The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937)

95 or 98 mins | Drama | 19 February 1937

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Editor:

Frank Sullivan

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Richard Boleslawski died at age forty-seven of a heart attack on 17 Jan 1937, prior to the completion of this film. According to news items, George Fitzmaurice was given the assignment to finish the remaining days of shooting after a temporary halt in production, however, Fitzmaurice became ill and Dorothy Arzner was then given the assignment to finish the picture. The extent of Fitzmaurice or Arzner's work that is included in the released film has not been determined. According to pre-release news items, Joan Crawford took over the role of Mrs. Cheyney when she decided to leave the cast of Parnell over creative differences with director John M. Stahl. At that time, Myrna Loy was assigned Crawford's role in Parnell and Crawford took over Loy's role in this film. Frederick Lonsdale's play, which had a very successful run in London and in New York, where it opened on 9 Nov 1925, was previously adapted for the screen in 1929 by Sidney Franklin for M-G-M, starring Norma Shearer and Basil Rathbone (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.2978). Miriam Hopkins portrayed Mrs. Cheyney on a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 16 Mar 1936, and Walter Pidgeon and Adolphe Menjou played the male roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 11 May 1942. Later versions of the story included a 1951 M-G-M picture entitled The Law and the Lady, directed by Edwin H. Knopf, with Greer Garson and Michael Wilding, a 1953 public television play and a 1961 German film entitled Frau Cheyney's Ende. ...

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Richard Boleslawski died at age forty-seven of a heart attack on 17 Jan 1937, prior to the completion of this film. According to news items, George Fitzmaurice was given the assignment to finish the remaining days of shooting after a temporary halt in production, however, Fitzmaurice became ill and Dorothy Arzner was then given the assignment to finish the picture. The extent of Fitzmaurice or Arzner's work that is included in the released film has not been determined. According to pre-release news items, Joan Crawford took over the role of Mrs. Cheyney when she decided to leave the cast of Parnell over creative differences with director John M. Stahl. At that time, Myrna Loy was assigned Crawford's role in Parnell and Crawford took over Loy's role in this film. Frederick Lonsdale's play, which had a very successful run in London and in New York, where it opened on 9 Nov 1925, was previously adapted for the screen in 1929 by Sidney Franklin for M-G-M, starring Norma Shearer and Basil Rathbone (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.2978). Miriam Hopkins portrayed Mrs. Cheyney on a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 16 Mar 1936, and Walter Pidgeon and Adolphe Menjou played the male roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 11 May 1942. Later versions of the story included a 1951 M-G-M picture entitled The Law and the Lady, directed by Edwin H. Knopf, with Greer Garson and Michael Wilding, a 1953 public television play and a 1961 German film entitled Frau Cheyney's Ende.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27-Feb-37
---
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1937
pp. 6-7
Daily Variety
15 Feb 1937
p. 3
Film Daily
19 Jan 1937
p. 9
Film Daily
19 Feb 1937
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 1936
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 1936
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1936
p. 18
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1937
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 1937
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
16 Feb 1937
p. 12
Motion Picture Herald
23 Jan 1937
p. 60
Motion Picture Herald
30 Jan 1937
p. 55
Motion Picture Herald
27 Feb 1937
pp. 59-60
New York Times
19 Feb 1937
p. 15
Variety
24 Feb 1937
p. 15
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Fill-In dir
Fill-In dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Joseph Wright
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Last of Mrs. Cheyney by Frederick Lonsdale (London, 22 Sep 1925).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 February 1937
Production Date:
27 Nov 1936--3 Feb 1937
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
15 February 1937
LP6942
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
95 or 98
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3058
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When Francis, Lord Kelton, finds a beautiful woman in his stateroom, he is flustered, but his playboy friend, Arthur, Lord Dilling, is fascinated by her. He finds out from the ship's purser that she is American widow Fay Cheyney on her way to stay in England. In London, she becomes the darling of English society, impressing everyone, including Arthur's wealthy aunt, the Duchess of Ebley, who invites her to stay with her for the weekend. Arthur tries to impress Fay, but is rejected by her, even though she is becoming attracted to him. After a charity auction at Fay's house, her "servants" look forward to a profitable future, but Charles, her butler, suggests that she may be more fond of Arthur than she pretends. Fay and her servants are really confidence operators who are planning a jewel robbery, using Fay as their front. At the duchess' country home, she suggests to Fay that Arthur, who usually acts like a cad, is really in love with her, but Fay shrugs her words off. After Lord Kelton makes a bungled attempt to propose to her, Fay sneaks into the duchess' room and attempts to steal her pearl necklace, but is interrupted by a maid. Before she can resume, Arthur also interrupts and proposes. In London, the servants worry about Fay's lack of success, while, in the country, Fay learns how to get into the duchess' safe, but finds it difficult to think of robbing her because of her kindness. Soon Charles arrives, but tells Fay that she can't get out of the plan now because of the others. Before he leaves, ...

