Primrose Path (1940)

93 mins | Melodrama | 22 March 1940

Director:

Gregory La Cava

Producer:

Gregory La Cava

Cinematographer:

Joseph August

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

According to materials contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in Jan 1938, independent producer Walter Wanger corresponded with Joseph I. Breen about producing a film based on the Victoria Lincoln novel to star Joan Bennett. Although the Lincoln novel built its story around the mother, both the play and RKO film focused on the daughter. The picture was banned in Detroit and engendered protest because of its prostitute character. To satisfy the Hays Office, the mother was made to suffer an unhappy death. Marjorie Rambeau was nominated for an Academy Award in the Actress, Supporting Player ... More Less

According to materials contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in Jan 1938, independent producer Walter Wanger corresponded with Joseph I. Breen about producing a film based on the Victoria Lincoln novel to star Joan Bennett. Although the Lincoln novel built its story around the mother, both the play and RKO film focused on the daughter. The picture was banned in Detroit and engendered protest because of its prostitute character. To satisfy the Hays Office, the mother was made to suffer an unhappy death. Marjorie Rambeau was nominated for an Academy Award in the Actress, Supporting Player category. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Mar 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 Mar 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
28 Mar 40
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Feb 40
p. 37.
Motion Picture Herald
16 Mar 40
p. 36.
New York Times
23 Mar 40
p. 16.
New York Times
24 Mar 40
p. 5.
New York Times
31 Mar 40
p. 5.
Variety
20 Mar 40
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Gregory La Cava Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Primrose Path by Robert H. Buckner and Walter Hart (Baltimore, 26 Dec 1938), and inspired by the novel February Hill by Victoria Lincoln (New York, 1934).
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 March 1940
Production Date:
began early November 1939
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 March 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9647
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5902
SYNOPSIS

Ellie May Adams, the daughter of a prostitute mother and a drunken, weak-willed father, struggles desperately to retain her respectability amid the squalor of Primrose Hill. One day, while digging for clams on the beach, she meets hash slinger Ed Wallace and falls in love. That night, Ellie May seeks Ed out and tells him that her family has thrown her out of the house because of her love for him. When she threatens suicide, Ed agrees to marry her. Ed is unaware of the unsavory reputation of his wife's family until she takes him home and is confronted by her viperish grandmother, unruly sister, prostitute mother and drunken father. The shock is so great that Ed leaves Ellie May, and when she begs for understanding, he accuses her of lying to him. Dejectedly returning home, Ellie May finds that her father has accidentally shot her mother. After her mother's death, Ellie May is saddled with the burden of supporting her family, and just when it seems as if she will be forced to tread the same path as her mother, her mother's ex-lover reunites Ellie May with Ed, who then takes over the responsibility of the ... +


Ellie May Adams, the daughter of a prostitute mother and a drunken, weak-willed father, struggles desperately to retain her respectability amid the squalor of Primrose Hill. One day, while digging for clams on the beach, she meets hash slinger Ed Wallace and falls in love. That night, Ellie May seeks Ed out and tells him that her family has thrown her out of the house because of her love for him. When she threatens suicide, Ed agrees to marry her. Ed is unaware of the unsavory reputation of his wife's family until she takes him home and is confronted by her viperish grandmother, unruly sister, prostitute mother and drunken father. The shock is so great that Ed leaves Ellie May, and when she begs for understanding, he accuses her of lying to him. Dejectedly returning home, Ellie May finds that her father has accidentally shot her mother. After her mother's death, Ellie May is saddled with the burden of supporting her family, and just when it seems as if she will be forced to tread the same path as her mother, her mother's ex-lover reunites Ellie May with Ed, who then takes over the responsibility of the family. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.