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Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)

Approved | | Drama | 19 November 1947 (USA)
Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Oresteia set in New England, after the American Civil War.

Director:

Dudley Nichols

Writer:

Eugene O'Neill (play)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosalind Russell ... Lavinia Mannon
Michael Redgrave ... Orin Mannon
Raymond Massey ... Brig. Gen. Ezra Mannon
Katina Paxinou ... Christine Mannon
Leo Genn ... Adam Brant
Kirk Douglas ... Peter Niles
Nancy Coleman ... Hazel Niles
Henry Hull ... Seth Beckwith
Sara Allgood ... Adam Brant's Landlady
Thurston Hall ... Dr. Blake
Walter Baldwin ... Amos Ames
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Hills
Erskine Sanford ... Josiah Borden
Jimmy Conlin ... Abner Small
Lee Baker ... Reverend Hills
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Storyline

Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Oresteia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamemnon, Brigadier General Ezra Mannon (Raymond Massey) comes home to his unhappy wife Christine (Katina Paxinou) and loving daughter Lavinia (Rosalind Russell). But Lavinia's ex-suitor, Adam Brant (Leo Genn), has become Christine's lover, and together Adam and Christine plot to poison Ezra. When they succeed, Lavinia turns to her brother Orin (Sir Michael Redgrave) to help bring the lovers to justice, but when they succeed, Orin goes mad and his suicide note may come between Lavinia and her new suitor, Peter Niles (Kirk Douglas). Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Mother and Daughter Loving the Same Man! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$435,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although billed ninth in the credits, Sara Allgood appeared only in one scene as Adam Brant's (Leo Genn's) landlady in New York City, and does not have a single line of dialogue. She is only seen climbing the stairs in one shot less than ten seconds long. See more »

Goofs

While Orin is standing by a bench where Lavinia is seated, he holds his hat by his side and drops it. It just lies there on the dirt path as he sits down, and he doesn't pick it up. See more »

Quotes

Orin Mannon: You folks at home take death so solemnly. You have to learn to mock or go crazy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

After its original "roadshow" engagement in 1947, where the full 173-minute version was shown (with an intermission), "Mourning Becomes Electra" was cut to 121 minutes for the remainder of its theatrical run. This version is not available for television, but does exist in 16mm prints. See more »

Connections

Version of Il lutto si addice ad Elettra (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Most Interesting
10 March 2003 | by kathy5353853See all my reviews

I have seen this movie in bits and pieces over the years and therefore had seen the entire film before. But not all at once. Tonight I did. For those who know the original ancient Greek plays that this was taken from, it enhances the modernizing that Eugene O'Neill did with his treatise. It is, in and of itself, a brilliant literary work. This story, whether in the old Greek, or the 20th century version (the writing of it), is a daunting tale to tell for any actor. For my tastes, the women in this film were over the top. Fine actresses both, Katrina Paxinou as Christine the mother, and Rosalind Russell as Lavinia the daughter (or Electra), they perhaps could have used the help of a better director. The men were all fine. Though Raymond Massey's greatest contribution was his wonderful movie presence. But to watch Michael Redgrave's amazing performance was worth every other flaw. He took a part that was, indeed, full of words, and made them flow so naturally from his mouth, that I believed people DID speak that way. And with that wonderful naturalness, he achieved such depth of emotion! Love, anger, fear, hatred, and guilt to the point of paranoia and virtual insanity. I have seen other movies of his, and have always understood, simply enough, how his progeny became such fine actors. Sir Michael Redgrave was an actor that could bury himself in any part. But I saw this performance, just now, as if for the first time. So real, so believable, so brilliant.


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