The Divorce of Lady X

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The Divorce of Lady X
Film poster
Directed by Tim Whelan
Produced by Alexander Korda
Written by Gilbert Wakefield (play)
Lajos Bíró (adaptation)
Ian Dalrymple (scenario)
Starring Laurence Olivier
Merle Oberon
Binnie Barnes
Ralph Richardson
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lionel Salter
Cinematography Harry Stradling
Edited by L.J.W. Stokvis
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • 15 January 1938 (1938-01-15)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $500,000[1] or £99,000[2]

The Divorce of Lady X is a 1938 British colour romantic comedy film made by London Films; it stars Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and Binnie Barnes. It was directed by Tim Whelan and produced by Alexander Korda from a screenplay by Ian Dalrymple and Arthur Wimperis, adapted by Lajos Bíró from the play Counsel's Opinion by Gilbert Wakefield. The music score was by Miklós Rózsa and Lionel Salter and the cinematography by Harry Stradling.

The film was made in Technicolor and is a remake of the 1933 film Counsel's Opinion, also made by London Films and in which Binnie Barnes appeared in the role played by Merle Oberon.


Leslie Steele (Merle Oberon), a guest at a costume party, is forced to stay overnight in a hotel because of a particularly bad London fog. As there are no rooms available, Steele talks her way into sharing a suite with Everard Logan (Laurence Olivier), a handsome but somewhat stiff lawyer. They spend the night together, quite chastely, but Logan becomes convinced that Leslie must be married. His conviction is confirmed when an old school friend, Lord Mere (Ralph Richardson), arrives and asks Logan to represent him in a divorce case against his wife, Lady Claire (Binnie Barnes), who had also spent the night in the hotel following the party.

As Leslie had discreetly declined to give him her full name, despite having decided to win and marry him, Logan mistakenly believes that she is Lady Claire, making him the mystery co-respondent in his client's divorce. Leslie encourages the mistaken identity- which also charges her with the three previous divorces of Lady Claire- as a confused and love-struck Logan pursues her against his better judgement, and at risk- he believes- of his career. Eventually Lord and Lady Mere, now reconciled, are drawn into the confusion, much to their own amusement. Logan is furious and humiliated when Leslie and Lord and Lady Mere finally reveal the deception to him, and shutters his practice in order to travel abroad. A penitent Leslie pursues him aboard a ship and wins him back as he battles seasickness.



  1. ^
  2. ^ Karol Kulik, Alexander Korda: The Man Who Could Work Miracles, Virgin 1990 p 209

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