Wonder of Women (1929)

95 mins | Drama | 20 July 1929

Director:

Clarence Brown

Cinematographer:

Merritt Gerstad

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The 27 Apr 1928 FD listed The Wonder of Women, based on Hermann Sudermann's 1927 novel, Stephen Tromholt’s Wife, as one of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.’s (M-G-M) forthcoming releases. According to the 28 Apr 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, M-G-M had acquired the screen rights to the novel, whose original German title was Die Frau des Steffen Tromholt, and planned to release the picture as Wonder of Women. Dorothy Farnum was noted to be writing the adaptation, and Victor Seastrom was named as the director. However, neither remained with the project. The 27 Jan 1929 FD reported that Clarence Brown would direct the picture, and was, at that time, returning from New York City where he had gone to screen test several stage actors for Wonder of Women. Bess Meredyth was currently writing the adaptation, according to the news item.
       The 30 Jan 1930 Var reported that the picture would be Brown’s “first talker,” and that a lead actor had not been found in New York, so Lewis Stone was being considered for the role. Fred Fisher was hired to write several songs for the film, as stated in the 7 Feb 1929 FD. As reported in the 23 Feb 1929 Motion Picture News, Fisher would pen four melodies for the Fox Movietone production.
       On 21 Feb 1929, FD announced that stage actress Peggy Wood would play the female lead, marking her film debut. However, Wood had first appeared in 1919’s Almost a Husband (see entry).
       Principal photography began on 4 Mar 1929 ... More Less

