Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Wyler|
|Produced by||Samuel Goldwyn
|Written by||Sidney Howard
Adapted from his play based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis
|Music by||Alfred Newman|
|Editing by||Daniel Mandell|
|Studio||Samuel Goldwyn Productions|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||101 minutes|
|Box office||$1.6 million|
Through the title character, it examines the differences between US and European intellect, manners, and morals as his marriage falls apart during a grand voyage through Europe.
Sam Dodsworth (Walter Huston) is the head of Dodsworth Motor Company, an automobile manufacturing firm. His wife Fran (Ruth Chatterton), a shallow and vain woman obsessed with the fear of growing old, convinces her spouse to sell his interest in the company and take her to Europe.
Aboard the luxury cruise to England as well as during a stay in Paris, Fran begins to view herself as a sophisticated world traveler and Sam as boring and unimaginative. Searching for excitement in her life, she begins spending time with other men and becomes infatuated with Arnold Iselin (Paul Lukas). Sam remains in Europe, seeing the sights, but otherwise drifting aimlessly. Fran convinces Sam to return home and allow her to spend the summer in Europe, and he consents. However, he realizes that life in the small town of Zenith has left him behind and feels that Fran is being unfaithful to him while she is alone. He has a detective agency confirm that she is having an affair with Iselin and he returns to Europe to put a stop to it.
Fran begs for forgiveness for disrespecting her husband, and the two decide to work on their marriage. However, it is soon evident that the two have grown apart. Fran eventually informs Sam that she's leaving him for another man, a member of the nobility (Gregory Gaye)and wants a divorce. Now alone in Italy, Sam reunites with Edith Cortright (Mary Astor), a divorcee he first met aboard the Queen Mary en route to Europe, and the couple fall in love.
When Fran's plan to marry the nobleman falls through because of the objections of his mother (Maria Ouspenskaya), she calls off the divorce. Sam rejoins her on a ship to sail back to America. However, Sam realizes his marriage to Fran is over. He gets off the ship at the last moment to rejoin Edith after he realizes just how much he cares for her and how little Fran cares for him.
This was one of two 1936 films directed by William Wyler based on plays. The other was These Three starring Miriam Hopkins which was an adaptation of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour which was modified to conform with the Production Code. The adaptation led David O. Selznick to hire Sidney Howard for the script of Gone With the Wind.
In his review in the New York Times, Frank S. Nugent described it as "admirable" and added, "William Wyler . . . has had the skill to execute it in cinematic terms, and a gifted cast has been able to bring the whole alive to our complete satisfaction . . . [the film] has done more than justice to Mr. Howard's play, converting a necessarily episodic tale . . . into a smooth-flowing narrative of sustained interest, well-defined performance and good talk."
Time said it was "directed with a proper understanding of its values by William Wyler, splendidly cast and brilliantly played."
- Outstanding Production: Samuel Goldwyn Productions
- Best Director: William Wyler
- Best Actor: Walter Huston
- Actress in a Supporting Role: Maria Ouspenskaya
- Best Sound Recording: Thomas T. Moulton
- Best Writing (Screenplay): Sidney Howard
- "WHICH CINEMA FILMS HAVE EARNED THE MOST MONEY SINCE 1914?.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 4 March 1944. p. 3 Supplement: The Argus Weekend magazine. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) Ballot
- Dodsworth at Turner Classic Movies
- David Thomson Have Yoy Seen?, London: Allen Lane, New York: Knopf, 2008, p.230
- New York Times review
- Time review
- Dodsworth at Time All-Time 100 Best Films
- "The 9th Academy Awards (1936) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
- Dodsworth at the Internet Movie Database
- Dodsworth at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Dodsworth at the TCM Movie Database
- Dodsworth at allmovie