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Lady with a Past

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lady with a Past
Directed byEdward H. Griffith
E. J. Babille (assistant)
Screenplay byHorace Jackson
Based onLady with a Past
1931 novel
by Harriet Henry
Produced byCharles R. Rogers
StarringConstance Bennett
Ben Lyon
David Manners
Edited byCharles Craft
RKO Pathė Pictures, Inc.
Charles R. Rogers
Distributed byRKO Pathė Pictures, Inc.
Release date
  • February 19, 1932 (1932-02-19)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$595,000[1]

Lady with a Past is a 1932 American pre-Code romantic comedy film starring Constance Bennett as a shy and very proper young lady who decides to invent a scandalous past for herself to spice up her life. It is based on the novel of the same name by Harriet Henry.

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  • Constance Bennett in Lady with a Past (1932)



Although she is an heiress and quite lovely, Venice Muir is very shy. She is flattered when flirtatious Donnie Wainwright urges her to elope to Paris with him, then irked when he abandons her before their ship departs.

Venice gets an idea, hiring a penniless fellow, Guy Bryson, to pretend to be a gigolo and spread word of Venice's effect on men. Soon she is the toast of Paris, suitors lining up to woo her, including Rene, a man of noble lineage. Unbeknownst to her, Rene is in serious debt. When she rejects his proposal, Rene commits suicide, enhancing Venice's reputation as a heartbreaking vixen.

Sailing back home, Venice is followed by more gossip, including some about Guy. A dazzled Donnie begins pursuing her again, finally winning over Venice without ever knowing of her ruse.



According to RKO records the film lost $140,000.[1]

"There are several instances of enlivening dialogue which help to relieve the slow tempo of the whole," wrote Clara Sawdon in a review for International Photographer. "The title will undoubtedly act as an excellent decoy to attract Constance Bennett fans, however, the chief fault seeming to lie in the choice of a story not suitable for screen adaptation."[2]


  1. ^ a b c Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p39
  2. ^ Sawdon, Clara M. "When Seen Through Feminine Eyes." The International Photographer Vol. 4 No. 2 p35. March, 1932. Accessed 7 May 2023.

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This page was last edited on 19 August 2023, at 07:00
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