The Great Lie (1941)

102 or 110 mins | Melodrama | 12 April 1941

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writer:

Lenore Coffee

Cinematographer:

Tony Gaudio

Editor:

Ralph Dawson

Production Designer:

Carl Jules Weyl

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Working titles of the film were Far Horizon , Women of the World and January Heights . According to production notes included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, George Brent was a licensed pilot and did his own takeoffs and landings for the film. Some scenes were filmed on location at the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA and in the Mojave Desert near Victorville. Timony Tennyson and Billy Eugene Ferris portray the baby at different ages. Mary Astor won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. When she accepted her Oscar she thanked Bette Davis and Tchaikovsky.
       Modern sources add the following information: Bette Davis was dissatisfied with the initial story that Lenore Coffee developed from Polan Banks' novel, and it was at her insistence that the part of "Sandra" was built up. Mary Astor was suggested by director Ernst Lubitsch and enthusiastically seconded by Davis. Max Rabinovitch played the piano in Astor's concert scenes, and Norma Boleslavsky's hands were filmed in the close-ups. Brent and Astor reprised their roles in a 2 Mar 1942 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring Loretta Young. Jan Sterling, Catherine McLeod and Glenn Langan starred in a Lux Video Theatre adaptation on 21 Mar ... More Less

Working titles of the film were Far Horizon , Women of the World and January Heights . According to production notes included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, George Brent was a licensed pilot and did his own takeoffs and landings for the film. Some scenes were filmed on location at the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA and in the Mojave Desert near Victorville. Timony Tennyson and Billy Eugene Ferris portray the baby at different ages. Mary Astor won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. When she accepted her Oscar she thanked Bette Davis and Tchaikovsky.
       Modern sources add the following information: Bette Davis was dissatisfied with the initial story that Lenore Coffee developed from Polan Banks' novel, and it was at her insistence that the part of "Sandra" was built up. Mary Astor was suggested by director Ernst Lubitsch and enthusiastically seconded by Davis. Max Rabinovitch played the piano in Astor's concert scenes, and Norma Boleslavsky's hands were filmed in the close-ups. Brent and Astor reprised their roles in a 2 Mar 1942 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring Loretta Young. Jan Sterling, Catherine McLeod and Glenn Langan starred in a Lux Video Theatre adaptation on 21 Mar 1957. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Apr 1941.
---
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1941.
---
Film Daily
4 Apr 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 41
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Apr 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Feb 41
p. 54.
New York Times
12 Apr 41
p. 19.
Variety
9 Apr 41
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Orch arr
Orch arr
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Far Horizon by Polan Banks (New York, 1936).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
Concerto #3 for Piano in E Flat Major by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
January Heights
Far Horizon
Women of the World
Release Date:
12 April 1941
Production Date:
late October--mid December 1940.
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 April 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10380
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
102 or 110
Length(in feet):
9,678
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Shortly after beautiful, imperious, concert pianist Sandra Kovak and aviator Pete Van Allen impulsively marry, Pete learns from his lawyer that because Sandra's divorce is not yet final, their marriage is not legal. Now realizing that he does not love Sandra, Pete flies to Maryland to visit his longtime sweetheart, Maggie Patterson. Maggie loves Pete deeply, but worried about his drinking, she had earlier turned down his proposal. Pete tries to tell Maggie about the new development, but she is too hurt to listen and he flies back to Sandra in New York. Out of a sense of obligation, Pete proposes again to Sandra, and she accepts, but informs him that she will be performing in Philadelphia on the day that her divorce becomes final. After waiting until midnight for Sandra to return to New York and marry him, Pete feels he has fulfilled his duty to her and flies to Maryland to marry Maggie. Five days later, Pete is summoned to Washington, D.C. to discuss a job, and Maggie waits for him in New York. There she learns that Sandra is expecting a baby and intends to use her pregnancy to get Pete back. Pete does not return to New York, however, but leaves immediately for a mapping flight over the Brazilian jungle. When his plane is reported missing and a search party fails to find him, Maggie begs Sandra to have Pete's child and allow her to raise it. In return, Maggie will insure Sandra's financial security. The two women go into seclusion in the Arizona desert to await the birth of the baby. Afterward, Sandra ... +


Shortly after beautiful, imperious, concert pianist Sandra Kovak and aviator Pete Van Allen impulsively marry, Pete learns from his lawyer that because Sandra's divorce is not yet final, their marriage is not legal. Now realizing that he does not love Sandra, Pete flies to Maryland to visit his longtime sweetheart, Maggie Patterson. Maggie loves Pete deeply, but worried about his drinking, she had earlier turned down his proposal. Pete tries to tell Maggie about the new development, but she is too hurt to listen and he flies back to Sandra in New York. Out of a sense of obligation, Pete proposes again to Sandra, and she accepts, but informs him that she will be performing in Philadelphia on the day that her divorce becomes final. After waiting until midnight for Sandra to return to New York and marry him, Pete feels he has fulfilled his duty to her and flies to Maryland to marry Maggie. Five days later, Pete is summoned to Washington, D.C. to discuss a job, and Maggie waits for him in New York. There she learns that Sandra is expecting a baby and intends to use her pregnancy to get Pete back. Pete does not return to New York, however, but leaves immediately for a mapping flight over the Brazilian jungle. When his plane is reported missing and a search party fails to find him, Maggie begs Sandra to have Pete's child and allow her to raise it. In return, Maggie will insure Sandra's financial security. The two women go into seclusion in the Arizona desert to await the birth of the baby. Afterward, Sandra continues her career and Maggie returns home with Pete, Jr., whom she presents as her own child. Sometime later, Pete is found alive and is delighted to learn about his son. Maggie, however, does not tell him who the child's mother really is. Now that Pete has come back, Sandra renews her attempt to use Pete, Jr. to woo Pete, but when she tells Maggie that Pete only stays married to her because of the baby, Maggie angrily discloses the truth to Pete. When he responds that Sandra can take the baby if she insists, but that he will remain with Maggie, Sandra chooses to depart, saying that she will leave Pete, Jr. with his mother. +

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

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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.