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Craig's Wife (1936)

Passed | | Drama | 25 September 1936 (USA)
A domineering woman marries a wealthy man for his money, and then uses her position to further her own ambitions for money and power.

Director:

Dorothy Arzner

Writers:

Mary C. McCall Jr. (screenplay) (as Mary C. McCall), George Kelly (play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rosalind Russell ... Harriet Craig
John Boles ... Walter Craig
Billie Burke ... Mrs. Frazier
Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Harold
Dorothy Wilson ... Ethel Landreth
Alma Kruger ... Ellen Austen
Thomas Mitchell ... Fergus Passmore
Raymond Walburn ... Billy Birkmire
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Landreth
Robert Allen ... Gene Fredericks
Nydia Westman ... Mazie
Kathleen Burke ... Adelaide Passmore
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Storyline

In Rye, New York, wealthy Walter Craig loves his wife, Harriet Craig. Conversely, Harriet, unaware to Walter, married him solely for independence, she believing that love in the romantic sense only complicating marriage. She focuses all of her energies on ensuring that the house in which they live is maintained to her standards, where everything and everyone has their proper place, leading to the household domestics, who do what they're told regardless, having a sense of contempt for her under their breath. To Harriet, Walter is purely a means to the end of that perfect house. Without Walter having realized it, Harriet, as was her want, has isolated them in their house, his friends who have slowly distanced themselves from him in not wanting to deal with her. Besides the domestics, the only person allowed in the house is Walter's maternal Aunt Ellen, who lives with them in she being his protector against Harriet, unlike Walter's belief that he is taking care of her. Harriet wants the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'obsession de Madame Craig See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Columbia chief Harry Cohn decided to remake this film, he also decided he didn't want to risk his contracted star actresses in the unsympathetic role of Harriet Craig. He arranged with MGM to loan out Rosalind Russell for the role, even though she fought the move. The film turned out to be an important step toward stardom for Russell. See more »

Quotes

Harriet Craig: Nobody can know another human being well enough to trust him.
See more »

Connections

Version of Craig's Wife (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The institution of marriage takes a big hit
3 January 2000 | by Michael-110See all my reviews

Harriet Craig (Rosalind Russell) is a thoroughly hateful character. This is one of those films that gains power from the strength of the villainous antagonist rather than from a relatively weak protagonist.

Harriet is married to the gentle henpecked Walter Craig. Walter never catches on, even though the Craigs have no friends and Walter has become something of a laughing stock in town. Harriet never cared much for Walter, but she sure liked his money which enabled her to have a beautiful home, servants, and a respectable place in the community. Harriet is, therefore, one of those respectable, upwardly mobile prostitutes who uses marriage to barter her good looks for money and position. It's not a pretty picture.

However, Harriet's strategy for maintaining her marriage is deeply flawed. She acts like a manipulative, controlling cold-hearted bitch at all times and ultimately her life implodes.

This film is quite well done and the viewer just can't escape a warm feeling of satisfaction as the malevolent Harriet gets what's coming to her--and more. Although the Harriet character lacks nuance (she's just SO witchy), the story still worked, at least for me. This emotional resonance indicates that the writers, actors, and director Dorothy Arzner did a good job in projecting a wholly believable villain.


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