The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)

103 or 105 mins | Romance | 28 August 1936

Director:

Clarence Brown

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Editor:

Blanche Sewell

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to a news item in HR , Jean Harlow was to have appeared in the title role of this film. According to contemporary news items, RKO originally planned to film Samuel Hopkins Adams' novel, starring Katharine Hepburn, in 1934. When M-G-M obtained the rights to the novel in 1935, it was announced that Jean Harlow would star and Brian Aherne would play one of the male leads. Information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection in the AMPAS library, notes that the Hays Office raised serious objections about the profanity used by Andrew Jackson throughout the original script. All instances of the character saying "damn" or "hell" were subsequently removed from the script. Some reviews noted that although the film was loosely based on real characters and incidents, many historical inaccuracies were present. Modern sources note that Bow Timberlake actually committed suicide and that John Eaton was forced to resign from Jackson's cabinet. Although Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone had acted together previously on the screen, this was their first joint film appearence subsequent to their 1935 marriage, a fact prominently mentioned in studio publicity for the picture. Beulah Bondi received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Rachel Jackson. Modern sources credit Henry Grace with set ... More Less

According to a news item in HR , Jean Harlow was to have appeared in the title role of this film. According to contemporary news items, RKO originally planned to film Samuel Hopkins Adams' novel, starring Katharine Hepburn, in 1934. When M-G-M obtained the rights to the novel in 1935, it was announced that Jean Harlow would star and Brian Aherne would play one of the male leads. Information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection in the AMPAS library, notes that the Hays Office raised serious objections about the profanity used by Andrew Jackson throughout the original script. All instances of the character saying "damn" or "hell" were subsequently removed from the script. Some reviews noted that although the film was loosely based on real characters and incidents, many historical inaccuracies were present. Modern sources note that Bow Timberlake actually committed suicide and that John Eaton was forced to resign from Jackson's cabinet. Although Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone had acted together previously on the screen, this was their first joint film appearence subsequent to their 1935 marriage, a fact prominently mentioned in studio publicity for the picture. Beulah Bondi received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Rachel Jackson. Modern sources credit Henry Grace with set decoration. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Jun 34
p. 1.
Daily Variety
28 Aug 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Sep 36
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jan 36
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 36
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 36
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 36
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 36
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
29 Aug 36
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Aug 36
pp. 16-17.
Motion Picture Herald
5 Sep 36
p. 41.
New York Times
5 Sep 36
p. 7.
Photoplay
1 Sep 36
p. 2. (Ad)
Variety
8 Sep 36
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Clarence Brown's Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Dances staged by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Gorgeous Hussy by Samuel Hopkins Adams (Boston, 1934).
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 August 1936
Production Date:
27 April--late June 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 September 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6587
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
103 or 105
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2439
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1823 Washington, Major O'Neal and his daughter Margaret run an inn that is frequented by politicians. Peggy's outspoken and astute opinions have earned the admiration of men such as Andrew Jackson and Daniel Webster. Virginia senator John Randolph, with whom Peggy is secretly in love, seems only to regard her as a child. When new inn resident "Bow" Timberlake refers to Peggy as a "tavern girl," however, John slaps him. Bow soon falls in love with Peggy himself and proposes, but she refuses, then goes to John's room one night to confess her love for him. He sends her away, thinking that she is too young and does not really mean it, but begins to have a change of heart. When he finally realizes that they are both in love, however, he learns from Bow that Peggy has finally consented to marry him. Peggy again talks to John about their future, but John again rejects her, thinking that the younger Bow would be a more suitable husband. Because he is an officer on the U.S.S. Constitution , Bow must leave for a three month tour of duty shortly after their wedding. When the Constitution returns to Washington, Peggy learns that Bow has died. In 1828, Jackson is elected president amid a campaign of mud slinging aimed at his beloved Rachel, whom he inadvertently married before her divorce from her first husband was final. Soon after the election, Rachel dies after asking Peggy to look after Jackson. Peggy then becomes the president's official hostess and confidant, causing many of the Washington political ... +


In 1823 Washington, Major O'Neal and his daughter Margaret run an inn that is frequented by politicians. Peggy's outspoken and astute opinions have earned the admiration of men such as Andrew Jackson and Daniel Webster. Virginia senator John Randolph, with whom Peggy is secretly in love, seems only to regard her as a child. When new inn resident "Bow" Timberlake refers to Peggy as a "tavern girl," however, John slaps him. Bow soon falls in love with Peggy himself and proposes, but she refuses, then goes to John's room one night to confess her love for him. He sends her away, thinking that she is too young and does not really mean it, but begins to have a change of heart. When he finally realizes that they are both in love, however, he learns from Bow that Peggy has finally consented to marry him. Peggy again talks to John about their future, but John again rejects her, thinking that the younger Bow would be a more suitable husband. Because he is an officer on the U.S.S. Constitution , Bow must leave for a three month tour of duty shortly after their wedding. When the Constitution returns to Washington, Peggy learns that Bow has died. In 1828, Jackson is elected president amid a campaign of mud slinging aimed at his beloved Rachel, whom he inadvertently married before her divorce from her first husband was final. Soon after the election, Rachel dies after asking Peggy to look after Jackson. Peggy then becomes the president's official hostess and confidant, causing many of the Washington political wives to gossip and snub her. At the same time, Jackson comes under political fire from Southerners such as Randolph, who feels he has turned against them by his stand on state rights. At a ball, Peggy is excited to see John after his five-year absence from Washington and asks him to dance with her before dinner. When her childhood friend, "Rowdy" Dow, wants to fight Southern Senator John C. Calhoun because of an insulting remark about Peggy, however, she interrupts and asks him to dance instead. Seeing Rowdy and Peggy dancing, John returns home, but is followed by Peggy, who once again professes her love. This time, John admits his own love and the two plan to marry. Soon after telling Jackson what has happened, however, Peggy realizes that differing political views will never allow her and John to be happy, and they part. A short time later, Secretary of War John Eaton, who has loved Peggy for years, proposes. She is fond of him, and believes, like Jackson, that marriage will bring her respectability. A year later, Rowdy comes to visit and tells Peggy that John Randolph has been shot and is near death. She asks Rowdy to take her to see her John, who was shot by Sunderland, a Southerner trying to prevent him from revealing to Jackson a proposed violent rebellion. John dies contentedly after Peggy's visit. On the way back to Washington, Peggy and Rowdy's coach is accosted by Sunderland, who demands safe passage to Washington in exchange for not revealing that he has seen them. Rowdy throws him out, but soon Jackson's cabinet members and their wives come to him to demand that Peggy be sent away from Washington. When Peggy arrives at the meeting, Jackson lies by saying she was sent to see John Randolph by him and that Rowdy was asked by John Eaton to accompany her. Jackson then demands the resignation of his entire cabinet, except for John. Finally, Peggy, who knows that even Jackson's kind lie will not lead to her acceptance in Washington, asks him to send John as the special envoy to Spain where she knows that they will find contentment. +

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.