The Life of Vergie Winters (1934)

73 or 82-83 mins | Melodrama | 22 June 1934

Director:

Alfred Santell

Writer:

Jane Murfin

Cinematographer:

Lucien Andriot

Editor:

George Hively

Production Designers:

Van Nest Polglase, Charles Kirk

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Louis Bromfield's short story was republished as "The Life of Vergie Winters" in his Awake and Rehearse (New York, 1931). The working title of the film was Vergie Winters . HR incorrectly spells the title character's name as "Virgie" in reviews and news items. RKO borrowed John Boles from Fox for this production. HR and FD news items add Caryl Lincoln, Dagmar Oakland, Helen Eby-Rock , Edith Fellows and Virginia Kami to the cast, while MPH 's "In the Cutting Room" adds Alan Birmingham as a cast member. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to censorship files in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Joseph I. Breen, Director of Studio Relations of the MPPDA, warned writer Jane Murfin and producers Pandro Berman and William Sistrom in a 27 Mar 1934 letter that the film probably would be denied approval because it tended to "justify adultery." After several "final" scripts were sent to Breen, he gave his approval on 27 Apr 1934. In Jul 1934, The Life of Vergie Winters was included on the Catholic Church's "films to be boycotted" list, which was published in HR . In addition, the film was banned by the censorship board in Chicago, as noted in a FD news item. Modern sources add Jed Prouty ( Reverend ), Mary McLaren ( Nurse ) and Betty Mack ( Della, the maid ) to the ... More Less

Louis Bromfield's short story was republished as "The Life of Vergie Winters" in his Awake and Rehearse (New York, 1931). The working title of the film was Vergie Winters . HR incorrectly spells the title character's name as "Virgie" in reviews and news items. RKO borrowed John Boles from Fox for this production. HR and FD news items add Caryl Lincoln, Dagmar Oakland, Helen Eby-Rock , Edith Fellows and Virginia Kami to the cast, while MPH 's "In the Cutting Room" adds Alan Birmingham as a cast member. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to censorship files in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Joseph I. Breen, Director of Studio Relations of the MPPDA, warned writer Jane Murfin and producers Pandro Berman and William Sistrom in a 27 Mar 1934 letter that the film probably would be denied approval because it tended to "justify adultery." After several "final" scripts were sent to Breen, he gave his approval on 27 Apr 1934. In Jul 1934, The Life of Vergie Winters was included on the Catholic Church's "films to be boycotted" list, which was published in HR . In addition, the film was banned by the censorship board in Chicago, as noted in a FD news item. Modern sources add Jed Prouty ( Reverend ), Mary McLaren ( Nurse ) and Betty Mack ( Della, the maid ) to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 May 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Apr 34
p. 4.
Film Daily
13 Jun 34
p. 6.
Film Daily
6 Jul 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 34
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 34
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 34
p. 5.
International Photographer
1 May 34
p. 16.
Motion Picture Daily
25 May 34
p. 14.
Motion Picture Herald
12 May 34
p. 42.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Jun 34
p. 119.
New York Times
15 Jun 34
p. 26.
Variety
19 Jun 34
p. 27.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Pandro S. Berman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Mus re-rec
PRODUCTION MISC
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "A Scarlet Woman" by Louis Bromfield in McClure's Magazine (Jan 1927).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Vergie Winters
Release Date:
22 June 1934
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 14 June 1934
Production Date:
mid April--3 May 1934
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 June 1934
Copyright Number:
LP4821
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73 or 82-83
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

From her Parkville jail cell, Vergie Winters watches the funeral procession of Senator John Shadwell and remembers her twenty-year past with him: The moment young lawyer John returns to Parkville from an extended honeymoon with his social climbing wife Laura, he visits Vergie, his former lover. After a passionate embrace, John explains to the youthful milliner that he had abandoned their romance because Vergie's father had told him that she was pregnant by laborer Hugo McQueen and would be forced to marry. Vergie then tells John that, to keep her from marrying John, Laura's father had paid her father $10,000 to tell him that devastating lie. Still deeply in love, John and Vergie continue to see each other, but when John starts to campaign for Congress, Preston, a political boss, informs Vergie that, if John is to receive his vital support, she must forego their affair. Although Vergie agrees to Preston's terms, John refuses to end the relationship and spends a long evening with her before the election. After a victorious John moves to Washington, D.C. with Laura, Vergie bears his child under an assumed name. John then adopts the baby, named Joan, whom he claims is the child of a destitute family friend. At the start of World War I, John returns to Parkville and once again resumes his affair with Vergie. When one of John's late night rendezvous is witnessed by a town gossip and reported to Mike Davey, John's only political enemy, Vergie's successful millinery shop is boycotted, and she is shunned by all but the local prostitutes. In addition, Davey hires Preston's son Barry to steal from Preston's ... +


From her Parkville jail cell, Vergie Winters watches the funeral procession of Senator John Shadwell and remembers her twenty-year past with him: The moment young lawyer John returns to Parkville from an extended honeymoon with his social climbing wife Laura, he visits Vergie, his former lover. After a passionate embrace, John explains to the youthful milliner that he had abandoned their romance because Vergie's father had told him that she was pregnant by laborer Hugo McQueen and would be forced to marry. Vergie then tells John that, to keep her from marrying John, Laura's father had paid her father $10,000 to tell him that devastating lie. Still deeply in love, John and Vergie continue to see each other, but when John starts to campaign for Congress, Preston, a political boss, informs Vergie that, if John is to receive his vital support, she must forego their affair. Although Vergie agrees to Preston's terms, John refuses to end the relationship and spends a long evening with her before the election. After a victorious John moves to Washington, D.C. with Laura, Vergie bears his child under an assumed name. John then adopts the baby, named Joan, whom he claims is the child of a destitute family friend. At the start of World War I, John returns to Parkville and once again resumes his affair with Vergie. When one of John's late night rendezvous is witnessed by a town gossip and reported to Mike Davey, John's only political enemy, Vergie's successful millinery shop is boycotted, and she is shunned by all but the local prostitutes. In addition, Davey hires Preston's son Barry to steal from Preston's home safe a page from a hotel register on which Vergie had written her assumed name. As Barry is breaking into his father's safe, however, Preston mistakes him for a burglar and kills him, but tells his butler that a burglar shot his son. Many years later, after John has started a prosperous airline company and has been elected senator, Vergie spends her mornings watching a now grown Joan horseback riding with her fiancé, Ranny Truesdale. Unknown to Vergie, Laura has hired a private detective to spy on her in order to prove that Joan is actually her rival's daughter. Unable to secure her proof, Laura forces John to tell Joan that she is adopted. To John's relief, Joan and Ranny accept the news calmly and proceed with their marriage plans. After the wedding, John informs Laura that he wants a divorce so that he can marry Vergie. Laura, desperate to hang on to her social standing, follows John to Vergie's house and, in a rage, shoots and kills him. Because Vergie is unwilling to name Laura as the murderer, she is convicted of the crime and sent to prison. One year later, Joan and Ranny, having heard Laura's dying confession about the killing, secure a pardon for Vergie and offer her a permanent place in their home. +

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.