A House Divided (1931)

68 or 70 mins | Melodrama | 5 December 1931

Director:

William Wyler

Producer:

Carl Laemmle Jr.

Cinematographer:

Charles Stumar

Editor:

Ted J. Kent

Production Designer:

John Hughes

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's pre-release titles were Heart and Hand and The Woman Breaker . According to Universal records, the studio purchased the rights to Edens' story in 1928 and a continuity was prepared by Paul Schofield. It is not known if any of his material was later used in the film. Some scenes in the film were shot on location at Laguna Beach, CA. According to modern sources, Walter Brennan had a part as a ... More Less

The film's pre-release titles were Heart and Hand and The Woman Breaker . According to Universal records, the studio purchased the rights to Edens' story in 1928 and a continuity was prepared by Paul Schofield. It is not known if any of his material was later used in the film. Some scenes in the film were shot on location at Laguna Beach, CA. According to modern sources, Walter Brennan had a part as a musician. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
18 Sep 31
p. 8.
Film Daily
10 Jan 32
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 31
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
28 Nov 31
p. 44.
New York Times
9 Jan 32
p. 21.
New York Times
17 Jan 32
p. 4.
Variety
12 Jan 32
p. 28.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Ed supv
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Heart and Hand" by Olive Edens in McCall's Magazine (Jun 1927).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Woman Breaker
Heart and Hand
Release Date:
5 December 1931
Production Date:
completed 18 September 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 November 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2673
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68 or 70
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

After the death of his wife, Seth Law decides to advertise for a mail order wife to replace her. He forces his son Matt to write a love letter in response to an ad placed by Ada Peterson, promising that if they marry, Matt will be free to leave the small fishing village where they live. When the woman arrives, however, she is not middle-aged Ada, but a much younger woman, Ruth Evans. Matt meets Ruth at the train, and she naturally assumes that he is her intended husband. She is disappointed when she learns that it is Seth who is looking for a wife. Seth, in turn, is displeased that Ruth is so young but, after eating the dinner she cooks that evening, agrees to marry her. She is reluctant, but Matt convinces her to remain. After a quick marriage, Ruth has second thoughts and begs Seth to let her return home. When he refuses, Matt tries to prevent his father from sleeping with his wife. In the ensuing fistfight, Seth is seriously injured. After the doctor tells Seth that he will never walk again, Matt and Ruth agree to stay and take care of him. Seth is determined that, no matter what the doctor says, he will walk again. During a storm, when Matt leaves to check the boats, Seth tells Ruth that he intends to have sons with her who will be like him, not like Matt. That night Ruth sneaks into Matt's room, and they plan to go away together. Seth crawls up the stairs and, when he finds them together, threatens to kill his ... +


After the death of his wife, Seth Law decides to advertise for a mail order wife to replace her. He forces his son Matt to write a love letter in response to an ad placed by Ada Peterson, promising that if they marry, Matt will be free to leave the small fishing village where they live. When the woman arrives, however, she is not middle-aged Ada, but a much younger woman, Ruth Evans. Matt meets Ruth at the train, and she naturally assumes that he is her intended husband. She is disappointed when she learns that it is Seth who is looking for a wife. Seth, in turn, is displeased that Ruth is so young but, after eating the dinner she cooks that evening, agrees to marry her. She is reluctant, but Matt convinces her to remain. After a quick marriage, Ruth has second thoughts and begs Seth to let her return home. When he refuses, Matt tries to prevent his father from sleeping with his wife. In the ensuing fistfight, Seth is seriously injured. After the doctor tells Seth that he will never walk again, Matt and Ruth agree to stay and take care of him. Seth is determined that, no matter what the doctor says, he will walk again. During a storm, when Matt leaves to check the boats, Seth tells Ruth that he intends to have sons with her who will be like him, not like Matt. That night Ruth sneaks into Matt's room, and they plan to go away together. Seth crawls up the stairs and, when he finds them together, threatens to kill his son. Frightened by their quarrel, Ruth runs away and hides on the boat. When the boat breaks away in the storm, Matt runs for help, but Seth decides to rescue Ruth himself. Because he is crippled, Seth ties himself to his boat, and when it capsizes, he drowns. In the meantime, Matt has rescued Ruth, and thus they are free to live together. +

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

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