The Bride Wore Red

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The Bride Wore Red
The-Bride-Wore-Red -1937.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dorothy Arzner
Produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Written by Tess Slesinger
Bradbury Foote
Waldo Salt (uncredited)
Catherine Turney (uncredited)
Based on The Bride from Trieste
by Ferenc Molnár
Starring Joan Crawford
Franchot Tone
Robert Young
Billie Burke
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Edited by Adrienne Fazan
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • October 15, 1937 (1937-10-15)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $960,000[1]
Box office $1,200,000[1]

The Bride Wore Red is a 1937 American comedy film directed by Dorothy Arzner, and starring Joan Crawford, Franchot Tone, Robert Young and Billie Burke. It was based on the unproduced play The Bride from Trieste by Ferenc Molnár.[2] In this "rags to riches" tale, Crawford plays a cabaret singer who poses as an aristocrat. This film was the last of seven films that Crawford and co-star Franchot Tone, then her husband, would make together.


In a Trieste gambling casino, the cynical Count Armalia (George Zucco) tells his snobbish friend Rudi Pal (Robert Young) that the only thing separating aristocrats from peasants is luck. Later, in a waterfront cafe, he decides to prove his point by offering the club's singer, Anni Pavlovitch (Joan Crawford), money and a wardrobe to stay at an upper class resort hotel in the Alps for two weeks and pose as his friend Anne Vivaldi, an aristocrat's daughter. When Anni first arrives, she meets Giulio (Franchot Tone), a philosophical postal clerk who has no desire for wealth. She also meets her old friend Maria (Mary Philips), who is happy being a maid in the hotel and warns Anni not to become the victim of Armalia's joke on his friends.

That evening, Anni attracts the attention of Rudi, who is dining with his fiancée, Maddalena Monti (Lynne Carver), her father, Admiral Monti (Reginald Owen), and Contessa di Meina (Billie Burke). Rudi begins to fall in love with Anni, but she is more attracted to Giulio. Hoping to lure Rudi into proposing to her, Anni extends her stay beyond the two weeks while the Contessa, who has been suspicious of her from the beginning, wires Armalia for information on her. When the reply comes through the post office, Giulio reads it and learns the truth, but on the way to deliver it, he meets Anni, who goes to his cottage and realizes that she loves him, but marriage to Rudi would bring the material wealth she craves. Later, she falls and Giulio loses the telegram going to help her.

On the evening of an annual costume party at which the hotel guests dress as peasants, Anni snubs Giulio when he offers her flowers, but later confesses her love. She still plans to marry Rudi, though, whom she has finally gotten to propose, after refusing to be his mistress. The next day, Rudi tells Maddalena that he is in love with Anni and she steps aside, then suggests that they dine together that evening. While Maria helps Anni pack, she tells her that she no longer has a heart and that the gaudy red beaded dress she plans to wear is what she is really like. During dinner, Giulio delivers a copy of the telegram to the Contessa, who shows it to Rudi and the others. Maddalena is genuinely sympathetic, and Anni tells Rudi that he should marry his childhood sweetheart because she really is a lady. Finally, after being comforted by Maria, Anni realizes that Rudi did the right thing and she leaves the hotel after the manager demands payment of her bill. When she leaves, taking only her peasant costume from the ball, Giulio is happily waiting for her.



Howard Barnes of the New York Herald Tribune wrote, "Joan Crawford has a glamorous field day in The Bride Wore Red.... With a new hair-do and more wide-eyed than ever, she plays at being a slattern, a fine lady, and a peasant with all of the well-known Crawford sorcery. It is not entirely her fault that she always remains herself. [The film] has no dramatic conviction and little of the comic flavor that might have made it amusing though slight. Your enjoyment of it will depend on how much of Miss Crawford you can take at one stretch.... The direction of Dorothy Arzner is always interesting and extraordinarily imaginative, but here she has not been able to give a vapid Cinderella pipe dream more than a handsome pictorial front."


  1. ^ a b The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^

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