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A Lady to Love (1930)

Middle-aged Napa Valley grape-grower Tony posts a marriage proposal to San Francisco waitress Lena enclosing a photo of his handsome younger brother Buck. When she gets there she overlooks ... See full summary »


Victor Sjöström (as Victor Seastrom)


Sidney Howard (play), Sidney Howard (screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Vilma Bánky ... Lena Shultz
Edward G. Robinson ... Tony
Robert Ames ... Buck
Richard Carle ... Postman
Lloyd Ingraham ... Father McKee
Anderson Lawler ... Doctor
Gum Chin Gum Chin ... Ab Gee
Henry Armetta ... Angelo
George Davis ... Giorgio


Middle-aged Napa Valley grape-grower Tony posts a marriage proposal to San Francisco waitress Lena enclosing a photo of his handsome younger brother Buck. When she gets there she overlooks his duplicity and marries him. Then she falls in love with Buck. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hungry for Love!-Starved for love- then Fate held out happiness for her- and snatched it away. (Print Ad- Newberry Observer, ((Newberry, SC)) 11 March 1930)


Drama | Romance






English | Italian

Release Date:

28 February 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bryllupsnatten See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film is based on the Broadway production of "They Knew What They Wanted" by Sidney Howard opened on November 24, 1924 at the Garrick Theater, ran for 192 performances and won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1925. See more »


Version of Great Performances: The Most Happy Fella (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Accent goulash!
6 September 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Edward G. Robinson plays Tony, an Italian-American. And, Buck plays his brother, Buck. So, why does Tony have a super-heavy Italian accent and Buck has none?! I cannot understand this...and audiences, too, must have been baffled by this one! In addition, the leading lady, Vilma Bánky (Lena) puts on a REALLY heavy Italian-ish accent...although she was supposed to have lived in San Francisco for many years. Perhaps it's because this is an early sound picture...but someone should have been paying attention to these details in "A Lady to Love".

Tony wants to get married. After all, he's middle-aged and has a huge vineyard in Napa...but no woman. So, when he sees a nice lady in San Francisco he does what any rational man would do...he doesn't talk to her but instead sends her a letter proposing marriage to her. Because he's not a handsome guy, he includes a photo of his handsomer (at least by comparison) and much younger brother...and she agrees. But she naturally expected Tony to be Buck...and right before the wedding, Tony is horribly injured...his legs are smashed. Yet, inexplicably, she still agrees to marry Tony. Problems develop, naturally, when she finds herself much more attracted to her brother-in-law instead of her new husband.

The film is hindered by Robinson's performance. While I think he was a terrific actor normally, here he plays an Italian with no subtlety...he's loud and makes Chico Marx seem like a thespian by comparison! His performance a decade later as a Scandinavian-American in "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" was subtle and beautiful...but her in "A Lady to Love" he's everything but subtle or beautiful. In fact, ALL the Italian-Americans (except for Buck) are VERY loud...which might be true of Italian families in general...but here they seem to practically SCREAM!! It's also interesting to see that to demonstrate his connection with America and his homeland, he portraits BOTH of the President AND Mussolini on the wall (you can see it behind Lena during the wedding. This was NOT unusual back in the day, as in the 20s and 30s Mussolini was revered by many Italians both at home and abroad.

I could also detect little in the way of greatness in the direction of this film, it was made by the famous Swede Victor Sjöström---who was famous for his silent films as well as starring in Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries". I think this might demonstrate that Sjöström was more of a silent film director (after all, he only directed a hand full of talking films and dozens of silents). He just wasn't at his best with talking pictures and perhaps he didn't recognize the accents as being that overdone (after all, Swedish was his first language). There was also a lot of overacting in addition to the ridiculously heavy accents. The film really would have benefited from closed captions because of all this.

As a result of these factors, this film is very dated and is best for Robinson completists like myself who simply want to see all his films...both great and not so great!

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