Alice Adams (1935)

93 or 95 mins | Drama | 23 August 1935

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HISTORY

Booth Tarkington's name appears above the onscreen title. Onscreen credits do not include a listing for editor. Modern sources credit Jane Loring, who worked as an editor on Hepburn's previous film, Break of Hearts , and was a friend of the actress at the time of this production, with the editing. Studio production files, however, indicate that Loring was paid $3,500 out of the picture's directing budget. RKO borrowed Fred MacMurray from Paramount for the film. A HR news item states that RKO executives wanted Randolph Scott to play MacMurray's role, but were unable to cast him because of his commitment to star in Paramount's So Red the Rose . In HR production charts, Walter Brennan is listed as a cast member, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. The NYT reviewer, like many other reviewers, commented that in Alice Adams Hepburn "resumes her high place after faltering in several bad pictures." Prior to this film, Hepburn had appeared in Spitfire , The Little Minister and Break of Hearts , all of which were box office failures. Hepburn earned her second Best Actress Academy Award nomination for the film, but lost to Bette Davis in Dangerous . The film was nominated for Best Picture, but lost to another RKO film, The Informer .
       Modern sources give the following information about the production: Producer Pandro Berman had two directors in mind for the film--George Stevens and William Wyler. One modern source states that Hepburn preferred Wyler and pushed Berman to choose him. ... More Less

Booth Tarkington's name appears above the onscreen title. Onscreen credits do not include a listing for editor. Modern sources credit Jane Loring, who worked as an editor on Hepburn's previous film, Break of Hearts , and was a friend of the actress at the time of this production, with the editing. Studio production files, however, indicate that Loring was paid $3,500 out of the picture's directing budget. RKO borrowed Fred MacMurray from Paramount for the film. A HR news item states that RKO executives wanted Randolph Scott to play MacMurray's role, but were unable to cast him because of his commitment to star in Paramount's So Red the Rose . In HR production charts, Walter Brennan is listed as a cast member, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. The NYT reviewer, like many other reviewers, commented that in Alice Adams Hepburn "resumes her high place after faltering in several bad pictures." Prior to this film, Hepburn had appeared in Spitfire , The Little Minister and Break of Hearts , all of which were box office failures. Hepburn earned her second Best Actress Academy Award nomination for the film, but lost to Bette Davis in Dangerous . The film was nominated for Best Picture, but lost to another RKO film, The Informer .
       Modern sources give the following information about the production: Producer Pandro Berman had two directors in mind for the film--George Stevens and William Wyler. One modern source states that Hepburn preferred Wyler and pushed Berman to choose him. Another says that Hepburn's friend and collaborator, director George Cukor, advised her to push for the relatively unknown Wyler, but that Berman felt that Wyler's European background was inappropriate for the small town American setting. Still another source states that Hepburn and Berman, unable to express their preference for Stevens, who had only a handful of undistinguished feature films to his credit, flipped a coin until Stevens came out the winner. When Jane Murfin's first draft of the script proved inadequate, Berman brought in Mortimer Offner. The script had not been completed by the time shooting began, and pages of it were brought in on a day-by-day basis. The interior of the Adams' house was inspired by a house that Stevens had seen in Los Angeles. During shooting, Stevens and Hepburn argued frequently about how to shoot certain scenes, and one of the "porch" scenes required eighty takes because of Hepburn's resistance to Stevens' direction. The scene in which Hepburn cries in her bedroom caused the actress particular distress, and it wasn't until Stevens threatened to use dubbed-in crying that she agreed to perform the scene as shot. (One modern source, however, contends that Stevens moved Hepburn to cooperate by delivering a touching speech.) Although modern sources state that Hepburn used Fred Stone's delivery of the word "home" in one scene to provoke genuine tears in herself, the word was not heard in any of Stone's speeches in the viewed print.
       Modern sources credit Mel Berns with makeup and Max Steiner with musical score, and add Harry Bowen ( Laborer ) to the cast. In 1923, King Vidor directed his then wife, Florence Vidor, in an Encore Pictures version of Tarkington's novel (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.0087). Although several early 1956 "Rambling Reporter" items in HR announced that Judy Garland and Eddie Albert would star in a remake of Alice Adams , that film was never produced. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Aug 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Aug 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 1956
p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily
5 Aug 35
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Jul 35
p. 82.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Aug 35
pp. 40-41, 47
New York Times
16 Aug 35
p. 11.
Variety
21 Aug 35
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Pandro S. Berman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dir staff
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr clerk
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
STAND INS
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington (New York, 1921).
SONGS
"I Can't Waltz Alone," words by Dorothy Fields, music by Max Steiner.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Booth Tarkington's Alice Adams
Release Date:
23 August 1935
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: week of 15 August 1935
Production Date:
22 May--3 July 1935
Copyright Claimant:
RKO-Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 August 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5743
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93 or 95
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1101
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the small town of South Renford, Alice Adams, the pretty daughter of Virgil Adams, an invalid clerk, is escorted by her brother Walter to an elegant party that is being hosted by Mildred Palmer, a local debutante. Dressed in a two-year-old gown and carrying a bouquet of wilted violets, Alice, who dreams of social acceptance, is snubbed by the Palmers and their guests until Arthur Russell, Mildred's cousin, asks her to dance. Although entranced by the handsome Arthur, Alice shyly refuses a second dance and asks him to find Walter, who is playing dice with the servants in the cloak room. A humiliated Alice returns home and, after a brave smile for her mother, cries bitterly in her room. Later, however, Alice runs into Arthur in town and walks with him to her house. Embarrassed by the house's shabby appearance, Alice discourages an eager Arthur from coming inside but agrees to receive him for an evening visit. After two nights of anxious waiting, Alice finally finds Arthur at her door and chats with him on the porch. As Alice's mother listens by the window, Arthur showers Alice with sincere compliments and asks her to a party that the daughter of Virgil's employer, J. A. Lamb, is planning. Furious that Alice was not invited by the Lambs, Mrs. Adams later rails against Virgil for his lack of career ambition, which she contends has ruined Alice's chances at "catching" Arthur. Overwhelmed by his wife's arguments, Virgil gives in and, backed by a formula for glue that he had invented years before while working for Lamb, opens his own glue works. Arthur, meanwhile, continues ... +


