Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mervyn LeRoy|
|Produced by||Hal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner
|Screenplay by||Sheridan Gibney
|Based on||Anthony Adverse
by Hervey Allen
Olivia de Havilland
|Music by||Erich Wolfgang Korngold|
|Edited by||Ralph Dawson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Anthony Adverse is a 1936 American epic costume 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.
Among the four Academy Awards that Anthony Adverse won, Gale Sondergaard was awarded the inaugural Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Faith Paleologus.
In 1773, Maria Bonnyfeather (Anita Louise) is the new bride of the cruel and devious middle-aged nobleman Marquis Don Luis (Claude Rains). However, she is pregnant by 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 in northern Italy. Don Luis leaves the infant at a convent near Livorno, Italy, where the nuns christen him Anthony, it being June 13, 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, Anthony (Billy Mauch) 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 (Fredric March) 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
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." Variety described it as "a bit choppy" and "a bit long-winded", but called Fredric March "an ace choice, playing the role to the hilt." Film Daily wrote that it "easily ranks among the leading pictures of the talking screen" and called the acting "flawless". "I don't think Mr. March has done any better piece of work than this," wrote John Mosher in a positive review for the The New Yorker. The film was named one of the National Board of Review's Top Ten pictures of the year and ranked eighth in the Film Daily annual critics' poll. Paul Mavis, reviewing for DVDTalk the 2015 Warner Bros. Archive Collection DVD release, wrote, "More like Anthony Apathetic. No expense was spared on costumes and sets, while the supporting cast is first rate, particularly a lovely young Olivia de Havilland, just raring to go. However, the leaden combination of passionless director Mervyn LeRoy and miscast, bored Fredric March--both further hampered by a busy but hollowed-out script--turns Anthony Adverse into a strangely detached epic melodrama."
- Actress in a Supporting Role: Gale Sondergaard
- Best Cinematography: Gaetano Gaudio
- Best Film Editing: Ralph Dawson
- Best Music (Scoring): Warner Bros. Studio Music Department, Leo Forbstein, head of department (Score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold)
- Outstanding Production: Warner Bros.
- Best Assistant Director: William Cannon
- Best Art Direction: Anton Grot
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.
The novel Anthony Adverse, by Hervey Allan, was included in Life Magazine's list of the 100 outstanding books of 1924-1944.
- Hanson, Patricia King, ed. (1993). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1931-1940. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-520-07908-6.
- 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.
- Chaplin's Big Business: Goldwyn's Leading Lady: A New Romantic Hero Bain, Greville. The Times of India (1861-current) [New Delhi, India] 07 Mar 1936: 9.
- New York Times review
- "Anthony Adverse". Variety (New York: Variety, Inc.): p. 18. September 2, 1936.
- "Reviews of the New Films". Film Daily (New York: Wid's Films and Film Folk, Inc.): p. 12. May 12, 1936.
- Mosher, John (August 29, 1936). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker (New York: F-R Publishing Corp.): p. 54.
- Anthony Adverse at Turner Classic Movies
- "The 9th Academy Awards (1937) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
- Jack Benny's "Jell-O Show" http://otr.net/?p=jbny
- Canby, Henry Seidel. '"The 100 Outstanding Books of 1924 - 1944". Life Magazine, 14 August 1944. Chosen in collaboration with the magazine's editors.
|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
- Hervey Allen Papers, 1831-1965, SC.1952.01, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh