Christopher Strong (1933)

72 or 77 mins | Melodrama | 31 March 1933

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Great Desire and The White Moth . In a modern interview, director Dorothy Arzner states that Gilbert Frankau's novel was based not on the life of Amelia Earhart, as most critics believe, but on an English novel that chronicled the life of aviatrix Amy Lowell. "Lady Cynthia" was Katharine Hepburn's first starring role and the first part she played after her very successful screen debut in RKO's 1932 production Bill of Divorcement (see above entry). According to FD , newsreel footage of parades and famous air flights were included in the film. A Nov 1932 FD news item announced that Ann Harding was to star in the picture. Studio production files indicate that shooting fell thirteen days behind schedule due to bad weather and illness on Hepburn's part.
       Modern sources add the following information about the production: Selznick decided to cast Hepburn in the role of Cynthia after another proposed film, Three Came Unarmed , which was to star Hepburn and Joel McCrea, ran into script difficulties and was shelved. In the modern interview, Arzner claims that after Harding lost the part due to "contractural difficulties," Arzner campaigned for Hepburn. Later, however, Arzner went to Selznick and threatened to quit the film if Hepburn continued to challenge her directorial choices. Modern sources add to the cast Margaret Lindsay ( Girl at party ) and Pat Somerset ( Bobby ), and to the crew Howard Greer ( Costumes ) and Mel Berns ( Makeup ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Great Desire and The White Moth . In a modern interview, director Dorothy Arzner states that Gilbert Frankau's novel was based not on the life of Amelia Earhart, as most critics believe, but on an English novel that chronicled the life of aviatrix Amy Lowell. "Lady Cynthia" was Katharine Hepburn's first starring role and the first part she played after her very successful screen debut in RKO's 1932 production Bill of Divorcement (see above entry). According to FD , newsreel footage of parades and famous air flights were included in the film. A Nov 1932 FD news item announced that Ann Harding was to star in the picture. Studio production files indicate that shooting fell thirteen days behind schedule due to bad weather and illness on Hepburn's part.
       Modern sources add the following information about the production: Selznick decided to cast Hepburn in the role of Cynthia after another proposed film, Three Came Unarmed , which was to star Hepburn and Joel McCrea, ran into script difficulties and was shelved. In the modern interview, Arzner claims that after Harding lost the part due to "contractural difficulties," Arzner campaigned for Hepburn. Later, however, Arzner went to Selznick and threatened to quit the film if Hepburn continued to challenge her directorial choices. Modern sources add to the cast Margaret Lindsay ( Girl at party ) and Pat Somerset ( Bobby ), and to the crew Howard Greer ( Costumes ) and Mel Berns ( Makeup ). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
28 Nov 32
p. 11.
Film Daily
20 Dec 32
p. 6.
Film Daily
11 Feb 33
p. 4.
Film Daily
11 Mar 33
p. 4.
HF
4 Feb 33
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 33
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
18 Mar 33
p. 32, 34
New York Times
10 Mar 33
p. 19.
Variety
14 Mar 33
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Transitions
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
STAND INS
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Christopher Strong: A Romance by Gilbert Frankau (New York, 1932).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The White Moth
The Great Desire
Release Date:
31 March 1933
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 9 March 1933
Production Date:
21 December 1932--3 February 1933
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 March 1933
Copyright Number:
LP3793
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Photophone System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72 or 77
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Determined to win her socialite aunt Carrie Valentin's latest "treasure hunt" challenge, young Monica Strong and her married boyfriend, Harry Rawlinson, set out to find and bring back a truly faithful husband and a woman over twenty who has never had a love affair. While Harry returns to the party with Lady Cynthia Darrington, an aviatrix with whom he had collided on a country highway, Monica fetches her father, Sir Christopher Strong, a respected London politician and model husband. After the party, Monica and Harry become good friends with Cynthia, who also grows close to Christopher. In spite of his love for his wife Elaine, Christopher is drawn romantically toward the single-minded Cynthia, and she, to him. Although she senses her husband's growing passion, Elaine, who has forbidden Monica from seeing Harry, accepts Cynthia's presence at their summer villa in Cannes. During her visit, Cynthia and Christopher take a midnight boat ride and confess their love for each other. At the end of the ride, the couple, whom Elaine sees kissing through her bedroom window, vows to end their relationship and separates. Soon after, however, Monica shows up at Cynthia's apartment, determined to kill herself because Harry, who has divorced his wife, refuses to marry her because of a one-night affair she had in Cannes. After preventing Monica's suicide, Cynthia leaves England for New York to participate in a dangerous around-the-world flying competition. Although she wins the gruelling contest, Cynthia longs for Christopher and is ecstatic when he shows at her New York hotel. There they consumate their love, and Cynthia agrees to give up flying and devote herself ... +


Determined to win her socialite aunt Carrie Valentin's latest "treasure hunt" challenge, young Monica Strong and her married boyfriend, Harry Rawlinson, set out to find and bring back a truly faithful husband and a woman over twenty who has never had a love affair. While Harry returns to the party with Lady Cynthia Darrington, an aviatrix with whom he had collided on a country highway, Monica fetches her father, Sir Christopher Strong, a respected London politician and model husband. After the party, Monica and Harry become good friends with Cynthia, who also grows close to Christopher. In spite of his love for his wife Elaine, Christopher is drawn romantically toward the single-minded Cynthia, and she, to him. Although she senses her husband's growing passion, Elaine, who has forbidden Monica from seeing Harry, accepts Cynthia's presence at their summer villa in Cannes. During her visit, Cynthia and Christopher take a midnight boat ride and confess their love for each other. At the end of the ride, the couple, whom Elaine sees kissing through her bedroom window, vows to end their relationship and separates. Soon after, however, Monica shows up at Cynthia's apartment, determined to kill herself because Harry, who has divorced his wife, refuses to marry her because of a one-night affair she had in Cannes. After preventing Monica's suicide, Cynthia leaves England for New York to participate in a dangerous around-the-world flying competition. Although she wins the gruelling contest, Cynthia longs for Christopher and is ecstatic when he shows at her New York hotel. There they consumate their love, and Cynthia agrees to give up flying and devote herself to Christopher. Eventually, however, Cynthia's affair is discovered and denounced by Monica, who is now married to Harry and is pregnant, grows restless and is about to accept a high-attitude flying challenge when she learns that she, too, is pregnant. Faced with destroying Christopher's marriage and career, Cynthia chooses to remain silent about her pregnancy and, while breaking the altitude record, throws off her oxygen mask and crashes to her death. +

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

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