THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET

Produced and Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: September 21, 1934

Featured cast: Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Charles Laughton, Una O'Connor, Maureen O'Sullivan

Producer: Irving Thalberg  
Director: Sidney Franklin
Screenwriters: Ernest Vajda, Claudine West, Donald Ogden Stewart
Source: the play by Rudolph Besier
Cinematographer: William Daniels

THEME

An invalid poetess struggles to escape her father’s domination.

PRODUCTION QUOTE

“Norma Shearer and Charles Laughton will have the leads in M-G-M’s Barretts of Wimpole Street, from the stage play. Sidney Franklin will direct.”
- “Shearer, Laughton in ‘Barretts,” Film Daily, February 26, 1934

REVIEWS

“Having enjoyed a beginning of unusual promise, the young cinema season has now crowned itself royally with a distinguished film edition of The Barretts of Wimpole Street, which was presented at the Capitol yesterday. . . . But, for the high-minded aspirations which went into its production, there can be nothing less than a shout of benediction. Hollywood could make no more fitting answer to her critics than this. Miss Shearer's Elizabeth is a brave and touching piece of acting, and she is successful in creating the illusion of a highly sensitive and delicate woman who beats her luminous wings in vain against the chains which bind her.”
- Andre Sennwald, The New York Times, September 29, 1934

“Norma Shearer, lovely, fragile Norma of Smilin' Through, gives a beautiful and sincere performance that will shine brightly in your memory for years and years to come. To me Norma will always be Elizabeth Barrett—and her first weak steps to the window to see the departure of her future husband will always be one of the most memorable scenes in pictures.”
- Silver Screen, October 1934

“Miss Norma Shearer who has the Cornell part on the screen, is remarkably fine as Elizabeth Barrett, playing with a sensitive skill that makes her perfor­mance the best of an interesting cinema career, but somehow, it is Mr. Laughton whose portrayal is trans­cendent.”
- The Literary Digest, October 13, 1934

LETTER FROM REGIONAL THEATER OWNER

“This is a very good picture of its type, but here it did not appeal to the men. It is a great love story, tender and human. The locale is England, and most of the picture takes place in the Barrett home. It is a typical English picture, being entirely too slow moving and too much talking. We had quite a few walkouts on this. But still played two days to good business.”
- J.J. Medford, Orpheum Theatre, Oxford, North Carolina, Motion Picture Herald, January 5, 1935

LETTER TO MOVIE MAGAZINE EDITOR

“Norma Shearer is First Lady of the screen. She has never been identified with anything shoddy. An orchid to Norma—a great actress but a greater woman!”
- Marie Kinne, Beacon, N.Y., “Bouquets and Brickbats,” Photoplay, November 1934

FIGURES

The Barretts of Wimpole Street cost $820,000 and grossed $2,343,000.
(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