7.8/10
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84 user 26 critic

Dodsworth (1936)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 23 September 1936 (USA)
A retired auto manufacturer and his wife take a long-planned European vacation only to find that they want very different things from life.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Sinclair Lewis (novel), Sidney Howard (dramatisation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,877 ( 7,882)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Walter Huston ... Sam Dodsworth
Ruth Chatterton ... Fran Dodsworth
Paul Lukas ... Arnold Iselin
Mary Astor ... Edith Cortright
David Niven ... Captain Lockert
Gregory Gaye ... Kurt Von Obersdorf
Maria Ouspenskaya ... Baroness Von Obersdorf (as Mme. Maria Ouspenskaya)
Odette Myrtil ... Renée de Penable
Spring Byington ... Matey Pearson
Harlan Briggs ... Tubby Pearson
Kathryn Marlowe Kathryn Marlowe ... Emily Dodsworth McKee
John Payne ... Harry McKee (as John Howard Payne)
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Storyline

A bittersweet tale of the increasing estrangement of a retired automobile tycoon and his wife. Increasingly obsessed with maintaining an appearance of youth, she falls in with a crowd of frivolous socialites during their "second honeymoon" European vacation. He, in turn, meets a woman who is everything she is not: self-assured, self-confident, and able to take care of herself. Written by Sonya Roberts <sonya_roberts@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A GREAT STORY - A GREAT PLAY - A Terrific PICTURE See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German | Italian

Release Date:

23 September 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dodsworth See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film was shot entirely in the studio, William Wyler sent a camera crew to London, Paris, Vienna, Montreux and Naples for background shots that would be projected behind the sets to recreate the Dodsworths' European tour. Wyler knew many of the locales from personal travels and gave minutely detailed instructions about the kinds of shots he wanted, but many of them were rejected in the final cut in order to keep the film from feeling like a travelogue. Only those crucial to the story survived. See more »

Goofs

The way Kurt holds his hat when he tries to get Sam to go out with him and Fran. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Secretary: [offscreen] Mr. Dodsworth?
Sam Dodsworth: Yes.
Secretary: The men are ready.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1946 re-release, shown on the Turner Classic Movies channel, lists the end credits with a different order: Kathryn Marlowe is listed after Harlan Briggs, and John Payne is listed last, after Marlowe. See more »

Connections

Featured in Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Valse
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Arranged by Alfred Newman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Three Great Performances
27 November 2005 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Dodsworth is one of the best dramas of the 1930s. Walter Huston stars as Dodsworth, a middle-aged auto tycoon who looks forward to retirement. His wife--Ruth Chatterton--is not quite ready for the rocking chair. They embark on a grad tour of Europe. From the start Chatterton falls for the cosmopolitan airs of Europe and the attentions of the debonair men. More and more she leaves Dodsaworth alone as she flits among the cafe society. By accident he runs into a lonely American widow (Mary Astor) living in Italy. As the husband and wife drift farther apart, he moves closer to Astor. Yes it sounds like soap opera, but the acting is so good and the characters so real you forget the plot mechanics.

Huston has one of his very best film roles as the floundering Dodsworth who needs an anchor. Chatterton is excellent as the foolish wife (this was her last film), and Astor is a wonder as the American widow. The three stars turn in towering performances.

The rest of the cast includes Maria Ouspenskaya and the old countess, Spring Byington and Harlan Briggs as the best friends, John Payne as the son in law, David Niven as a gigolo, Gregory Gaye as the suitor, Paul Lukas as Arnold, and Odette Myrtil as the social leach.

There was talk in the mid-90s that Harrison Ford would star in a new version of Dodsworth but he never followed through because he wanted to continue his "action" roles. Too bad. Ford has certain qualities that would have made him (or Warren Beatty) ideal for the part. But Ford and Beatty are too old now. Oddly only Huston and Ouspenskaya earned Oscar nominations. Hard to see how Chatterton and Astor got bypassed.

This is a great American film.


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