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When Francis, Lord Kelton, finds a beautiful woman in his stateroom, he is flustered, but his playboy friend, Arthur, Lord Dilling, is fascinated by her. He finds out from the ship's purser that she is American widow Fay Cheyney on her way to stay in England. In London, she becomes the darling of English society, impressing everyone, including Arthur's wealthy aunt, the Duchess of Ebley, who invites her to stay with her for the weekend. Arthur tries to impress Fay, but is rejected by her, even though she is becoming attracted to him. After a charity auction at Fay's house, her "servants" look forward to a profitable future, but Charles, her butler, suggests that she may be more fond of Arthur than she pretends. Fay and her servants are really confidence operators who are planning a jewel robbery, using Fay as their front. At the duchess' country home, she suggests to Fay that Arthur, who usually acts like a cad, is really in love with her, but Fay shrugs her words off. After Lord Kelton makes a bungled attempt to propose to her, Fay sneaks into the duchess' room and attempts to steal her pearl necklace, but is interrupted by a maid. Before she can resume, Arthur also interrupts and proposes. In London, the servants worry about Fay's lack of success, while, in the country, Fay learns how to get into the duchess' safe, but finds it difficult to think of robbing her because of her kindness. Soon Charles arrives, but tells Fay that she can't get out of the plan now because of the others. Before he leaves, she decides to continue, even though Charles offers to face the others himself, and tells him that she will signal him when she has the duchess' pearls. Arthur sees Charles sneaking around the grounds and tries to have him stay the night, suspecting that he has seen Charles somewhere before, but Charles leaves. Later, when Fay steals the pearls, Arthur confronts her before she can throw them down to her friends, after remembering that he recognized Charles from an incident the previous year on the Riviera. He tries to blackmail her into spending the night with him, but she refuses, saying that she has never done that before. She then rings the alarm, rousing the entire household. He tries to take the blame, saying he acted like a cad, but she produces the pearls and tells them all the truth. When Charles arrives, he summons the police, using Arthur's name, and they wait for Inspector Witherspoon of Scotland Yard's arrival the next morning. At breakfast, Arthur reveals that a letter that Lord Kelton wrote to Fay describing his friends may have to be used in court. Though at first amused, they are shocked when they learn that Kelton has written the unexpurgated truth about all of them. Kelton then suggests that they offer to pay Fay's passage back to America in exchange for not revealing the letter's contents. Fay, however, finds the offer too "dishonorable," until Kelton finally offers £10,000. She has destroyed the letter already, though, and will not take the money. In gratitude, Kelton offers to set Fay up with a modiste shop and the others offer to be her clients, but she again refuses. Though she wants Charles to stay, he declines, saying that he would have to remain honest if he stayed with her. After offering to return Arthur's watch, which he stole five years before, he goes with Inspector Witherspoon, leaving Fay ignorant of the fact that he has turned himself in. When everyone has gone, Arthur says that he has arranged for them to be married by a neighboring bishop that morning, marking the last of Mrs. Cheyney and the first of Lady Dilling.

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

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