The 27 Apr 1928 FD listed The Wonder of Women, based on Hermann Sudermann's 1927 novel, Stephen Tromholt’s Wife, as one of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.’s (M-G-M) forthcoming releases. According to the 28 Apr 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, M-G-M had acquired the screen rights to the novel, whose original German title was Die Frau des Steffen Tromholt, and planned to release the picture as Wonder of Women. Dorothy Farnum was noted to be writing the adaptation, and Victor Seastrom was named as the director. However, neither remained with the project. The 27 Jan 1929 FD reported that Clarence Brown would direct the picture, and was, at that time, returning from New York City where he had gone to screen test several stage actors for Wonder of Women. Bess Meredyth was currently writing the adaptation, according to the news item.
       The 30 Jan 1930 Var reported that the picture would be Brown’s “first talker,” and that a lead actor had not been found in New York, so Lewis Stone was being considered for the role. Fred Fisher was hired to write several songs for the film, as stated in the 7 Feb 1929 FD. As reported in the 23 Feb 1929 Motion Picture News, Fisher would pen four melodies for the Fox Movietone production.
       On 21 Feb 1929, FD announced that stage actress Peggy Wood would play the female lead, marking her film debut. However, Wood had first appeared in 1919’s Almost a Husband (see entry).
       Principal photography began on 4 Mar 1929 at the M-G-M Studios in Culver City, CA, according to the 9 Mar 1929 Exhibitors Herald-World. The first scene filmed was that of a moving train that travelled 200 miles back and forth along a specially constructed track on the M-G-M lot. Both sound and silent versions of Wonder of Women were expected to be produced, with the silent scenes the first to be photographed.
       The 9 Mar 1929 and 23 Mar 1929 issues of Motion Picture News added Ethlyne Clair, Mary Doran, Bert Sprotte, William Orlamond, Mary Mersch, and Mack Swain to the cast. The 31 Mar 1929 FD announced that Leila Hyams would play a feature role. Three-year-old Dietrich Haupt and his father Ullrich Haupt performed as the young and adult versions of “Kurt.”
       The 13 May 1929 FD stated that Martin Broones wrote the music and Dorothy Parker wrote the lyrics to “Liebeslied,” which would appear in Women of Wonder. However, a song of that name did not appear on the soundtrack, and Parker did not receive an onscreen credit, although Broones co-wrote two songs that played in the picture, “Ich Liebe Dich,” with Fred Fisher, and “At Close Of Day,” with Ray Klages and Jesse Greer.
       The Jun 1929 Photoplay reported that a “tin ocean” had been created on set by the picture’s art department, but the invention was kept secret so as not to be duplicated.
       According to the 25 Jun 1929 FD, principal photography had completed, and the film was currently being edited.
       The sound version of Wonder of Women opened at the Capitol Theatre in New York City on 20 Jul 1929, as noted in the 24 Jul 1929 Var review. Noting that the picture was forty-percent dialogue, the review praised Peggy Wood’s performance, but complained that the dialogue weakened some of the climactic scenes by reiterating what was already expressed in the subtitles.
       FD wrote separate reviews for the sound version, on 28 Jul 1929, and the silent version, on 22 Sep 1929. The publication complained of the poor dialogue, and deemed the story “outdated,” with the viewers' sympathies torn between the husband and wife throughout the picture.
       Bess Meredyth received an Academy Award nomination in the “Writing” category for Wonder of Women in 1930. However, the Oscar was awarded to Hans Kraely for The Patriot, directed by Ernst Lubitsch (1928, see entry). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World
28 Apr 1928
p. 87.
Exhibitors Herald-World
9 Mar 1929
p. 40.
Exhibitors Herald-World
20 Apr 1929
p. 50.
Film Daily
27 Apr 1928
p. 6.
Film Daily
27 Jan 1929
p. 2.
Film Daily
7 Feb 1929
p. 9.
Film Daily
21 Feb 1929
p. 14.
Film Daily
31 Mar 1929
p. 30.
Film Daily
19 Apr 1929
p. 9.
Film Daily
13 May 1929
p. 4.
Film Daily
25 Jun 1929
p. 6.
Film Daily
28 Jul 1929
p. 8.
Film Daily
22 Sep 1929
p. 12.
Motion Picture News
23 Feb 1929
p. 588.
Motion Picture News
9 Mar 1929
p. 798.
Motion Picture News
23 Mar 1929
p. 927.
New York Times
22 Jul 1929
p. 17.
Photoplay
Jun 1929
p. 115.
Variety
30 Jan 1929
p. 5.
Variety
24 Jul 1929
p. 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Ward
SOUND
Rec eng
Rec eng
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Die Frau des Steffen Tromholt by Hermann Sudermann (Stuttgart, 1927).
SONGS
"Ich Liebe Dich," words and music by Fred Fisher and Martin Broones
"At Close Of Day," words and music by Ray Klages, Jesse Greer and Martin Broones.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Wonder of Women
Release Date:
20 July 1929
Premiere Information:
New York opening at the Capitol Theatre: 20 July 1929
Production Date:
began 4 March 1929
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 September 1929
Copyright Number:
LP658
Physical Properties:
Silent with sound sequences
Talking seq by Movietone
Black and White
Sound, also silent
Also si; 8,796 ft.
Duration(in mins):
95
Length(in feet):
8,347
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Stephen Tromholt is a German concert pianist whose artistic temperament leads him around and about the creation of his "masterpiece." With a constant eye for the feminine flare, he meets Brigitte (a widow with three children and a strong sense of responsibility) on a train, wines and dines her, and has her engaged to be married that very evening as the train whizzes by the concert stop for the night. As they set up a home by the sea, Stephen is often struck by the wanderlust and though unfaithful on several occasions, most ardently with his former lover, Karen, he eventually comes to realize, at his wife's deathbed, the true measure and worth of her unflagging ... +


Stephen Tromholt is a German concert pianist whose artistic temperament leads him around and about the creation of his "masterpiece." With a constant eye for the feminine flare, he meets Brigitte (a widow with three children and a strong sense of responsibility) on a train, wines and dines her, and has her engaged to be married that very evening as the train whizzes by the concert stop for the night. As they set up a home by the sea, Stephen is often struck by the wanderlust and though unfaithful on several occasions, most ardently with his former lover, Karen, he eventually comes to realize, at his wife's deathbed, the true measure and worth of her unflagging devotion. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

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.