Theodora Goes Wild (1936)

90 or 94 mins | Screwball comedy | 12 November 1936

Full page view
HISTORY

Information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that Columbia first submitted the script to the PCA in Mar 1936. However, the PCA rejected the script because it violated several tenets of the Code. In a letter to Harry Cohn, PCA president Joseph I. Breen details the various elements in violation of the Code: The heroine, Theodora, exemplifies "evil made to appear attractive" after she breaks up two marriages; all the "decent" and "church-going" characters are "made to appear ridiculous, stupid and silly" when compared with their city counterparts, who "indulg[e] in extra-marital activities, drunkenness and debauchery, [and] are made to appear attractive." A second revised script was submitted to the PCA in Apr 1936 and was met with approval. HR production charts include Marian Marsh in the cast, however, her participation in the film has not been confirmed. According to modern sources, Irene Dunne resisted making this film because it was a comedy, however, Columbia insisted that it be the first film to fulfill her new contract with them. Modern sources point to this film as being a seminal film in the screwball comedy genre. Theodora Goes Wild was nominated in the following categories for Academy Awards: Best Actress, Irene Dunne, and Film Editing, Otto ... More Less

Information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that Columbia first submitted the script to the PCA in Mar 1936. However, the PCA rejected the script because it violated several tenets of the Code. In a letter to Harry Cohn, PCA president Joseph I. Breen details the various elements in violation of the Code: The heroine, Theodora, exemplifies "evil made to appear attractive" after she breaks up two marriages; all the "decent" and "church-going" characters are "made to appear ridiculous, stupid and silly" when compared with their city counterparts, who "indulg[e] in extra-marital activities, drunkenness and debauchery, [and] are made to appear attractive." A second revised script was submitted to the PCA in Apr 1936 and was met with approval. HR production charts include Marian Marsh in the cast, however, her participation in the film has not been confirmed. According to modern sources, Irene Dunne resisted making this film because it was a comedy, however, Columbia insisted that it be the first film to fulfill her new contract with them. Modern sources point to this film as being a seminal film in the screwball comedy genre. Theodora Goes Wild was nominated in the following categories for Academy Awards: Best Actress, Irene Dunne, and Film Editing, Otto Meyer. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
2 Nov 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Nov 36
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 36
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 36
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
4 Nov 36
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Oct 36
p. 35, 38
Motion Picture Herald
14 Nov 36
p. 58.
New York Times
13 Nov 36
p. 27.
Variety
18 Nov 36
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Harry Cohn, President
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd eng
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 November 1936
Production Date:
10 August--23 September 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
4 November 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6689
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90 or 94
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2535
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When the Lynnfield Bugle , a small Connecticut newspaper, runs a serial of Caroline Adams' risqué novel, The Sinner , editor Jed Waterbury receives many complaints from the puritannical townspeople. Among the outraged readers are leading citizens, Mary and Elsie Lynn, whose niece Theodora is the secret author of the scandalous novel. The literary circle, led by Mary, Elsie and straight-laced Rebecca Perry, force Jed to stop printing The Sinner . Soon after, under the pretext of visiting her Uncle John, the family's fun-loving black sheep, Theodora goes to New York to see her publisher, Arthur Stevenson. Stevenson is thrilled to be handling Theodora's best seller, but is frustrated by her refusal to participate in any publicity. Theodora, a Sunday school teacher and church organist, explains that although she wrote the novel as a mental escape from her stuffy existence, she would never dream of disgracing the family name by revealing that she is Caroline Adams. Theodora meets Stevenson's wife Ethel and also Michael Grant, the sophisticated artist who designed her book's cover. The four go out to dinner, during which Michael teases Theodora about her apparent lack of worldliness. Determined to act as she thinks Caroline Adams should, Theodora gets drunk and goes with Michael to his apartment. Theodora flees after being frightened by Michael's advances, and the illustrator chuckles to himself as his suspicions about her naïveté are confirmed. Back in Lynnfield, Michael, using the name Dubarry, arrives at Theodora's house and insists that she hire him as a gardener. Theodora quickly falls in love with him, and when the couple spend a morning picking berries, Michael ... +


When the Lynnfield Bugle , a small Connecticut newspaper, runs a serial of Caroline Adams' risqué novel, The Sinner , editor Jed Waterbury receives many complaints from the puritannical townspeople. Among the outraged readers are leading citizens, Mary and Elsie Lynn, whose niece Theodora is the secret author of the scandalous novel. The literary circle, led by Mary, Elsie and straight-laced Rebecca Perry, force Jed to stop printing The Sinner . Soon after, under the pretext of visiting her Uncle John, the family's fun-loving black sheep, Theodora goes to New York to see her publisher, Arthur Stevenson. Stevenson is thrilled to be handling Theodora's best seller, but is frustrated by her refusal to participate in any publicity. Theodora, a Sunday school teacher and church organist, explains that although she wrote the novel as a mental escape from her stuffy existence, she would never dream of disgracing the family name by revealing that she is Caroline Adams. Theodora meets Stevenson's wife Ethel and also Michael Grant, the sophisticated artist who designed her book's cover. The four go out to dinner, during which Michael teases Theodora about her apparent lack of worldliness. Determined to act as she thinks Caroline Adams should, Theodora gets drunk and goes with Michael to his apartment. Theodora flees after being frightened by Michael's advances, and the illustrator chuckles to himself as his suspicions about her naïveté are confirmed. Back in Lynnfield, Michael, using the name Dubarry, arrives at Theodora's house and insists that she hire him as a gardener. Theodora quickly falls in love with him, and when the couple spend a morning picking berries, Michael tells her that she must break away and be herself. After they return to town, Theodora realizes that it is Sunday and she has forgotten her church duties. Later that night, Mary and Elsie are further scandalized when Theodora announces that she loves the gardener. The next morning, Michael returns to New York, and Theodora follows him. He confesses that he also loves her, but their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of his father Jonathan, who is the lieutenant governor, and Michael's wife Agnes, from whom he has been estranged for five years. Michael explains to Theodora that he cannot divorce Agnes because it would damage his father's career, but he promises Theodora that they can be married in two years, after his father retires. Determined to force Michael into action, Theodora moves into his apartment, after which he immediately moves out. Theodora then calls Stevenson and demands that her identity be revealed. The revelation stuns Lynnfield, but Theodora is not satisfied, and holds a press conference in Michael's apartment. While Theodora's aunts decide that she has "gone wild," Ethel, jealous of Theodora's notoriety, pronounces her to be "innocence on the manhunt." Later, Theodora escorts a drunken Stevenson to his home, and after Ethel sees them together, she files a divorce suit and names Theodora as the co-respondent. Ethel withdraws the suit, but Theodora creates a further uproar when she attends the governor's reception and reporters photograph Michael giving her a goodbye kiss. While Agnes is suing Michael for a divorce, Theodora returns to Lynnfield. Theodora brings with her the baby of Rebecca's daughter Adelaide, whom Theodora helped to secretly marry her sweetheart, Roger Taylor. Everyone in town assumes that the infant is Theodora's, and Michael, who has come to tell her that he is now free, also believes that she is the mother. Theodora then reveals that the baby is Adelaide's, and affectionately calls Michael an idiot when he embraces her. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.