East Lynne


1h 17m 1931

Film Details

Also Known As
Frank Lloyd's East Lynne
Release Date
Mar 1, 1931
Premiere Information
New York opening: 20 Feb 1931
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Pasadena, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Suggested by the novel East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood (London, 1861).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,188 or 9,548ft (10 or 11 reels)

Synopsis

The wedding of Lady Isabel Dane is greeted with opposition by some members of London society, who view her husband, Robert Carlyle, as only a country solicitor with money. At the reception, Isabel vows to her guests that she will bring Mayfair to East Lynne, her husband's country home. At East Lynne, Isabel finds that Robert's sister Cornelia is insistent on retaining their mannered mode of living, which contrasts greatly with Isabel's past life of gaiety and liveliness. Three years later, Isabel's only moments of joy are spent with her son William, although Cornelia attempts to rule even that relationship. Robert, in pursuit of a parliamentary career, has allowed Cornelia's ways to dictate their life. After he returns from London with Captain Francis Levison, a diplomat who once loved Isabel, Robert announces he cannot go to the upcoming county ball because of a case in Chancery. Levison offers to escort Isabel and Cornelia, but the night of the ball, Cornelia reports that she has a violent headache and cannot go. Defying her sister-in-law's sense of propriety, Isabel alone accompanies Levison, and as she dances and flirts with the men, she briefly recaptures the life she left in Mayfair. When they return, Levison kisses her passionately, and she runs to her room. Cornelia then sees Levison enter Isabel's room. The next day, after Levison has left and Robert has returned, Cornelia tells Robert what occurred. Although Isabel states that she told Levison that she loves her husband, son and home, Robert does not believe her. Isabel then castigates him for allowing Cornelia to destroy the romance in their lives and for never attempting to get to know her. When she threatens to leave with William, Robert counters that William is staying, and he tells her to never return. Although Isabel breaks down and pleads to be allowed to remain there, Robert files for a divorce. In London, all of Isabel's friends snub her. She travels to France and discovers that Levison has boarded the same boat to be with her. They go to Vienna, where he is kicked out of the diplomatic service for fomenting public opinion in favor of France in their dispute with Prussia. Later he says he took bribes from the French so he could buy Isabel expensive presents. Isabel and Levison leave for Paris at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. As pestilence, starvation and death overtake Paris, Isabel decides to try to return to England so she can see her son again. Levison, who is not allowed to enter England, wants her to stay and complains that her extravagances were the cause of his ruin. As she runs from him and he grabs her, a bomb hits their building, killing him. Isabel is told that she will soon be blind. She manages to return to England, and one night, after Robert and his new wife Barbara have left for the evening, Joyce, the servant, allows Isabel to stay in William's room while he sleeps. By the morning, Isabel can no longer see. She tells Joyce that she is glad that William's face was the last thing she ever saw. When Robert finds her there, he fires Joyce. Isabel explodes in anger and leaves. Ashamed, Robert pursues her, but Isabel falls over a cliff and dies. Robert goes to her and grieves as he holds her hand. He then carries her inside.

Film Details

Also Known As
Frank Lloyd's East Lynne
Release Date
Mar 1, 1931
Premiere Information
New York opening: 20 Feb 1931
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Pasadena, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Suggested by the novel East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood (London, 1861).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,188 or 9,548ft (10 or 11 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Picture

1931

Quotes

Trivia

A copy of this film survives in the UCLA Film Archive.

Notes

The title card for this film reads "Frank Lloyd's East Lynne." According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Lenore Coffee wrote an outline of a treatment for the film in September 1929; it is not known whether any of her material was included in the final film. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also at UCLA, Frank Lloyd was loaned by First National, Clive Brook by Paramount and Conrad Nagel by M-G-M. The legal records also reveal that some scenes were shot at Busch Gardens in Pasadena, CA. Film Daily credits Jack Dennis as editor, while the screen credits and other reviews list Margaret Clancey. According to Variety, Ann Harding's name was above the title on all press material, but beneath it in the screen credits. Variety called Cecilia Loftus "one of the greatest mimics the stage has ever known," and noted that all of the cast were from the stage. New York Times noted that liberties were taken with the story of the original novel, such as having Isabel in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture for 1930/31. Fox produced dubbed versions in Spanish and Italian, entitled Vidas truncadas and La ripudiata, respectively. According to a Motion Picture Herald ad, this film was distributed by Fox as an additional "Super-Special"; it was not included in the original listings of forty-eight films announced for the year and was to be sold on individual separate contracts. Many films have been produced which were based on the play, including a 1912 Thanhouser production; a five-reel 1913 British production; a 1915 three-reel Biograph Co. production; a 1916 Fox film directed by Bertram Bracken and starring Theda Bara (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.1137); a 1921 film made by Hugo Ballin Productions, directed by Hugo Ballin and starring Mabel Ballin; a 1925 Fox film directed by Emmett Flynn and starring Alma Rubens; a 1930 Liberty Productions film entitled Ex-Flame, directed by Victor Halperin and starring Marian Nixon (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1497, F2.1498 and F2.1573); and a 1922 Australian film.