6.5/10
1,412
37 user 13 critic

A Bill of Divorcement (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 30 September 1932 (USA)
A man, Hilary Fairfield returns home after fifteen years in a mental asylum. However, he finds things are not the way they were when he left.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Howard Estabrook (screen play), Harry Wagstaff Gribble (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Barrymore ... Hilary Fairfield
Billie Burke ... Margaret
David Manners ... Kit
Katharine Hepburn ... Sidney
Paul Cavanagh ... Gray
Henry Stephenson ... Dr. Alliot
Gayle Evers Gayle Evers ... Bassett
Elizabeth Patterson ... Hester
Learn more

More Like This 

Morning Glory (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When a naively innocent, aspiring actress arrives on the Broadway scene, she is taken under the wing of several theater veterans who mentor her to ultimate success.

Director: Lowell Sherman
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Adolphe Menjou
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When her father decides to flee to England, young Sylvia Scarlett must become Sylvester Scarlett and protect her father every step of the way, with the questionable help of plenty others.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Brian Aherne
Spitfire (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Mountain girl Trigger Hicks, a fierce loner equally handy with a rock or a prayer, is in danger of having her faith-healing mistaken for witchcraft by the neighbors. She shows a vulnerable ... See full summary »

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Robert Young, Ralph Bellamy
Alice Adams (1935)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The misadventures of two social-climbing women in small town America.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A famous female flier and a member of Parliament drift into a potentially disastrous affair.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Colin Clive, Billie Burke
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Franz Roberti is a famous orchestra conductor who has a number of girlfriends. While talking with his old music teacher, Professor Thalma, he meets Constance, an aspiring music composer. ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Moeller
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Charles Boyer, John Beal
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Journalist Steve O'Malley wants to write a biography of a national hero who died when his car ran off a bridge. Steve receives conflicting reports and tales that make him question what the truth about the hero is.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Richard Whorf
Stage Door (1937)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A chronicle of the ambitions, dreams, and disappointments of aspiring actresses who all live in the same boarding house.

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In rural 1840's Scotland, Gavin Dishart arrives to become the new "little minister" of Thrums's Auld Licht church. He meets a mysterious young gypsy girl in the dens and to his horror ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, John Beal, Alan Hale
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The story revolves around Pamela, as a woman in late-1800's England who has no intention of marriage and wishes to be her own person. After a great deal of difficulty in finding a job, she ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Herbert Marshall, Elizabeth Allan
Holiday (1938)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man in love with a girl from a rich family finds his unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson

Photos

Edit

Storyline

After spending fifteen years in an asylum, Hilary Fairfield escapes from the institution after regaining his sanity. He finds that things at home are different than when he left them. His wife has divorced him and is already planning her next marriage, and his daughter has grown up throughout the years and is planning to marry as well. Written by Pablo Garcia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only a few times in his career has S.L. Rothafel, "Roxy" stepped out into public print to praise a picture. Each year there is one "greatest" (Print Ad- New York Evening Post, ((New York NY)) 30 September 1932)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When Katharine Hepburn was interviewed at length by Dick Cavett, she told a story. Most of her life, her favourite off-camera outfit was dungarees and whatever sort of comfortable top seemed appropriate. When she was working on this first film, the studio PR department kept trying to get her to wear the elegant costumes from the film off the set, instead of her dungarees and sweaters. (This was a fairly common practise, since photos of the actors at nightclubs and fancy restaurants in the gowns and clothing they would wear in the film made good PR when they appeared in newspapers and screen magazines.) She refused. They said that they'd hide her dungarees while she was on the set, so that she'd have to wear the fancy duds. She said that she said "Oh, I REALLY wouldn't do that." But they did. When Cavett asked "So what did you do?", she said "What else could I do? I walked across the lot to the car waiting for me at the front gate in my underpants." Her dungarees were returned the next day. See more »

Goofs

'Katharine Hepburn' is misspelled in the credits as 'Katherine Hepburn'. See more »

Quotes

Sydney Fairfield: It's in our blood, isn't it?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Sydney Fairfield is the name of Katharine Hepburn's character in the film, but ner name is spelled Sidney in the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Good King Wenceslas
(uncredited)
Traditional Christmas carol
Modern lyrics by John M. Neale (as J.M. Neale) (1853) and Thomas Helmore (uncredited)
Sung by carollers on Christmas Eve
See more »

User Reviews

 
A Fragile Psyche
7 May 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Though this is the second screen version of Clemence Dane's play A Bill of Divorcement, it's the version that we all remember because it is the film that gave us the director/actress combination of George Cukor and Katharine Hepburn who would then rack up nine more joint ventures in almost fifty years.

Sad to say the play is an old fashioned melodrama that dates pretty badly and it's not really good screen material with the nearly the whole short 70 minute film taking place on only one set. Neither Cukor or Hepburn have quite mastered the screen technique. But the talent and charm were there and it's no wonder Kate had the lengthy career she did.

Though he enters the film when it's nearly a third over, when John Barrymore comes in, he dominates the proceedings. He's a shell shocked World War I veteran returning home after years in an asylum. By that time his wife Billie Burke is in love with another man, Paul Cavanaugh, and is ready to serve Barrymore with divorce papers, hence the title.

Barrymore seems cured, but it doesn't take much to set his fragile psyche out of kilter. What are both Burke and Hepburn to do as it comes out that insanity is prevalent in Barrymore's family tree?

Though the story is very dated, the power of the performances will keep you interested. Quite a lot is packed into a classic film that has an unusually short running time.


17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 37 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Bill of Divorcement See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed