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Strange Interlude (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Strange Interlude
Strange Interlude poster.jpg
Directed byRobert Z. Leonard
Written byBess Meredyth
C. Gardner Sullivan
Based onStrange Interlude
1928 play
by Eugene O'Neill
Produced byRobert Z. Leonard
Irving Thalberg
StarringNorma Shearer
Clark Gable
CinematographyLee Garmes
Edited byMargaret Booth
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • July 15, 1932 (1932-07-15)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,237,000[1]

Strange Interlude is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film stars Norma Shearer and Clark Gable, and is based on the 1928 play Strange Interlude by Eugene O'Neill. It is greatly shortened from the play: the stage production lasts six hours and is sometimes performed over two evenings, while the film runs for two hours.


World War I veteran Charlie Marsden (Ralph Morgan) returns from the war, hoping to see his secret crush Nina Leeds (Norma Shearer). He arrives to find her still at odds with her father (Henry B. Walthall), who stubbornly stood in the way of her dating Gordon (Robert Young) who recently died in the war. Nina honors Gordon's memory by becoming a nurse in a war veteran's hospital. Feeling the loss of the one she loved, Nina dates many men. Upon the later death of her father, Nina returns with Dr. Ned Darrell (Clark Gable) and Gordon's old buddy Sam Evans (Alexander Kirkland). Nina eventually marries Sam, hoping to have the life she once wanted with Gorden. After the nuptials, Sam's mother (May Robson) tells her that insanity runs in the family. Nina conceives a child by Ned, whom she secretly loves. Ned, on the other hand, deserts her and moves to Europe. When a son is born, he is named Gordon after Nina's first love. Charlie knows who the father is, but the three of them vow to keep the secret of who is Gordon's biological father. Years pass, bringing age and frailty to the friends and one-time lovers, and death to Sam, after a happy life.

Strange Interlude ad from The Film Daily, 1932
Strange Interlude ad from The Film Daily, 1932

After Gordon reaches adulthood, he announces his pending nuptials to Madeline Arnold (Maureen O'Sullivan). During a confrontation between Gordon and Ned, Nina, cries out that Gordon has struck his father. Gordon assumes she is speaking metaphorically and apologizes. He says that he has always known that his mother and Ned were in love, but that they denied their passion. He tells them that they must marry, now, with his blessing. Wordlessly, Nina prevents Ned from speaking the truth. Gordon leaves the room, and Nina and Ned agree that they will not marry, because despite his words, Gordon would be disappointed. They wave farewell to Gordon's plane as it carries the young people to a happy life. Nina is tottering from exhaustion, but Ned steps away, leaving her alone. Then Charlie appears, bearing an armful of wilting roses. Nina sits down, leans against him and rests her head on his shoulder, and he whispers “God bless dear old Charlie who, passed beyond desire, has all the luck at last.”

Cast (in credits order)

Production notes

When MGM boss Irving Thalberg bought the movie rights to the play, he initially wanted Lynn Fontanne, who played Nina Leeds on Broadway, to play the lead, with her husband Alfred Lunt as Dr. Ned Darrell. But they were not interested in making movies, so Thalberg decided to use his wife Norma Shearer and Clark Gable instead. At first, Gable was intimidated by the story's material, but he gave it his best effort and, subsequently, received a very positive reaction from all who were involved.[2]

Box office

According to MGM records, the film earned $957,000 in the US and Canada and $280,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $90,000.[1]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles, California: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study
  2. ^ Robert Osborne on Turner Classic Movies

External links

This page was last edited on 13 June 2021, at 08:43
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