The Painted Veil (1934)

84 or 86 mins | Romance | 23 November 1934

Producer:

Hunt Stromberg

Cinematographer:

William Daniels

Editor:

Hugh Wynn

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Greta Garbo's name appears above the title as just "Garbo." Before Richard Boleslavsky (whose name is spelled Boleslawski in the onscreen credits) was hired as director, Victor Fleming and Rouben Mamoulian were considered for the job, according to HR news items. HR news items from Jun 1934 state that director George Hill shot footage in China for use in this film and in The Good Earth , a picture that M-G-M eventually produced and released in 1937. Two months after returning from China, Hill committed suicide. It is not known how much, if any, of Hill's footage was used in The Painted Veil . An Aug 1932 HR news item announced Joan Crawford as the star of the picture. Preston Foster was announced as a cast member in Jul 1934 HR news items, but soon was replaced by George Brent, whom the studio considered to be a more convincing Englishman than Foster. According to a HR news item, M-G-M built a replica of an ancient Chinese temple at their Culver City lot. After the film had its preview, the studio ordered re-takes and shortened the running time by several minutes, according to MPH . The beginning of the story, which some reviewers had criticized as being too drawn out, apparently was re-shot and shortened. Although most reviews list Beulah Bondi in the role of "Frau Koerber," Bodil Rosing actually appeared in the part in the final film and is given onscreen credit. It is possible that Rosing, whose character appears in the beginning of the story, replaced ... More Less

Greta Garbo's name appears above the title as just "Garbo." Before Richard Boleslavsky (whose name is spelled Boleslawski in the onscreen credits) was hired as director, Victor Fleming and Rouben Mamoulian were considered for the job, according to HR news items. HR news items from Jun 1934 state that director George Hill shot footage in China for use in this film and in The Good Earth , a picture that M-G-M eventually produced and released in 1937. Two months after returning from China, Hill committed suicide. It is not known how much, if any, of Hill's footage was used in The Painted Veil . An Aug 1932 HR news item announced Joan Crawford as the star of the picture. Preston Foster was announced as a cast member in Jul 1934 HR news items, but soon was replaced by George Brent, whom the studio considered to be a more convincing Englishman than Foster. According to a HR news item, M-G-M built a replica of an ancient Chinese temple at their Culver City lot. After the film had its preview, the studio ordered re-takes and shortened the running time by several minutes, according to MPH . The beginning of the story, which some reviewers had criticized as being too drawn out, apparently was re-shot and shortened. Although most reviews list Beulah Bondi in the role of "Frau Koerber," Bodil Rosing actually appeared in the part in the final film and is given onscreen credit. It is possible that Rosing, whose character appears in the beginning of the story, replaced Bondi in the re-takes. DV gives the film's preview running time as 76 minutes, but this time is probably incorrect.
       According to files in the MPPA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Harry Warner of Warner Bros. objected to the filming of W. Somerset Maugham's novel because he believed that members of the MPPDA had agreed years before that it was not suitable movie material. Will Hays, president of the MPPDA, responded to Warner's complaints by stating that, as only two members of the board had objected to the novel in the MPPDA's 31 Oct 1930 Resolution, the story was acceptable from a Code standpoint. Although HR reported in 1947 that M-G-M was planning to remake Painted Veil with Greer Garson, the second M-G-M version of Maugham's novel was not produced until 1957, when Ronald Neame directed Eleanor Parker and George Sanders in The Seventh Sin . Another adaptation of Maugham's novel was released in 2006. That version, also entitled The Painted Veil , was directed by John Curran and starred Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Nov 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
24 Nov 34
p. 3.
HF
21 Jul 34
p. 8.
HF
28 Jul 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 47
p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Sep 34
p. 39.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Nov 34
p. 39.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Dec 34
p. 40.
New York Times
7 Dec 34
p. 29.
Variety
11 Dec 34
p. 19.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Lillianne Leighton
Leland Hodgson
Robert A'Dair
Susanne Ransom
Toshia Mori Jung
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
Mixer
PRODUCTION MISC
Chinese fantasy conceived by
[Chinese fantasy] staged by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (New York, 1925).
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 November 1934
Production Date:
3 July--5 September 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Metro Goldwyn Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 November 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5131
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84 or 86
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
395
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

