A Wicked Woman (1934)

71, 74 or 76 mins | Drama | 7 December 1934

Director:

Charles Brabin

Producer:

Harry Rapf

Cinematographer:

Lester White

Editor:

Ben Lewis

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Although reviews claim that Mady Christians, a well-known German stage and screen actress who had worked at Ufa's Berlin studios, made her American screen debut in A Wicked Woman , modern biographical sources note that Christians actually had starred in a 1916 American film, Audrey , under the name Margarete Christians (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0179). Christians moved to the United States in 1933 to escape persecution by the Nazis. Her most celebrated role was as the title character in the 1944 Broadway play I Remember Mama . Shortly before her death in 1951, Christians was blacklisted by the Hollywood community for her reputed involvement with the Communist party.
       A Wicked Woman was screenwriter and actress Zelda Sears's last film. She died on 19 Feb 1935. According to a HR news item, Sears, who occasionally appeared in pictures she scripted, had been reluctant to act in this film. Early pre-production HR news items announced first that William K. Howard was to direct Helen Hayes in the film, and then that Clarence Brown was to direct Hayes and Lee Tracy. None of these directors or actors worked on the production, however. A HR pre-production news item announced that Erskine Caldwell was assigned to write dialogue for the film, but his contribution to the final film has not been determined. HR production charts add Benny Baker and Joe Twerp to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been determined. Although HR news items announced that Christians was to sing "In the ... More Less

Although reviews claim that Mady Christians, a well-known German stage and screen actress who had worked at Ufa's Berlin studios, made her American screen debut in A Wicked Woman , modern biographical sources note that Christians actually had starred in a 1916 American film, Audrey , under the name Margarete Christians (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0179). Christians moved to the United States in 1933 to escape persecution by the Nazis. Her most celebrated role was as the title character in the 1944 Broadway play I Remember Mama . Shortly before her death in 1951, Christians was blacklisted by the Hollywood community for her reputed involvement with the Communist party.
       A Wicked Woman was screenwriter and actress Zelda Sears's last film. She died on 19 Feb 1935. According to a HR news item, Sears, who occasionally appeared in pictures she scripted, had been reluctant to act in this film. Early pre-production HR news items announced first that William K. Howard was to direct Helen Hayes in the film, and then that Clarence Brown was to direct Hayes and Lee Tracy. None of these directors or actors worked on the production, however. A HR pre-production news item announced that Erskine Caldwell was assigned to write dialogue for the film, but his contribution to the final film has not been determined. HR production charts add Benny Baker and Joe Twerp to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been determined. Although HR news items announced that Christians was to sing "In the Hash," a "novelty song" by Burton Lane, as well as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," the only song actually performed in the movie was Lane's "In Louisiana," which was sung by an all-black group. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Nov 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
8 Dec 34
p. 17.
HF
22 Sep 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 33
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 34
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 34
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 35
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
20 Nov 1934.
---
Motion Picture Herald
6 Oct 34
p. 50.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Dec 34
p. 39.
New York Times
1 Jan 34
p. 24.
Variety
18 Dec 34
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITERS
Contr to dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Wicked Woman by Anne Austin (New York, 1933).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"In Louisiana," words and music by Burton Lane.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 December 1934
Production Date:
late September--20 October 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 December 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5160
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
71, 74 or 76
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
452
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When her abusive, rum-running husband Ed storms into their Louisiana bayou shack one night, hotly pursued by the sheriff, pregnant Naomi Trice refuses to allow him to flee with their son Curtis. Determined to take Curtis, Ed knocks Naomi to the floor and tries to force his way to the boy's bed, but is shot and killed by Naomi. After dumping Ed's body in the swamp, Naomi gives birth to a boy, Neddie, whose leg is misshapen because of Ed's abuse. The sheriff, whom Ed had shot while escaping, questions Naomi about her husband, but she refuses to reveal her deed. Later, she makes a pledge to God that if she is allowed to rear all of her children--Curtis, Yancey, Roseanne and Neddie--safely into adulthood, she will give herself up and pay the consequences of her crime. Naomi then moves her family away from the swamp and the still suspicious sheriff, changes her name to Stroud and eventually settles in a small Northern town. Over the next ten years, she relentlessly teaches her children, who, she believes, know nothing of their father's demise, to be strong, hard-working and frugal, while she herself slaves to make ends meet as a seamstress. Naomi's single-minded determination, however, jeopardizes her relationship with the rebellious Roseanne, who is especially resentful of her mother's stern attitudes toward play and leisure. Even as her financial situation greatly improves, Naomi refuses to relax her maternal watchfulness, fearful that if she does, her nearly grown children will fall prey to their weaknesses and suffer the consequences as she did. Curtis' employer, Pat Naylor, the publisher of the local newspaper, however, ... +


When her abusive, rum-running husband Ed storms into their Louisiana bayou shack one night, hotly pursued by the sheriff, pregnant Naomi Trice refuses to allow him to flee with their son Curtis. Determined to take Curtis, Ed knocks Naomi to the floor and tries to force his way to the boy's bed, but is shot and killed by Naomi. After dumping Ed's body in the swamp, Naomi gives birth to a boy, Neddie, whose leg is misshapen because of Ed's abuse. The sheriff, whom Ed had shot while escaping, questions Naomi about her husband, but she refuses to reveal her deed. Later, she makes a pledge to God that if she is allowed to rear all of her children--Curtis, Yancey, Roseanne and Neddie--safely into adulthood, she will give herself up and pay the consequences of her crime. Naomi then moves her family away from the swamp and the still suspicious sheriff, changes her name to Stroud and eventually settles in a small Northern town. Over the next ten years, she relentlessly teaches her children, who, she believes, know nothing of their father's demise, to be strong, hard-working and frugal, while she herself slaves to make ends meet as a seamstress. Naomi's single-minded determination, however, jeopardizes her relationship with the rebellious Roseanne, who is especially resentful of her mother's stern attitudes toward play and leisure. Even as her financial situation greatly improves, Naomi refuses to relax her maternal watchfulness, fearful that if she does, her nearly grown children will fall prey to their weaknesses and suffer the consequences as she did. Curtis' employer, Pat Naylor, the publisher of the local newspaper, however, pursues a romance with Naomi and gently encourages her to let go of her children and enjoy herself. Naomi at first resists Pat's advice, but when she finally realizes that she is deeply in love with him, she agrees to marriage. Before she can announce her engagement, however, she discovers that Roseanne has snuck out of the house to see Bill Renton, a man she disapproves of, and later confronts her about him. Fed up with her mother's domination, Roseanne denounces Naomi and runs off to Bill's apartment. After the womanizing Bill coldly rejects Roseanne, Curtis bursts into the apartment and, while fighting with Bill, falls down a set of stairs. As Curtis fights for his life in a hospital, Roseanne and Naomi tearfully reconcile, and Naomi asks God to spare her child in exchange for her belated confession. After Curtis recovers, Naomi tells Pat and her children that she must return to Louisiana, but withholds the true purpose of her trip. During her trial, Naomi pleads her innocence, but refuses to involve her children, whose testimony the judge believes is crucial to her case. To her surprise, however, Pat and her children burst into the court, and Curtis reveals on the witness stand that he saw his mother kill his father to protect him. Finally free from her past, Naomi marries the devoted Pat. +

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

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