Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Lady of Scandal (1930).

The Lady of Scandal(1930). Directed by Sidney Franklin based on a play by Frederick Lonsdale and starring Ruth Chatterton, Basil Rathbone and Ralph Forbes.

The story begins when actress Elsie, goes to meet her fiance John's family, who are all not all that thrilled about meeting her. In a funny twist, her father, arrives also objecting to the marriage. He thinks Elsie is very talented actress, and doesn't want her to settle .He suggests they delayed for marriage six months, by which time hopefully, John will have grown bored with her.

To everyone's surprise, it is not long before she charms the family and a secret affair develops between Elsie and Edward, her fiance cousin.  It was fun to watch Herbert Bunston do a solo dance to the song, "Lulu Comes Home." Meanwhile, Edward and Elsie  fall in love, but she is also aware he has been carrying on a long-term affair with a married Parisian woman, who he had said earlier he would marry if he could. He promises to give up the woman, but things change as they hear on the radio that the husband of that woman has died. Now, Elsie  feels that woman will always be between them, but Edward promises to give her up. Elsie, puts through a call to her in Paris and hands the phone to Edward, will he go through with their plan?

There is plenty of witty dialogue, funny/touching scenes throughout this film . The beginning was very hilarious as Chatterton, while performing on stage, dances herself over to her fiance and hands him a letter from his family. Saying.."Your family is horrid!"

It's also, interesting to see Basil Rathbone in his pre-Sherlock Holmes days. He was Margaret Mitchell's idea of Rhett Butler and you can kind of see see why in this film.

Ruth Chatterton, started off as a chorus girl by the age of eighteen and had become a star of the stage. Her greatest success onstage came in 1914 when she starred in the play Daddy Long Legs. In 1924, she married British actor Ralph Forbes, who starred opposite her that same year in the musical, The Magnolia Lady. Chatterton moved to Hollywood with Forbes in 1928, and with the help of Emil Jannings, was cast in her first film role in Sins of the Fathers. That same year she was signed to a contract by Paramount Pictures. This was followed by roles in The Doctor's Secret (1929), The Dummy (1929), and MGM's Madame X (1929). She received her first nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the latter film. The following year she received a second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role in Sarah and Son (1930), portraying an impoverished housewife who rises to fame and fortune as an Opera singer. Her stage experience enhanced many of her film performances when the "silents" changed over to "talkies". She later co-starred in the film Dodsworth (1936), which is widely thought of as her finest film. Due to her age and the studios' focus on younger, more bankable stars, she moved to England and continued to star in films there. Chatterton's final film was A Royal Divorce (1938). She came out of retirement in the 1950s, and appeared on U.S. television in several plays, including a TV adaptation of Dodsworth on CBS's Prudential Playhouse, alongside Mary Astor and Walter Huston. Her last television appearance was as Gertrude in a 1953 adaptation of Hamlet, with Maurice Evans in the title role, on the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Having left acting, she began a successful writing career, producing several novels. She was also one of the few aviatrices at the time, and was good friends with Amelia Earhart. Chatterton crisscrossed the U.S. several times solo. She served as sponsor of the Sportsman Pilot Mixed Air Derby and the annual Ruth Chatterton Air Derby during the 1930s; she also opened the National Air Races in Los Angeles in 1936. She taught British film and stage actor Brian Aherne to fly, an experience he described at length in his autobiography. Chatterton's first husband was actor Ralph Forbes; they were married from 1924 to 1932. The day after her divorce from Forbes was finalized, Chatterton married her frequent film co-star and fellow Warners player, Irish-born actor George Brent. They divorced in 1934. Chatterton's third and last husband was Barry Thomson, to whom she was married from 1942 to his death in 1960. She had no children. A much-younger co-star Bette Davis said that Chatterton was "very kind" to her at Warners when Davis was starting out on her career. Pauline Kael referred to her as "the great Ruth Chatterton".


  1. Oh, wow, that is a fantastic photo you've included. I have never seen Basil Rathbone that young. He is quite dapper looking!!

  2. Never seen this one, but Chatterton had a habit of playing flighty characters. I, too, can see why Mitchell would have seen Rhett Butler in Basil Rathbone.

  3. Patti, I found the beautiful picture on E-BAY.

    KimWilson, I saw this film for the first time this morning on TCM. Sorry that you missed it.

  4. I love Ruth Chatterton and Ive seen a couple of her films, including Female (1933) and Frisco Jenny (1933). Ill have to check this one out!

  5. Emma, being a Ruth Chatterton fan, I think that you will really enjoy watching it. I have not yet seen, Frisco Jenny (1933).


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