RIPTIDE

Produced and Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: March 30, 1934

Featured cast: Norma Shearer, Herbert Marshall, Robert Montgomery

Producer: Irving Thalberg   
Director: Edmund Goulding, Robert Z. Leonard (temporary)
Screenwriter: Edmund Goulding; Charles MacArthur, Zoe Akins (uncredited)
Cinematographer: Ray June

THEME

An American woman feels neglected when her titled British husband is always away on business.

PRODUCTION QUOTE

“Herbert Marshall has been loaned for M-G-M by Paramount for Rip Tide, Irving Thalberg’s production with Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery. Edmund Goulding will direct. Charles MacArthur wrote the story.”
- “Herbert Marshall to M-G-M,” Film Daily, November 14, 1933

Note: Charles MacArthur withdrew from the project because he felt the story was insulting to Great Britain, calling it “fists across the sea.” The film was written as Lady Mary’s Lover, then finalized as Riptide.

REVIEWS

“Norma Shearer, who had the temerity to absent herself from the screen for eighteen months, is the leading light of Riptide, the Capitol's present pictorial attraction. In this film Miss Shearer and other players give performances that are emphatically more provocative than the story. As a narrative, Riptide maintains a certain interest because it holds out promise of being a triangle mix-up with an original dénouement. But, as though the author had weakened in his intentions in this respect, the bickering and recrimination eventually wind up in a routine fashion. Thus, it is a picture which depends for its entertainment very much upon its able performers, its glamourous scenic effects and periodical bright bits of dialogue. Miss Shearer displays a weakness for sartorial creations, some becoming and others quite startling. She acts with her usual vitality and charm.”
- Mordaunt Hall, “Riptide,” The New York Times, March 31, 1934

“You will not be disappointed in Norma Shearer's ‘Comeback’ film, her first in over a year, unless you are expecting a new Norma in a highly different role. The star-sophisticate appears in very much the same silken, slightly decadent, and exquisitely accoutered characterization which has won her so much box-office acclaim in the past. In fact, if you'd just dropped in from a year in the stratosphere you would never guess that you, or Norma, had been away at all. And I don't care how you take that. I am, unreasonably I suppose, disappointed in Riptide, although it fulfills all the requirements of a smart triangular comedy-drama, and it is beautifully acted. Miss Shearer, in those amazing Adrian creations, is always charmingly decorative, and her technique is flawless."
- Delight Evans, Screenland, June 1934

“Into the capable hands of Miss Shearer, Mr. Marshall and Mr. Montgomery has been placed a luscious, sloppy gob of whimsical elfishness, and they have done their honest best with it. When Mr. Marshall asks for his little daughter he has to say: 'Do I hear a little mouse somewhere?' And when he speaks to her he calls her: 'Such a very pink little rose.' No dialogue writer should do that sort of thing to any actor, not even to Rudy Vallee or Bing Crosby. If you want to kill an actor, kill him, but don't annoy him.”
- Cy Caldwell, New Outlook, May 1934

LETTERS FROM REGIONAL THEATER OWNERS

“I hope for the sake of M-G-M and Shearer that this one went over well in the big towns. It was way over the heads here. But they still come to see Shearer. However, in this case, not enough of them.”
- Robert Wile, Granada Theatre, Pearl River, New York, Motion Picture Herald, July 7, 1934

“Norma Shearer's first picture in two years must, of course, prove an event to any theater. The picture is her typed style, nothing original, but interesting. It is well mounted. Clear photography, fine backgrounds and beautiful gowns make it attractive as well as the acting of the principals. The English is a little too broad at times. The picture held up with heavy competition of a big floor show at a tavern, which means real competition in a little town.”
- Mrs. G. C. Moore, American Theatre, Harlowton, Montana, Motion Picture Herald, July 7, 1934

LETTER TO MOVIE MAGAZINE EDITOR

“Why Riptide? Such excellent players deserve a play suited to their talents. It actually hurt to see beautiful and talented Norma Shearer in such a role.”
- Florence German, 1175 West Wayne Street, Lima, Ohio, “The People’s Academy,” The New Movie Magazine, July 1934

FIGURES

Riptide cost $769,000 and grossed $1,741,000.
(These figures have not been adjusted for inflation nor do they include profits from reissues, television syndication, and home entertainment formats.)

 

Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Portraits