for lesser pictures at RKO, but luckily she landed a part in Stronger Than Desire because her new husband was directing this remake of Evelyn Prentice (1934). It's a trifle ironic that marital privilege brought Dvorak back to a role about adulterous blackmail. When Elizabeth Flagg (Dvorak) discovers her husband Tyler (Walter Pidgeon) is cheating on her, she gets embroiled in a web of murder, cover-ups, and her own infidelities. Dvorak's own marriage to Fenton regrettably didn't last, but she's unforgettable here as a woman whose brittle edge of desire leads her into all kinds of trouble.

By Violet LeVoit
Stronger Than Desire

Stronger Than Desire

Ann Dvorak had been quietly rebelling against the breakneck schedule dictated by her bosses at Warner Brothers for years, going so far as to take them to court twice in four years for underhanded salary and contract dealings, but when she married director Leslie Fenton she'd be damned if their draconian view of her labor was going to prevent her from taking a long honeymoon overseas. Revenge was swift: Warner Brothers loaned her out for lesser pictures at RKO, but luckily she landed a part in Stronger Than Desire because her new husband was directing this remake of Evelyn Prentice (1934). It's a trifle ironic that marital privilege brought Dvorak back to a role about adulterous blackmail. When Elizabeth Flagg (Dvorak) discovers her husband Tyler (Walter Pidgeon) is cheating on her, she gets embroiled in a web of murder, cover-ups, and her own infidelities. Dvorak's own marriage to Fenton regrettably didn't last, but she's unforgettable here as a woman whose brittle edge of desire leads her into all kinds of trouble. By Violet LeVoit

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Actors Virginia Bruce and Walter Pidgeon starred in an earlier M-G-M film about the legal profession entitled Society Lawyer. According to a Los Angeles Times pre-production news item, Robert Montgomery was originally slated for a leading part. Actress Ann Dvorak was married to director Fenton at the time of production. Another film based on W. E. Woodward's novel was M-G-M's 1934 film Evelyn Prentice.