Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mervyn LeRoy|
|Produced by||Hal B. Wallis
|Screenplay by||Sheridan Gibney
|Based on||Anthony Adverse
by Hervey Allen
Olivia de Havilland
|Music by||Erich Wolfgang Korngold|
|Editing by||Ralph Dawson|
|Studio||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||141 minutes|
Anthony Adverse is a 1936 American drama film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Fredric March and Olivia de Havilland. Based on the novel Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen, with a screenplay by Sheridan Gibney, the film is about an orphan whose debt to the man who raised him threatens to separate him forever from the woman he loves. The film received four Academy Awards.
The plot of the epic costume drama follows the globe-trotting adventures of the title character, the illegitimate offspring of Maria Bonnyfeather, the bride of the cruel and devious middle-aged nobleman Marquis Don Luis (Claude Rains). Anthony (Billy Mauch) is the result of an adulterous liaison between Maria (Anita Louise) and Denis Moore (Louis Hayward). the man she loved before being forced to marry Don Luis. After the marquis learns of his wife's affair, Don Luis takes her away but Denis tracks them down at an inn, where Don Luis treacherously kills him in a sword fight. Months later Maria dies giving birth to her son at a chalet in the Alps. Don Luis leaves the infant at a convent near Leghorn, Italy, where the nuns christen him Anthony, it being March 19, St Anthony's feast day. Don Luis lies to Maria's father, wealthy merchant John Bonnyfeather (Edmund Gwenn), telling him that the infant is also dead. Ten years later, completely by coincidence, the Anthony (Fredric March) is apprenticed to Bonnyfeather, his real grandfather, who discovers his relationship to the boy but keeps it a secret from him. He gives the boy the surname Adverse in acknowledgement of the difficult life he has led.
As an adult, Anthony falls in love with Angela Giuseppe (Olivia de Havilland), the cook's daughter, and the couple wed. Soon after the ceremony, Anthony departs for Havana to save Bonnyfeather's fortune. The note Angela leaves Anthony is blown away and he is unaware that she has gone to another city. Instead, assuming he has abandoned her, she pursues a career as an opera singer. Anthony leaves Cuba for Africa, where he becomes corrupted by his involvement with the slave trade. He is redeemed by his friendship with Brother François (Pedro de Cordoba), and following the friar's crucifixion and death by the natives, he returns to Italy to find Bonnyfeather has died and his housekeeper, Faith Paleologus (Gale Sondergaard) (now married to Don Luis), will inherit the man's estate fortune unless Anthony goes to Paris to claim his inheritance.
In Paris, Anthony is reunited with his friend, prominent banker Vincent Nolte (Donald Woods), whom he saves from bankruptcy by giving him his fortune. Through the intercession of impresario Debrulle (Ralph Morgan), Anthony finds Angela and discovers she bore him a son. She fails to reveal she is Mlle. Georges, a famous opera star and the mistress of Napoleon Bonaparte. When Anthony learns her secret, he departs for America with his son (Scotty Beckett) in search of a better life.
- Fredric March as Anthony Adverse
- Olivia de Havilland as Angela Giuseppe
- Donald Woods as Vincent Nolte
- Anita Louise as Maria
- Edmund Gwenn as John Bonnyfeather
- Claude Rains as Marquis Don Luis
- Gale Sondergaard as Faith Paleologus
- Akim Tamiroff as Carlo Cibo
- Pedro de Cordoba as Brother François
- Louis Hayward as Denis Moore
- Ralph Morgan as Debrulle
- Henry O'Neill as Father Xavier
- Billy Mauch as Anthony Adverse (age 10)
- Joan Woodbury as Half-Caste Dancing Girl
- Marilyn Knowlden as Florence Udney
Awards and nominations
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Gale Sondergaard, winner)
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography (winner)
- Academy Award for Best Film Editing (winner)
- Academy Award for Best Musical Scoring (Leo F. Forbstein, winner)
- Academy Award for Best Assistant Director (nominee)
- Academy Award for Best Art Direction (nominee)
- Academy Award for Best Picture (nominee)
In his review in the New York Times, Frank S. Nugent described the film as "a bulky, rambling and indecisive photoplay which has not merely taken liberties with the letter of the original but with its spirit . . . For all its sprawling length, [the novel] was cohesive and well rounded. Most of its picaresque quality has been lost in the screen version; its philosophy is vague, its characterization blurred and its story so loosely knit and episodic that its telling seems interminable." 
The initial theme of the second movement of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's violin concerto was drawn from the music he composed for this film. English singer Julia Gilbert adopted the name of the film's main character when recording for the London-based él record label in the late 1980s.
Screen legend Tony Curtis (1925–2010), who was born Bernard Schwartz, named himself for the titular character; the novel from which this film was adapted was the actor's favorite. Curtis, who soared to fame with his role in Houdini as the legendary illusionist, was buried with a Stetson hat, an Armani scarf, driving gloves, an iPhone and a copy of his favorite novel, Anthony Adverse.
In the 1934 short comedy What, No Men!, when their plane lands in "Indian Country" and Gus (El Brendel) is told to throw out the anchor, he tosses out a rope attached to a huge book titled Anthony Adverse.
- Walter Connolly Selected to Play Title Role in "Father Brown, Detective": Long Search for Correct Type Ends "Vampire of Prague" Lead Scheduled for Fay Webb Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Oct 1934: 13.
- New York Times review
- Anthony Adverse at Turner Classic Movies
- Jack Benny's "Jell-O Show" http://otr.net/?p=jbny
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Anthony Adverse.|
- Anthony Adverse at the Internet Movie Database
- Anthony Adverse at allmovie
- Anthony Adverse at the TCM Movie Database
- Anthony Adverse at Virtual History