6.5/10
1,499
38 user 14 critic

A Bill of Divorcement (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 30 September 1932 (USA)
A man, Hilary Fairfield returns home after fifteen years in a mental asylum. However, he finds things are not the way they were when he left.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Howard Estabrook (screen play), Harry Wagstaff Gribble (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Barrymore ... Hilary Fairfield
Billie Burke ... Margaret
David Manners ... Kit
Katharine Hepburn ... Sidney
Paul Cavanagh ... Gray
Henry Stephenson ... Dr. Alliot
Gayle Evers Gayle Evers ... Bassett
Elizabeth Patterson ... Hester
Edit

Storyline

After spending fifteen years in an asylum, Hilary Fairfield escapes from the institution after regaining his sanity. He finds that things at home are different than when he left them. His wife has divorced him and is already planning her next marriage, and his daughter has grown up throughout the years and is planning to marry as well. Written by Pablo Garcia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only a few times in his career has S.L. Rothafel, "Roxy" stepped out into public print to praise a picture. Each year there is one "greatest" (Print Ad- New York Evening Post, ((New York NY)) 30 September 1932)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original play opened in London on 14 March 1921. See more »

Goofs

Toward the end, when Sidney convinces her mother to leave, she reaches for her mother's coat, and someone off-camera hands it to her. The hands of the crew member are clearly visible. Correction: The maid hands Sidney her mother's coat. You can see the maid's apron when she steps into view. Several scenes earlier the maid told Gray she had the mother's bags packed. See more »

Quotes

Sydney Fairfield: No, just go... as though you were only going into the next room.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Sydney Fairfield is the name of Katharine Hepburn's character in the film, but ner name is spelled Sidney in the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Katharine Hepburn (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Good King Wenceslas
(uncredited)
Traditional Christmas carol
Modern lyrics by John M. Neale (as J.M. Neale) (1853) and Thomas Helmore (uncredited)
Sung by carollers on Christmas Eve
See more »

User Reviews

 
A Fragile Psyche
7 May 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Though this is the second screen version of Clemence Dane's play A Bill of Divorcement, it's the version that we all remember because it is the film that gave us the director/actress combination of George Cukor and Katharine Hepburn who would then rack up nine more joint ventures in almost fifty years.

Sad to say the play is an old fashioned melodrama that dates pretty badly and it's not really good screen material with the nearly the whole short 70 minute film taking place on only one set. Neither Cukor or Hepburn have quite mastered the screen technique. But the talent and charm were there and it's no wonder Kate had the lengthy career she did.

Though he enters the film when it's nearly a third over, when John Barrymore comes in, he dominates the proceedings. He's a shell shocked World War I veteran returning home after years in an asylum. By that time his wife Billie Burke is in love with another man, Paul Cavanaugh, and is ready to serve Barrymore with divorce papers, hence the title.

Barrymore seems cured, but it doesn't take much to set his fragile psyche out of kilter. What are both Burke and Hepburn to do as it comes out that insanity is prevalent in Barrymore's family tree?

Though the story is very dated, the power of the performances will keep you interested. Quite a lot is packed into a classic film that has an unusually short running time.


17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 38 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Bill of Divorcement See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed