A fine picture on all counts in the acting, writing, and directing. It handles the delicate subject of anti-semitism with tact and restraint. The Rothschild family, through its intimate financial connection with the Napoleonic wars, affords a meaty story [based on a play by George Hembert Westley].
George Arliss plays the father and founder of the family, Mayer Rothschild, and when the narrative skips 35 years he is also the son, Nathan, head of the London branch of the banking firm. Nathan’s daughter is played by Loretta Young, who never looked better. She falls in love with an English gentile officer (Robert Young).
Nathan opposes the marriage, fearing his daughter will suffer indignities because of her race. Ultimately his opposition melts and the pair are last seen in the luxuriant colors of the Technicolor sequence, in which Rothschild is made an English baron at a regal investiture, which brings the picture to an opulent close.
The real Mrs Arliss plays her husband’s make-believe wife. Her performance is very able and she is at all times an attractice matron. There are numerous minor performances of merit, including a sentimentalized Duke of Welington handled by the astute C. Aubrey Smith.
1934: Nomination: Best Picture