Lady Windermere's Fan (1925 film)

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Lady Windermere's Fan
US poster
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Produced by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Julien Josephson (adaptation)
Maude Fulton (titles) and
Eric Locke (titles)
Based on Lady Windermere's Fan
by Oscar Wilde
Music by Yati Durant
Cinematography Charles Van Enger
Edited by Ernst Lubitsch
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Release date
  • December 26, 1925 (1925-12-26)
Running time
120 minutes (Denmark)
89 minutes (2004 National Film Preservation Foundation print)
Country United States
Language English
Lady Windermere's Fan

Lady Windermere's Fan is a 1925 American silent film directed by Ernst Lubitsch. It is based on Oscar Wilde's 1893 play Lady Windermere's Fan which was first played in America that year by Julia Arthur as Lady Windermere and Maurice Barrymore as Lord Darlington.[1][2] The film is being preserved by several archives.[3] It was transferred onto 16mm film by Associated Artists Productions[4] in the 1950s and shown on television.


Lord and Lady Windermere are well-known London socialites. While Lady Windermere is busy discouraging Lord Darlington's flirting, her husband receives a letter from a certain Mrs. Erlynne asking to meet him. Woman of great beauty but of bad reputation, she reveals that she is none other than the mother of Lady Windermere, who believes she had died at her birth and reveres her memory. Fearing that his wife might be shocked by this revelation, Lord Windermere agrees to give Mrs. Erlynne enough money so that she can live in style and remain silent.

When Mrs. Erlynne makes her first social appearance at a horse race she is the subject of the attention of men, notably Lord Lorton, an old bachelor, and of the gossips of women. As Lord Windermere tries to defend Mrs. Erlynne, his wife suspects him of having an affair with her. She soon finds out that he is giving her large sums of money. Her indignation increases when she sees that Mrs. Erlynne has come the ball given for her birthday, despite her formal interdiction to her husband to invite her, but she does not want to make a public scandal. Later on, she thinks that she sees Mrs. Erlynne's flirting in the garden with her husband. In fact, she is talking to Lord Lorton who is asking her to marry him. She writes a note to her husband saying that she's leaving him for Lord Darlington and flees to the latter's house. Mrs. Erlynne finds the note and destroys it.

At Lord Darlington's house, she tries to prevent Lady Windermere from committing such a madness, telling her that she had ruined her life with a similar behaviour twenty years before. Suddenly, Lord Darlington arrives, accompanied by Lord Windermere and all the men of the evening. The two women take refuge in another room, but Lady Windermere forgets her fan on a sofa. Lord Windermere demands that Lord Darlington explains the presence of his wife's fan in his house. Mrs Erlynne comes out at that moment, excusing herself for having taken it by mistake. All the men and notably Lord Lorton are convinced that she is Darlington's mistress. Meanwhile Lady Windermere is able to leave the house unseen.

The following day at breakfast, Mrs Erlynne comes to take leave from the Windermeres as she is going back to live in France. Lady Windermere wants to tell her husband what really happened the day before but Mrs Erlynne dissuades her, adding that this was the best thing she had ever done in her life. On her way out, Mrs Erlynne meets Lord Lorton and tells him that she was shocked by his behaviour the evening before and that she no longer wants to marry him. He looks flabbergasted but follows her in her car.[5]


May McAvoy & Ronald Colman

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pictorial History of the American Theatre 1860-1970 by Daniel Blum this edit. c.1970
  2. ^ Lady Windermere's Fan at database
  3. ^ The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog:Lady Windermere's Fan
  4. ^ 1957 MOVIES FROM AAP Warner Bros Features & Cartoons SALES BOOK DIRECTED AT TV
  5. ^ Synopsis and review illustrated by extracts of the film: "A cinema history". Retrieved 6 March 2017. 

External links[edit]