Berkeley Square (1933)

87 or 90 mins | Fantasy | 3 November 1933

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HISTORY

Leslie Howard co-produced, directed and starred in the 1929 London production of John L. Balderston's play (6 Mar 1929), as well as the Broadway production (4 Nov 1929). Valerie Taylor and Irene Browne also reprised their roles from the Broadway production for this film. After the picture's opening credits, there is a written statement reading: "How many of us have wished that we might escape from the dull reality of the present into the glamor and romance of yesterday? But if we could journey back into the mystery of the past, should we find contentment--or unhappiness?"
       According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Arthur Bryon was originally cast as the American ambassador. Although Margaret Clancy is listed as editor in a final shooting script dated 5 Apr 1933 in the Twentieth Century-Fox Producted Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Harold Schuster is credited as editor in material dated after the film was produced. It is not known if Clancy actually worked on the film.
       Howard was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and the film was named one of the ten best pictures of 1934 in the FD poll of critics. Howard and Helen Chandler performed the play on a Lux Radio Theater broadcast in Dec 1934. On 3 Mar 1949, David Niven starred in a radio broadcast on the story on The Hallmark Playhouse . In 1951, Ray Baker directed Tyrone Power and Ann Blyth in I'll Never Forget You , which was Twentieth Century-Fox's remake of this film. Among the television dramatizations of Berkeley ... More Less

Leslie Howard co-produced, directed and starred in the 1929 London production of John L. Balderston's play (6 Mar 1929), as well as the Broadway production (4 Nov 1929). Valerie Taylor and Irene Browne also reprised their roles from the Broadway production for this film. After the picture's opening credits, there is a written statement reading: "How many of us have wished that we might escape from the dull reality of the present into the glamor and romance of yesterday? But if we could journey back into the mystery of the past, should we find contentment--or unhappiness?"
       According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Arthur Bryon was originally cast as the American ambassador. Although Margaret Clancy is listed as editor in a final shooting script dated 5 Apr 1933 in the Twentieth Century-Fox Producted Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Harold Schuster is credited as editor in material dated after the film was produced. It is not known if Clancy actually worked on the film.
       Howard was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and the film was named one of the ten best pictures of 1934 in the FD poll of critics. Howard and Helen Chandler performed the play on a Lux Radio Theater broadcast in Dec 1934. On 3 Mar 1949, David Niven starred in a radio broadcast on the story on The Hallmark Playhouse . In 1951, Ray Baker directed Tyrone Power and Ann Blyth in I'll Never Forget You , which was Twentieth Century-Fox's remake of this film. Among the television dramatizations of Berkeley Square are: a 20 Mar 1949 version directed by Paul Nickell and starring William Prince and Leueen MacGrath; a 13 Feb 1951 show directed by Donald Davis and starring Richard Greene and Grace Kelly; and a 5 Feb 1959 presentation directed by George Schaefer and starring John Kerr and Edna Best. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
15 Sep 33
p. 11.
HF
6 May 33
p. 8.
HF
27 May 33
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 33
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Jun 33
p. 25.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Jul 33
p. 53.
New York Times
14 Sep 33
p. 11.
Variety
19 Sep 33
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
WRITERS
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
General press agent
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Berkeley Square by John L. Balderston, in collaboration with J. C. Squire (London, 6 Oct 1926), which was suggested by the unfinished novel The Sense of the Past by Henry James (London, 1917).
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 November 1933
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 September 1933
Production Date:
12175
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
26 August 1933
Copyright Number:
LP4175
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87 or 90
Length(in feet):
7,500
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

In 1784, wealthy American Peter Standish arrives in England to court a distant cousin, Kate Pettigrew, whose impoverished family is of the best bloodline. At the Pettigrew home, Kate's brother Tom and mother, Lady Ann, urge her to charm Peter into proposing to her so that they will be able to pay off their debts. Meanwhile, her sister Helen is visited by her unwanted but wealthy suitor, Mr. Throstle. Just as Peter is about to enter the house, the scene dissolves to 1933 London, to the modern day Pettigrew home, where the current Peter Standish, an American architect who is a descendant of the former Peter, is surveying his inheritance. His fiancée, Marjorie Trant, arrives and grows worried at Peter's distracted appearance. He has spent the past three days studying the former Peter's detailed diaries and brooding about the lives of his ancestors. Marjorie persuades Peter to join her for tea with the American ambassador, to whom Peter explains that on this day, 149 years ago, the original Peter arrived at the Pettigrew home. Peter also relates his belief that if he returns to the house at precisely the same time that his ancestor arrived, he will be transported to 1784. The ambassador tells Peter that if he did go back, he would have to be careful not to alter history, after which Peter rushes home. His "theory" comes true, and it is he, rather than the original Peter, who is greeted by Kate. The Pettigrews are dismayed by their strange cousin, who seems to know about things that have not yet happened and who speaks most peculiarly. ... +


In 1784, wealthy American Peter Standish arrives in England to court a distant cousin, Kate Pettigrew, whose impoverished family is of the best bloodline. At the Pettigrew home, Kate's brother Tom and mother, Lady Ann, urge her to charm Peter into proposing to her so that they will be able to pay off their debts. Meanwhile, her sister Helen is visited by her unwanted but wealthy suitor, Mr. Throstle. Just as Peter is about to enter the house, the scene dissolves to 1933 London, to the modern day Pettigrew home, where the current Peter Standish, an American architect who is a descendant of the former Peter, is surveying his inheritance. His fiancée, Marjorie Trant, arrives and grows worried at Peter's distracted appearance. He has spent the past three days studying the former Peter's detailed diaries and brooding about the lives of his ancestors. Marjorie persuades Peter to join her for tea with the American ambassador, to whom Peter explains that on this day, 149 years ago, the original Peter arrived at the Pettigrew home. Peter also relates his belief that if he returns to the house at precisely the same time that his ancestor arrived, he will be transported to 1784. The ambassador tells Peter that if he did go back, he would have to be careful not to alter history, after which Peter rushes home. His "theory" comes true, and it is he, rather than the original Peter, who is greeted by Kate. The Pettigrews are dismayed by their strange cousin, who seems to know about things that have not yet happened and who speaks most peculiarly. Only Helen is more intrigued than frightened by Peter's oddities, and as the days pass, the couple fall in love, even though Peter has already proposed to Kate as he was supposed to do according to the original Peter's diaries. Peter is at first charmed by the simplicity of life in the 1700's, but gradually becomes disgusted by his acquaintances' small-mindedness and lack of hygiene. After several incidents in which Peter's strange ways embarrass them, the Pettigrews, except for Helen, become convinced that a demon is inhabiting Peter's body. Helen, desperate to learn her beloved's secret, looks deep into his eyes and is horrified to see aspects of the future: World War I, gangsters, trains and modern cities. Peter and Helen confess their love for each other, and Peter determines to stay, even though he has changed history. However, the animosity between the other Pettigrews and Peter finally reaches a boiling point, and Peter is convinced by Helen that he must return to his own time. She tells him that she will always be with him and gives him an Egyptian statue of the symbol of eternal life. Peter reluctantly returns to 1933, much to the relief of his maid, Mrs. Barwick, Marjorie and the ambassador, who claim that Peter had been drinking heavily and rambling about being from the eighteenth century. Peter then visits Helen's grave and is shocked to learn that he did change history, for instead of living out her life with Throstle, Helen died in 1787. Peter tells Marjorie that he cannot marry her, and as he grieves for Helen, he is comforted by her voice assuring him that they will be together "in God's time." +

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

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