Possessed (1931)

74 mins | Melodrama | 21 November 1931

Producer:

Harry Rapf

Cinematographer:

Oliver T. Marsh

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Mirage and The Mirage . Director Clarence Brown's only onscreen credit reads: "Clarence Brown's Production Possessed . According to a 7 Jul 1931 news items in HR , Charlotte Greenwood was signed to play a role in the film, however, she did not appear in the picture and was not mentioned in any source after the start of production. Actors mentioned in news items during production whose participation in the released film has not been confirmed are: Ruth Renick, Florence Lake, Virginia Sale, Florence Enright, Barbara Tennant, Francis Ford, Phyllis Crane, Janet Curie, Fred Malatesta and Joan Standing. A HR news item at the start of production noted that Clarence Brown had to begin direction without Clark Gable, who was still working on retakes for another M-G-M picture, Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (see below). According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Colonel Jason Joy and Joseph I. Breen of the Hays Office were upset when the picture was released because they had not seen a copy of the completed script prior to production. In a 15 Dec 1931 letter from Joy to Breen, Joy stated: "The philosophy of this one is wrong. For some reason we did not have the script and did not get in a crack before the picture was finished. This cannot happen again, and was the chief reason the Code was amended making submission of scripts mandatory rather than optional in the past." Although most territories accepted the picture without eliminations, some did require the elimination of ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Mirage and The Mirage . Director Clarence Brown's only onscreen credit reads: "Clarence Brown's Production Possessed . According to a 7 Jul 1931 news items in HR , Charlotte Greenwood was signed to play a role in the film, however, she did not appear in the picture and was not mentioned in any source after the start of production. Actors mentioned in news items during production whose participation in the released film has not been confirmed are: Ruth Renick, Florence Lake, Virginia Sale, Florence Enright, Barbara Tennant, Francis Ford, Phyllis Crane, Janet Curie, Fred Malatesta and Joan Standing. A HR news item at the start of production noted that Clarence Brown had to begin direction without Clark Gable, who was still working on retakes for another M-G-M picture, Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (see below). According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Colonel Jason Joy and Joseph I. Breen of the Hays Office were upset when the picture was released because they had not seen a copy of the completed script prior to production. In a 15 Dec 1931 letter from Joy to Breen, Joy stated: "The philosophy of this one is wrong. For some reason we did not have the script and did not get in a crack before the picture was finished. This cannot happen again, and was the chief reason the Code was amended making submission of scripts mandatory rather than optional in the past." Although most territories accepted the picture without eliminations, some did require the elimination of various lines of dialogue deemed objectionable. A Jun 1932 letter in the MPAA/PCA file from Jack Warner complained that M-G-M was "getting away" with things in their films, such as Possessed which other studios could not. According to a modern source, producer Harry Rapf's son Maurice, then a college student, came up with the title for this film and was paid fifty dollars by the studio. Modern sources also note that Possessed was the last film approved by the Hays Office without a complete script submitted prior to production. A FD news item on 16 Aug 1932 reported that actress Lita Friede had appeared in an M-G-M produced German-language version of Possessed , however, no additional information on such a version has been located. Another film based on the Edgar Selwyn play, called The Mirage was made by Regal Pictures in 1924. It was directed by George Archainbaud and starred Florence Vidor and Clive Brook (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2. 3641). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
23 Aug 31
p. 15.
Film Daily
29 Nov 31
p. 23.
Film Daily
16 Aug 32
p. 6.
HF
5 Sep 31
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 31
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 31
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 31
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 31
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 31
p. 7.
International Photographer
1 Dec 31
p. 30.
Motion Picture Herald
31 Oct 31
pp. 34-36.
New York Times
28 Nov 31
p. 20.
Variety
1 Dec 31
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Clarence Brown's production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
Adpt and dial cont
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Mirage by Edgar Selwyn (New York, 30 Sep 1920).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"How Long Will It Last?" music by Joseph Meyer, lyrics by Max Lief.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Mirage
Release Date:
21 November 1931
Production Date:
2 September--late October 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
27 November 1931
Copyright Number:
LP 2653
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Paper box factory worker Marian Martin wants more out of life than marriage to her small town boyfriend, Al Manning. As she looks through the windows of a stopped railroad car carrying wealthy passengers, she meets Wally Stuart, a New Yorker who gives her champagne and tells her to look him up. After Al angrily accuses her of impropriety, Marian leaves and goes to New York. Wally gives her some advice on meeting and keeping wealthy men, which Marian uses to begin a relationship with his friend Mark Whitney, a divorced attorney. Three years pass and Marian has acquired sophistication, culture and a lot of money from Mark. Despite her original intentions, though, she loves him. He loves her as well but will not marry her because he is afraid that she will hurt him the way his ex-wife did. To cover their relationship, she has changed her name to Mrs. Moreland and poses as a wealthy divorcee. When Al, now running a prosperous cement business, comes to town hoping to land a big contract, he asks her to marry him, but she refuses. When she overhears Mark talking with some politicians, she realizes that he now plans to marry her, even though their past relationship might cause a scandal that would ruin his proposed gubernatorial campaign. She pretends not to love him and says that she is going to marry Al. He then runs for governor, but when Marian discovers that Al will only forgive her past if she will help him get the contract from Mark, she sends him away and disappears. As the election approaches, the rival candidate tries ... +


Paper box factory worker Marian Martin wants more out of life than marriage to her small town boyfriend, Al Manning. As she looks through the windows of a stopped railroad car carrying wealthy passengers, she meets Wally Stuart, a New Yorker who gives her champagne and tells her to look him up. After Al angrily accuses her of impropriety, Marian leaves and goes to New York. Wally gives her some advice on meeting and keeping wealthy men, which Marian uses to begin a relationship with his friend Mark Whitney, a divorced attorney. Three years pass and Marian has acquired sophistication, culture and a lot of money from Mark. Despite her original intentions, though, she loves him. He loves her as well but will not marry her because he is afraid that she will hurt him the way his ex-wife did. To cover their relationship, she has changed her name to Mrs. Moreland and poses as a wealthy divorcee. When Al, now running a prosperous cement business, comes to town hoping to land a big contract, he asks her to marry him, but she refuses. When she overhears Mark talking with some politicians, she realizes that he now plans to marry her, even though their past relationship might cause a scandal that would ruin his proposed gubernatorial campaign. She pretends not to love him and says that she is going to marry Al. He then runs for governor, but when Marian discovers that Al will only forgive her past if she will help him get the contract from Mark, she sends him away and disappears. As the election approaches, the rival candidate tries to interrupt a rally for Mark by having hecklers distribute flyers saying "Who is Mrs. Moreland?" As the crowd rumbles, Marian steps up from the audience and tells them that Mark has always been an honorable man, who once belonged to her, but now belongs to them. The crowd cheers as she leaves, sobbing. Outside, Mark catches up to her and tells her that from now on they will be together no matter what. +

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.