Parnell (1937)

115-119 mins | Biography | 4 June 1937

Director:

John M. Stahl

Producer:

John M. Stahl

Cinematographer:

Karl Freund

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to contemporary news items, M-G-M originally purchased Elsie T. Schauffler's play in early 1936 as a possible vehicle for Brian Aherne. In Jul 1936, Patric Knowles was tested for the role that eventually went to Clark Gable. Actor Hugh Buckler, who died in an automobile accident just prior to the start of production on Parnell , was supposed to play a featured role in the picture. Joan Crawford, who originally was cast in the role of "Katie," left the production just before shooting began because of differences with director John Stahl on the interpretation of her character. At that time she took over Myrna Loy's role in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (see above) and Loy took over Crawford's role in Parnell . A production chart in HR on 7 Dec 1936 listed Tully Marshall in the cast, but his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. While most non-musical M-G-M films of the period were shot on a four or five week schedule, it took over three months to complete filming on Parnell . HR news items indicate that filming stopped for about three weeks in late Feb and early Mar 1937 while addtional script work was done. The film received a number of bad reviews, among them Var 's which called it "dull entertainment," and NYT 's which said that Parnell was "singularly pallid," but it also received some excellent notices, including that in DV which called it a "brilliant trophy" for M-G-M.
       The film was not listed in any "best film" lists or box ... More Less

According to contemporary news items, M-G-M originally purchased Elsie T. Schauffler's play in early 1936 as a possible vehicle for Brian Aherne. In Jul 1936, Patric Knowles was tested for the role that eventually went to Clark Gable. Actor Hugh Buckler, who died in an automobile accident just prior to the start of production on Parnell , was supposed to play a featured role in the picture. Joan Crawford, who originally was cast in the role of "Katie," left the production just before shooting began because of differences with director John Stahl on the interpretation of her character. At that time she took over Myrna Loy's role in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (see above) and Loy took over Crawford's role in Parnell . A production chart in HR on 7 Dec 1936 listed Tully Marshall in the cast, but his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. While most non-musical M-G-M films of the period were shot on a four or five week schedule, it took over three months to complete filming on Parnell . HR news items indicate that filming stopped for about three weeks in late Feb and early Mar 1937 while addtional script work was done. The film received a number of bad reviews, among them Var 's which called it "dull entertainment," and NYT 's which said that Parnell was "singularly pallid," but it also received some excellent notices, including that in DV which called it a "brilliant trophy" for M-G-M.
       The film was not listed in any "best film" lists or box office champions' lists, and is frequently mentioned in modern sources as the biggest "flop" of Gable and Loy's otherwise thriving careers at the time. According to information in the Howard Dietz Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film cost $1,547,000 and grossed $1,576,000, resulting in a net loss for the studio of $637,000. Life magazine featured the picture as its "film of the week" in Jun 1937. The article on the picture mentioned that the many "character extras" used for the film received Ten dollars per day for their work. The pressbook for the film noted a commercial tie-in between it and the General Mills Co., makers of the popular "Bisquick" baking mix, which featured pictures of prominent M-G-M stars, among them Gable, on their boxes. An unidentified note in the AMPAS library file on the film noted that Jack D. Moore was an uncredited set decorator on the film. The story of Charles Stewart Parnell and Katie O'Shea was also the basis for a BBC mini-series, produced in 1990, that was shown in the United States on PBS television from Dec 1991 to Jan 1992. That production, entitled Parnell and the Englishwoman , starred Trevor Eve as Parnell and Francesca Annis as Katie. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12-Jun-37
---
Daily Variety
3 Jun 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Jun 37
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 36
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 36
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 36
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 36
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 37
p. 30.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 37
p. 1.
Motion Picture Daily
4 Jun 37
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Feb 36
p. 55.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Jun 37
p. 78.
New York Times
4 Jun 37
p. 27.
Variety
9 Jun 37
p. 15.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Phyllis Coghlan
Robert E. Homans
Joseph R. Tozer
Keith Kenneth
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John M. Stahl Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Parnell by Elsie T. Schauffler (New York, 11 Nov 1935).
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 June 1937
Production Date:
mid November 1936--3 April 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7206
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
115-119
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3145
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1880, Charles Stewart Parnell returns to his native Ireland after a lengthy visit to the United States. Hailed by his people as "the uncrowned King of Ireland," he is hated by the English for his stand on home rule for Ireland. He is arrested for perdition, but is released after the next election to serve in the House of Commons. While he is in prison, Captain William O'Shea and his patron, The O'Gorman Mahon, go to see him in hopes of securing Parnell's help with O'Shea's political career. When they are both serving in the House, O'Shea convinces his wife Katie, for whom he cares little, to invite Parnell to dinner. Hearing Parnell speak, Katie is immediately impressed by him and after their meeting, he is impressed by her as well. When he is accused of being responsible for the notorious Phoenix Park murders of two English officials some years before, he welcomes an investigation because he is innocent. He then returns to Ireland to calm the people who were starting to turn against his words in favor of action. On his return to England, Parnell is too ill to go to dinner at the O'Sheas', so Katie brings him to her estate in the country. At the inquiry into the murders, a caligrapher named Pigott swears that a seditious letter is written in Parnell's handwriting. Katie finds a letter written by Pigott to Parnell that has the same word misspelled as the phony letter and Pigott is revealed as a forger. Asking to be excused from the court, Pigott then commits suicide. Parnell is then exonerated and ... +


In 1880, Charles Stewart Parnell returns to his native Ireland after a lengthy visit to the United States. Hailed by his people as "the uncrowned King of Ireland," he is hated by the English for his stand on home rule for Ireland. He is arrested for perdition, but is released after the next election to serve in the House of Commons. While he is in prison, Captain William O'Shea and his patron, The O'Gorman Mahon, go to see him in hopes of securing Parnell's help with O'Shea's political career. When they are both serving in the House, O'Shea convinces his wife Katie, for whom he cares little, to invite Parnell to dinner. Hearing Parnell speak, Katie is immediately impressed by him and after their meeting, he is impressed by her as well. When he is accused of being responsible for the notorious Phoenix Park murders of two English officials some years before, he welcomes an investigation because he is innocent. He then returns to Ireland to calm the people who were starting to turn against his words in favor of action. On his return to England, Parnell is too ill to go to dinner at the O'Sheas', so Katie brings him to her estate in the country. At the inquiry into the murders, a caligrapher named Pigott swears that a seditious letter is written in Parnell's handwriting. Katie finds a letter written by Pigott to Parnell that has the same word misspelled as the phony letter and Pigott is revealed as a forger. Asking to be excused from the court, Pigott then commits suicide. Parnell is then exonerated and has the support of Prime Minister Gladstone, who promises Home Rule. Just as Parnell and Katie are about to leave for a dinner party at Gladstone's home, however, they are served with papers that name Parnell a corespondent in O'Shea's divorce case against Katie. Gladstone refuses to speak with Parnell when the scandal breaks and most of the members of Parnell's own faction turn against him. Fearing that his personal scandal will ruin Ireland's political situation, all but a few of his closest advisors seek another leader. During a heated argument with his colleagues, Parnell has a heart attack. Though Campbell, his devoted secretary, wants to summon Katie, Parnell insists on going to her. A short time later, as he faces death, he calls his men to him and offers them advice on the future of their country. After they leave, he dies, with Katie by his side. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.