28 user 8 critic

Strange Interlude (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 14 June 1934 (France)
After Nina Leeds finds out that insanity runs in her husband's family, she has a love child with a handsome doctor and lets her husband believes the child is his.


Robert Z. Leonard (uncredited)


Eugene O'Neill (from the play by)
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Norma Shearer ... Nina Leeds
Clark Gable ... Ned Darrell
Alexander Kirkland ... Sam Evans
Ralph Morgan ... Charlie Marsden
Robert Young ... Gordon as a Young Man
May Robson ... Mrs. Evans
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Madeline
Henry B. Walthall ... Professor Leeds
Mary Alden ... Maid
Tad Alexander ... Gordon as a Child


The thoughts that people think are never the same as the words they speak - and in this movie, we can hear the thoughts. Gordon Shaw was a flyer who was shot down and killed during WWI. Nina would have married him before he left, but her father forbade the marriage. Charlie is a friend, but Nina does not love him and he is too timid- too shy - to tell her the way that he feels about her. Sam is her husband and her love disappears after the ceremony when she finds out that there is mental illness in his family and that there can be no children. To have the child she wants, but cannot have with Sam, she has a secret affair with Ned, who wants her to leave Sam. Gordon is the result of the affair, but he does not know Ned is his real father. Nina continues to play with the emotions of all three men and devote herself only to Gordon. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 June 1934 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Strange Interval See more »


Box Office


$654,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film did only fair at the box office, earning MGM a profit of $90,000 ($1.54M in 2017) according to studio records. Initially released as a "roadshow" attraction in the major cities, with two showings a day at "advanced" prices ($1.50 top), and all seats reserved, mostly positive reviews, and an inevitable initial curiosity failed to compensate for the all too frequent giggles at the asides, and a general downbeat reaction resulted as it quickly and quietly slid to the second-run and less prestigious smaller venues. See more »


After Charlie's last line in the film, a shadow of the boom microphone can be seen moving off the back of the wicker chair before the camera starts pulling back. See more »


Dr. Ned Darrell: You've got to give up owning people. Meddling in their lives as if you were God and had created them.
See more »


Spoofed in Me and My Gal (1932) See more »


The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played at the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

Aside with Norma Shearer
25 January 2009 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

On stage, "Strange Interlude" was a nine-act "triple play", with time to leave for supper (and a nap). It was a success, and won the 1928 "Pulitzer Prize" for drama. Writer Eugene O'Neill used a Greek gimmick to nice effect - the characters would speak their "true thoughts" in asides, while the rest of the cast froze...

For this movie version, Robert Z. Leonard has the performers reveal their "inner thoughts" in voice-overs. You will recognize the technique, which is not unusual (in smaller doses). In this film, the voice-overs are a distraction - for the most part, they reveal nothing the cast can't reveal through cinematic acting. Mr. Leonard should have considered aborting the spoken asides. Obviously, Norma Shearer (as Nina Leeds) and her stellar co-stars are capable of revealing their "inner thoughts" in close-up - so, the voice-overs are superfluous.

The film is about Shearer's love for four different men: the idealized "Gordon Shaw" (an unseen World War casualty), darkly passionate Clark Gable (as Ned Darrell), popular and successful Alexander Kirkland (as Sam Evans), and ever unrequited Ralph Morgan (as Charlie Marsden). The men have exquisitely trimmed moustaches. Shearer marries one of them - but, fearing heredity insanity will befall her child, she gets herself pregnant by another. The film does not explicitly reveal that "Nina" aborted her first pregnancy.

Photographer Lee Garmes, art director Cedric Gibbons, and the MGM crew make the production look first class all the way. Henry B. Walthall (as father Leeds), May Robson (as mother Evans), Tad Alexander (as young Gordon), Robert Young (as older Gordon), and Maureen O'Sullivan (as Madeline) offer outstanding support. Just try to edit out the "strange interludes" in your mind...

******* Strange Interlude (12/30/32) Robert Z. Leonard ~ Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Alexander Kirkland

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