Wednesday, February 18, 2009

East Lynne (1931)

Directed by: Frank Lloyd

Starring: Ann Harding and Clive Brook

Plot: The trophy wife of a stodgy man of wealth yearns for a more interesting life.

Thoughts: While this film isn't lost like The Patriot, it is kept under lock and key at the UCLA Film Archive where only a recommendation and an appointment will let you look at it.

East Lynne was based on the 1861 Ellen Wood novel and portrayed Victorian mores of power and class. Some say the film is a powerful drama of a woman's struggle to find her way in society while others say it's an overwrought melodrama. Not having seen it, I can't comment either way.

As mentioned, the film is unavailable to the general public. While the novel was adapted several times for silent films, there wouldn't be another attempt to adapt the novel until 1976 when the BBC turned it into a miniseries and then a TV movie in 1982. No word on any plans to restore the film or produce a DVD.

East Lynne received a sole nomination, that for Best Motion Picture. It lost that night to the sweeping epic of the western frontier,Cimarron.


  1. Interesting. And why is it kept cloistered like Britney Spears after she shaved her head?

  2. I probably should have noted it in the missive, but the UCLA Archive has the last two surviving prints and, I think, a reel or two of negatives. Restoration for this is going to be quite expensive e.g., Fox's reluctance to go through with it.

  3. Oh Fox... Why are you holding up East Lynne and the Doctor Who TV Movie?

  4. I hear the Doctor Who TV movie is also in the UCLA Archive ;-)