Friday, August 17, 2012

Pre-Code: Christopher Strong(1933).

Christopher Strong (1933). RKO film, directed by Dorothy Arzner. Cast: Katharine Hepburn in her second screen role. The screenplay by Zoe Akins is adapted from the novel by Gilbert Frankau. The musical score for this film is by Max Steiner.

At one of Carrie Valentin's socialite parties a "treasure hunt" challenge, begins and Monica Strong and her married boyfriend, Harry Rawlinson, set out to find and bring back a truly faithful husband and a woman over twenty who has never had a love affair.

Harry, has a minor car accident with Lady Cynthia Darrington, an aviatrix with whom he returns to the party with, hoping to win "treasure hunt" challenge. Monica asks her father, Sir Christopher Strong, a respected politician and a faithful husband to join in on the fun.

After the party, Monica and Harry become fast friends with Cynthia, who is attracted to Christopher. Even though he loves his wife Elaine, Christopher is attracted to the head-strong Cynthia and she, to him. Elaine, begins to suspect something is going on forbids Monica from seeing Harry, but.. allows Cynthia to visit their summer villa in Cannes.

Cynthia and Christopher take a romantic midnight boat ride and confess their love for each other. Elaine, waiting for her husband to return sees them kissing through her bedroom window, is heartbroken.

Later, Monica shows up at Cynthia's apartment,threatening to kill herself because the now divorced Harry, refuses to marry her because of a one-night stand she had in Cannes. After preventing Monica's suicide, Cynthia leaves England for New York to participate in the once in a life time around-the-world flying competition.

Although she wins the contest, Cynthia, is pining away for Christopher and is thrilled when she finds him waiting for her at her hotel. After, they consumate their love, Cynthia agrees to give up flying and devote her life to Christopher.

It isn't long before Cynthia's affair is discovered and Monica, who is now married to Harry and pregnant, thanks her for being a such a good friend .. Cynthia learns that she, is also pregnant, but decides to keep it secret and accepts a dangerous flying challenge, even after she promised she wouldn't. What will she do to save Christopher's marriage and career?

I have been wanting to see this film for a long time. Hepburn, is very convincing as an aviation obsessed with the man she loves. One of the best scenes in the film had Hepburn's character appearing at a costume party dressed in a stunning, glittering Moth costume designed by Howard Greer.


Fun Facts:

Newsreel footage of parades and famous flights were used in the movie.

Katharine Hepburn replaced Ann Harding.

Billie Burke's last dramatic role until "In This Our Life, with Bette Davis."

Colin Clive was 33 when this movie was made, 'Billie Burke' who played his wife was 49, and 'Helen Chandler' who played their daughter was 27.

Please click on The greatkh.blogspot Movie Review: The Strength of Christoper Strong. to read Margaret Perry's awesome movie review.

Colin Clive (20 January 1900 - 25 June 1937), attended Stonyhurst College and subsequently Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where an injured knee disqualified him from military service and contributed to his becoming a stage actor.

On stage, one of his roles was Steve Baker, the white husband of racially mixed Julie LaVerne, in the first London production of Show Boat. This production also featured Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Paul Robeson. Clive first worked with James Whale in the Savoy Theatre production of Journey's End and subsequently joined the British community in Hollywood in the 1930s, repeating his stage role in the 1930 film version of Journey's End, which was directed by Whale.

Although Colin Clive made only three horror films, Whale's two Frankenstein films and Mad Love (1935), he is widely regarded as one of the essential stars of the genre by many film buffs. His portrayal of mad Dr. Frankenstein has proved inspiration and a launching pad for scores of other mad scientist performances in films over the years.

Clive's first screen role, in Journey's End, was incidentally directed by James Whale. Clive played the alcoholic and tormented Captain Stanhope, a character that (much like Clive's other roles) tragically mirrored his personal life.

Clive was also an in-demand leading man for a number of major film actresses of the era, including Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Corinne Griffith and Jean Arthur. He also starred as Edward Rochester in a 1934 adaptation of Jane Eyre opposite Virginia Bruce. He was related to Clive of India and appeared in a featured role in a film biography of his relative in 1935.

From June 1929 until his death, Clive was married to actress Jeanne de Casalis. Although she worked in films and on stage, her greatest success was as a comedienne on radio sitcoms in England, playing the dithering "Mrs. Feather". De Casalis did not accompany her husband to Hollywood.


  1. Great review of a great film. I posted a link to your article on my recent post about the same movie - I hope you'll take a look and give me some feedback. I really like how you used the video clip and how you included so much information about Colin Clive.

  2. Margaret Perry, Thank you, I will run over and take a look. I will also add your article to the bottom of my post..

    N and CF sources :
    Pictures from:
    Doctor Macro.

    Fun Facts from:

    Video is from:

    The TCM video library.


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