What a Widow (1930)

90 mins | Romantic comedy | 13 September 1930

Director:

Allan Dwan

Cinematographer:

George Barnes

Editor:

Viola Lawrence

Production Designer:

Paul Nelson

Production Company:

Gloria Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

Some reviews listed the title as What a Widow!
       A three-day dress rehearsal, in which the cast enacted the entire script, was shot at a cost of $10,000, according to a January 1930 Close Up item. An item in the 11 March 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today claimed that this marked the first time that a studio had used a “working screen model…for purposes of analysis and revision” prior to a shoot.
       The 7 February 1930 Los Angeles Times stated that Gloria Swanson was slated to sing three songs in the film. At the time, Sidney Franklin was attached to direct. Ian Keith was initially cast in the role of “Victor,” but after the filmed rehearsal he was replaced by Lew Cody, as noted in the 20 March 1930 Los Angeles Times. Other supporting cast members named in the 22 February 1930 [Dayton, OH] Dayton Daily News included Buster West, Elizabeth Patterson, Billie Bennett, and Arthur Hoyt. An item in the 26 April 1930 Hollywood Filmograph noted that Meyer Toben worked on the film but did not specify in what capacity.
       Principal photography began on 24 February 1930, as announced in that day’s Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today. Filming took place on the Pathé lot in Culver City, CA, where eleven of the thirteen sound stages were used, according to the 12 April 1930 Motion Picture News. Sets built by art director Paul Nelson, an American architect based in Paris, France, cost an estimated $300,000. Some additional sequences were directed by Dudley Murphy, according to a ...

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Some reviews listed the title as What a Widow!
       A three-day dress rehearsal, in which the cast enacted the entire script, was shot at a cost of $10,000, according to a January 1930 Close Up item. An item in the 11 March 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today claimed that this marked the first time that a studio had used a “working screen model…for purposes of analysis and revision” prior to a shoot.
       The 7 February 1930 Los Angeles Times stated that Gloria Swanson was slated to sing three songs in the film. At the time, Sidney Franklin was attached to direct. Ian Keith was initially cast in the role of “Victor,” but after the filmed rehearsal he was replaced by Lew Cody, as noted in the 20 March 1930 Los Angeles Times. Other supporting cast members named in the 22 February 1930 [Dayton, OH] Dayton Daily News included Buster West, Elizabeth Patterson, Billie Bennett, and Arthur Hoyt. An item in the 26 April 1930 Hollywood Filmograph noted that Meyer Toben worked on the film but did not specify in what capacity.
       Principal photography began on 24 February 1930, as announced in that day’s Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today. Filming took place on the Pathé lot in Culver City, CA, where eleven of the thirteen sound stages were used, according to the 12 April 1930 Motion Picture News. Sets built by art director Paul Nelson, an American architect based in Paris, France, cost an estimated $300,000. Some additional sequences were directed by Dudley Murphy, according to a 21 May 1930 Variety item.
       A news brief in the 9 May 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today stated that theatrical release was scheduled for 5 July 1930. However, the 17 June 1930 Film Daily claimed that Gloria Swanson, whose Gloria Productions, Inc., produced the film, wanted to withhold the picture until fall 1930, due to the financial depression. While a 25 October 1930 release was later announced in the 3 September 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today, the film was ultimately issued by United Artists Corp. on 13 September 1930. The following day’s Los Angeles Times reported that Swanson was “much disturbed” by the release, which she believed to be “premature.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Close Up
Jan 1930
p. 433
Dayton Daily News [Dayton, OH]
22 Feb 1930
p. 11
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
24 Feb 1930
---
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
11 Mar 1930
---
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
1 May 1930
p. 12
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
9 May 1930
p. 4
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
20 Aug 1930
p. 6
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
3 Sep 1930
p. 3
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
10 Sep 1930
p. 2
Film Daily
23 Feb 1930
p. 4
Film Daily
17 Jun 1930
p. 8
Film Daily
5 Oct 1930
---
Hollywood Filmogaph
15 Feb 1930
p. 3
Hollywood Filmograph
1 Mar 1930
p. 10
Hollywood Filmograph
5 Apr 1930
p. 22
Hollywood Filmograph
19 Apr 1930
p. 16
Hollywood Filmograph
26 Apr 1930
p. 9
Los Angeles Times
7 Feb 1930
Section A, p. 8
Los Angeles Times
2 Mar 1930
Section B, p. 23
Los Angeles Times
8 Mar 1930
Section A, p. 7
Los Angeles Times
20 Mar 1930
Section A, p. 10
Los Angeles Times
14 Sep 1930
Section B, p. 10
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1930
p. A7
Motion Picture News
12 Apr 1930
p. 19
New York Times
4 Oct 1930
p. 15
Variety
14 May 1930
p. 4
Variety
21 May 1930
p. 17
Variety
17 Sep 1930
p. 21
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Chief cam
William Dietz
Photog eff
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
Spec orch
SOUND
Rec eng
SOURCES
SONGS
"Love Is Like a Song," "Say 'Oui' Chérie" and "You're the One," words by J. Russell Robinson and George Waggner, music by Vincent Youmans.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
What a Widow!
Release Date:
13 September 1930
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 12 Sep 1930
Production Date:
began 24 Feb 1930
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Gloria Productions, Inc.
4 September 1930
LP1586
Physical Properties:
Sound
Movietone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
8,128
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Tamarind Brooks, widowed for a year, sails for Paris in search of romance and adventure. Aboard ship she meets many socialites--among them, Gerry Morgan, a successful young lawyer; Victor, an alcoholic nightclub dancer; and his partner and wife, Valli, who plans to divorce him in Paris to marry Ivan Bastikoff, a Russian violinist. Although Tam encourages many men, it is Gerry who falls in love and proposes marriage; however, she rejects him. In Paris, Tam leases the modernistic town house of the Marquise de la Fousbouget, who arranges for her to meet tout Paris, including José, a Spanish baritone with whom she has a fling while arranging for Valli's divorce. Tam and Gerry separate as the result of an argument and cause a fight between Bastikoff and José. After a spree with Victor, Tam passes out; and the next morning, assuming they have had sexual intercourse, she agrees to marry him; then, realizing her error, she joins Gerry aboard a Dornier D-OX bound for New York, and they are married as the plane flies over the Statue of Liberty and ...

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Tamarind Brooks, widowed for a year, sails for Paris in search of romance and adventure. Aboard ship she meets many socialites--among them, Gerry Morgan, a successful young lawyer; Victor, an alcoholic nightclub dancer; and his partner and wife, Valli, who plans to divorce him in Paris to marry Ivan Bastikoff, a Russian violinist. Although Tam encourages many men, it is Gerry who falls in love and proposes marriage; however, she rejects him. In Paris, Tam leases the modernistic town house of the Marquise de la Fousbouget, who arranges for her to meet tout Paris, including José, a Spanish baritone with whom she has a fling while arranging for Valli's divorce. Tam and Gerry separate as the result of an argument and cause a fight between Bastikoff and José. After a spree with Victor, Tam passes out; and the next morning, assuming they have had sexual intercourse, she agrees to marry him; then, realizing her error, she joins Gerry aboard a Dornier D-OX bound for New York, and they are married as the plane flies over the Statue of Liberty and Broadway.

Less

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.