Private Worlds


1h 24m 1935

Film Details

Release Date
Mar 22, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Walter Wanger Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Private Worlds by Phyllis Bottome (Boston, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

At Brentwood Hospital, an insane asylum, doctors Jane Everest and Alex McGregor make great strides in the treatment of mental illness through acts of kindness. Alex, however, is passed over for the job of superintendent of the hospital in favor of French Dr. Charles Monet, who is a misogynist. Monet immediately breaks Jane and Alex's team and demotes Jane to "less exacting work." Monet's sister Claire, who has a mysterious past and lives off her brother, begins a flirtation with Alex. Jane is forced to disagree with Monet's policy when Jerry, a physically dangerous patient, has an attack after a screen is put up around another patient's bed, which Jane had strictly forbidden. As he forcefully tries to restrain Jerry, Monet fractures his wrist, while Jane calmly pacifies Jerry and is unharmed. Following the incident, Jane accuses Monet of having a cold temperment, and he realizes his mistake and forces a resignation from the strict hospital matron who disobeyed Jane's orders. Before she leaves, however, the matron identifies Claire as Claire Campbell, who was tried unsuccessfully for murdering her husband. Monet, the husband's best friend, had been the trial's chief witness. The matron then appeals to Alex, telling him she is being forced out because she knows too much about Claire's past. Jane agrees to let her stay, on condition she follow orders. Alex's wife Sally, meanwhile, is disturbed by Alex's attentions to Claire and tells Jane that she is pregnant and that Alex is no longer himself. Jane believes Alex is seeing Claire as revenge against Monet. When Jane explains the situation to Dr. Arnold, he tells her that she is in love with Monet, but Jane, who as a reminder of her past lover, Michael, keeps a stuffed bunny that he once gave to her, denies it. Sally, meanwhile, has a young patient named Carrie Flint to tea, because both were abused as children, but she is unable to help Carrie. That night, Sally waits at home for Alex during a rainstorm, while he has his last rendezvous with Claire. Sally imagines she hears Carrie calling her and falls down the stairs. Jane, meanwhile, visits Monet to discuss her feelings for him, but speaks only of Claire ruining Sally and Alex's marriage, while Monet blames Jane. During their fight, both are called to the McGregors and find Sally deliriously chanting that she is Carrie Flint. They accompany her to the hospital, where she is admitted to surgery. Alex finally arrives and is at Sally's bedside when she awakens. The next morning, Monet orders Claire to become self-sufficient. When Alex learns that Jane is resigning, he intervenes in order to unite her with Monet. Monet finally tells Jane she has been living in a "ghost world" with a "ghost lover" and confesses his love. Jane drops her stuffed bunny and embraces Monet.

Film Details

Release Date
Mar 22, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Walter Wanger Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Private Worlds by Phyllis Bottome (Boston, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1936

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to Variety, Phyllis Bottome's novel was a best-seller in 1934. This film's foreword reads: "We all create private worlds of make-believe into which we retreat from life's cruelties. The only hope of escape is a true understanding of life's problems and courage to face them bravely." According to a news item in Daily Variety on July 26, 1935, this film was playing in London after being held up by British censors for four months. Claudette Colbert was nominated for a 1935 Academy Award for Best Actress for this film. Both Variety and Motion Picture Herald call the film "a woman's picture," and Motion Picture Herald remarks that the film "reveals a deeper, truer understanding of the devotion and willingness to sacrifice that lies within a woman's heart." The film was one of the first films to portray the subject of institutional treatment for the mentally ill in a serious manner, more than a dozen years before the highly acclaimed 1948 film on the subject, The Snake Pit. Colbert starred in a television version of Private Worlds, which aired on CBS on April 7, 1955.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1935

Released in United States 1935