After her sister Olga marries and leaves home, Katrin Koerber, the daughter of an Austrian medical professor, fights loneliness and dreams of a more exciting life outside Austria. Consequently, when Dr. Walter Fane, a British bacteriologist, asks her to marry him and move to Hong Kong, she agrees, even though she is not in love with him. As soon as the newlyweds arrive in Hong Kong, however, Walter becomes subsumed in his medical work, and Katrin becomes the romantic target of Jack Townsend, the unhappily married attaché to the British embassy. While showing her the city's exotic sights, Jack flirts with Katrin and kisses her. Katrin, unnerved by Jack's actions, retreats to her house, but soon rejoins him to observe local dancers performing at a Buddhist festival. Stimulated by the dancing and the atmosphere of a Buddhist temple, Jack confesses his love to Katrin, and Katrin admits that she is not in love with Walter. At home, Katrin then treats Walter coolly and reveals that his chronic lateness and fatigue annoy her. To make amends, Walter comes home early the next day, but discovers Katrin's bedroom door locked and Jack's hat on a table. That evening, Walter confronts Katrin with his suspicions, and she admits that she loves Jack. Distraught, Walter tells Katrin that he will grant her a divorce only if Jack promises in writing that he will divorce his wife and marry her. When Katrin presents Walter's conditions to Jack, he tells her that a divorce would ruin both his career and his reputation and backs out of the affair. Heartbroken, Katrin reluctantly accompanies Walter to an ... +


After her sister Olga marries and leaves home, Katrin Koerber, the daughter of an Austrian medical professor, fights loneliness and dreams of a more exciting life outside Austria. Consequently, when Dr. Walter Fane, a British bacteriologist, asks her to marry him and move to Hong Kong, she agrees, even though she is not in love with him. As soon as the newlyweds arrive in Hong Kong, however, Walter becomes subsumed in his medical work, and Katrin becomes the romantic target of Jack Townsend, the unhappily married attaché to the British embassy. While showing her the city's exotic sights, Jack flirts with Katrin and kisses her. Katrin, unnerved by Jack's actions, retreats to her house, but soon rejoins him to observe local dancers performing at a Buddhist festival. Stimulated by the dancing and the atmosphere of a Buddhist temple, Jack confesses his love to Katrin, and Katrin admits that she is not in love with Walter. At home, Katrin then treats Walter coolly and reveals that his chronic lateness and fatigue annoy her. To make amends, Walter comes home early the next day, but discovers Katrin's bedroom door locked and Jack's hat on a table. That evening, Walter confronts Katrin with his suspicions, and she admits that she loves Jack. Distraught, Walter tells Katrin that he will grant her a divorce only if Jack promises in writing that he will divorce his wife and marry her. When Katrin presents Walter's conditions to Jack, he tells her that a divorce would ruin both his career and his reputation and backs out of the affair. Heartbroken, Katrin reluctantly accompanies Walter to an inland region of China, where a cholera epidemic is raging. While Walter struggles to arrest the epidemic, Katrin grows more and more despondent and lonely. Seeing Katrin's desperate condition, Walter finally offers to send her back to Hong Kong, then prepares to leave for a remote river village that has been identified as the root of the epidemic. After Walter has left, Jack realizes his genuine love for Katrin and leaves Hong Kong for the inland. Walter, who has ordered the infected village burned, then returns from the village and is overjoyed to find Katrin helping young cholera victims at an orphanage. In the chaos, Walter is stabbed, and Katrin rushes to be near him. While waiting to see her husband, Katrin is confronted by Jack, but tells him that she now loves only Walter and at last understands the sacrifices he makes for medicine. After Jack departs, Katrin assures the wounded Walter that she at last has fallen in love with him. +

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

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