In the small town of South Renford, Alice Adams, the pretty daughter of Virgil Adams, an invalid clerk, is escorted by her brother Walter to an elegant party that is being hosted by Mildred Palmer, a local debutante. Dressed in a two-year-old gown and carrying a bouquet of wilted violets, Alice, who dreams of social acceptance, is snubbed by the Palmers and their guests until Arthur Russell, Mildred's cousin, asks her to dance. Although entranced by the handsome Arthur, Alice shyly refuses a second dance and asks him to find Walter, who is playing dice with the servants in the cloak room. A humiliated Alice returns home and, after a brave smile for her mother, cries bitterly in her room. Later, however, Alice runs into Arthur in town and walks with him to her house. Embarrassed by the house's shabby appearance, Alice discourages an eager Arthur from coming inside but agrees to receive him for an evening visit. After two nights of anxious waiting, Alice finally finds Arthur at her door and chats with him on the porch. As Alice's mother listens by the window, Arthur showers Alice with sincere compliments and asks her to a party that the daughter of Virgil's employer, J. A. Lamb, is planning. Furious that Alice was not invited by the Lambs, Mrs. Adams later rails against Virgil for his lack of career ambition, which she contends has ruined Alice's chances at "catching" Arthur. Overwhelmed by his wife's arguments, Virgil gives in and, backed by a formula for glue that he had invented years before while working for Lamb, opens his own glue works. Arthur, meanwhile, continues to romance Alice and happily accepts an invitation to a family dinner. Just before the dinner, Arthur hears from Mildred's father that Lamb has accused Virgil of stealing the glue formula and is planning to open a rival factory. In spite of a surly maid, bad food and her father's social awkwardness, Alice maintains an overly cheerful facade for Arthur throughout the "formal" dinner. When Walter, who has been caught stealing from Lamb's company, shows up, however, the evening falls apart, and Alice says goodbye to Arthur, sure that she will never see him again. Lamb then arrives and accuses Virgil of stealing the glue formula. After Virgil yells at his former boss that he is a "mean man," Alice takes Lamb aside and explains to him that her father opened the factory only to help her. Touched by Alice's words, Lamb offers to join Virgil in his venture, and hostilities are put aside. Alice then steps out on the porch and finds Arthur waiting for her with open, loving arms. +

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

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