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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Anthony Adverse (1936) - Star of the month... Olivia de Havilland

Fredric March and Olivia de Havilland as
Anthony and Angela
Anthony Adverse is the 1935 epic costume drama starring Fredric March, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains, Anita Louise,  Donald Woods, Edmund Gwenn, Gale Sondergaard, Akim Tamiroff, Louis Hayward, Pedro de C√≥rdoba, Ralph Morgan, Henry O'Neill, Steffi Duna and Billy Mauch.

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, the screenplay by Sheridan Gibney is based on the novel of the same name by Hervey Allen.

Two years in the making, Anthony Adverse is an unforgettable story featuring a cast of 5000, including 98 speaking characters (a very high number for the 1930s).

Watch the trailer:

An unforgettable story

'Anthony Adverse' is the story of Anthony Adverse (played by March), the illegitimate child of Maria Bonnyfeather (played by Louise) and Denis Moore. After Maria dies during childbirth, her cruel nobleman husband Marquis Don Luis (played by Rains) leaves the baby at a convent. 

When Anthony turns 10, by coincidence he becomes an apprentice for John Bonnyfeather (played by Gwynn), his real grandfather. After finding of his late daughters possessions with Anthony, and noticing Anthony's resemblance to Maria, John discovers Anthony is his real grandson, but decides to keep this secret from him.  

Louis Hayward as Denis Moore
As Anthony grows up he falls in love with the cook's daughter Angela Giuseppe (played by de Havilland), who he later marries. After the wedding, Anthony leaves for Havana to collect a debt for his grandfather.  Assuming Anthony has deserted her, Angela pursues a career as an opera singer.

Matters are complicated when his grandfather's wife, Faith Paleologus (played by Sondergaard) tries to steal Anthony's inheritance from him after his grandfather's death.

Did you know...

  • This was Gale Sondergaard's first film
  • The book 'Anthony Adverse' was actor Tony Curtis' favourite book - he even named himself Tony from the title character
  • Gale Sondergaard was the first ever recipient of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this film
  • Billy Mauch was cast in the film as young Anthony Adverse, due to his resemblance to Fredric March

Awards and nominations

  • Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress (Gale Sondergaaard)
  • Academy Award winner for Best Cinematography
  • Academy Award winner for Best Film Editing
  • Academy Award winner for Best Musical Scoring
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Assistance Director
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Picture

Closing remarks

The trailer said "The event of the century" - not sure about the event of the century, but definitely the best I've seen from 1936. It is very long, but still a great story.  I am baffled this film is still yet to be released on DVD, considering it was such an achievement, and the supplementary material which already exists, such as the theatrical trailer and short film 'Anthony Adverse: The Making of a Great Motion Picture.'

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