Review: ‘Dodsworth’

Dodsworth is a superb motion picture and a golden borealis over the producer's name.

Dodsworth is a superb motion picture and a golden borealis over the producer’s name.

Sidney Howard transposes his own stage play version of Sinclair Lewis’ novel into a picture that uses the camera to open up the vista a little and enrich a basically fertile theme. Picture has a steady flow and an even dramatic wallop from zippy start to satisfying finish.

Dodsworth was Walter Huston on the stage and is logically and perfectly the same actor on the screen. This is the kind of a role stars dream about.

It is also obvious that this is Ruth Chatterton’s fanciest opportunity on the screen in a long while. Fran Dodsworth is a silly, vain, selfish, shallow kitten and in the playing of Chatterton comes to life with vividness and humanity.

Mary Astor is the sympathetic other woman to whom Dodsworth ultimately turns. Her footage is limited. Her performance is varied and mature.

Three men cross the path of the age-fearing wife on her grand fling. First an Englishman played by David Niven. Then a suave continental played by Paul Lukas. Last a sincere and youthful Austrian played by George Gaye. Each of the lovers is a case of slick casting. Mother of the Austrian who finally strikes home with the pampered American woman is beautifully performed by Maria Ouspenskaya.

1936: Best Interior Decoration (Richard Day).

Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Walter Huston), Supp. Actress (Maria Ouspenskaya), Screenplay, Sound



Goldwyn/United Artists. Director William Wyler; Producer Samuel Goldwyn; Screenplay Sidney Howard; Camera Ruldoph Mate; Editor Danny Mandell; Music Alfred Newman; Art Director Richard Day


(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 90 MIN.


Walter Huston Ruth Chatterton Paul Lukas Mary Astor David Niven Gregory Gaye
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