AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Wedding Night
Alternate Title: Broken Soil
Director: King Vidor (Dir)
Release Date:   8 Mar 1935
Production Date:   early Nov--early Dec 1934
Duration (in mins):   81-82, 85 or 90
Duration (in reels):   9
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Cast:   Gary Cooper (Tony Barrett)  
    Anna Sten (Manya Novak)  
    Ralph Bellamy (Fredrik)  
    Helen Vinson (Dora Barrett)  
    Siegfried Rumann (Mr. Novak)  
    Esther Dale (Mrs. Kaise Novak)  
    Leonid Snegoff (Sobieski)  
    Eleanor Wesselhoeft (Mrs. Sobieski)  
    Milla Davenport (Grandmother)  
    Agnes Anderson (Helena)  
    Hilda Vaughn (Hezzie)  
    Walter Brennan (Bill Jenkins)  
    Hedi Shope (Anna)  
    Otto Yamaoka (Taka)  
    Violet Axelle (Frederika)  
    Ed Eberle (Uncle)  
    Robert Louis Stevenson II (Man at party)  
    Auguste Tollaire (Man at party)  
    Dave Wengren (Man at party)  
    George Magrill (Man at party)  
    Bernard Siegel (Man at party)  
    Harry Semels (Man at party)  
    Miami Alvarez (Guest at party)  
    Constance Howard (Guest at party)  
    Jay Eaton (Guest at party)  
    Jay Belasco (Guest at party)  
    Richard Powell (Truck driver)  
    Douglas Wood (Heywood)  
    George Meeker (Gilly)  
    Robert Bolder (Doctor)  
    Alphonse Martell (Waiter)  

Summary: Novelist Tony Barrett and his wife Dora have huge bills to pay because of their fast New York lifestyle, so he is eager to get an advance on his newest novel. When his publisher tells him that success has gone to his head and the novel is unpublishable, however, Tony has no choice but to move to his family's run-down farm in Connecticut. Shortly after he and Dora arrive, Polish farmer Mr. Novak and his attractive daughter Manya visit and offer Tony $5,000 for a field bordering the Novak farm. Dora is delighted with the money and wants them both to go back to New York, but Tony decides to stay and write another novel, using the Novaks and their neighbors as models. After some weeks, Tony, who has been drinking heavily, tells Manya that she is not in love with Fredrik, the young man whom her father has chosen as her husband, and makes suggestive remarks that anger her. The next day he goes to apologize and the two begin a close friendship. After Tony's servant Taka quits to return to New York, Manya begins spending more time at Tony's farm and the two fall in love, like "Stephen" and "Sonya," the characters in his story. When Fredrik learns from a neighbor that Manya has been seen "laughing" in Tony's parlor, he and her father forbid her to see him again. She secretly continues to see Tony, however, and when a blizzard prevents her from returning home one night, her father angrily confronts Tony at his farm the next morning. As Manya and Novak return home, he demands that she marry Fredrik the following Monday. She protests that she will not spend her life being an unpaid servant like her mother, but Novak slaps her. The same day, Tony is surprised by the return of Dora, who has missed him terribly during their separation. She hears stories about the previous night, but hopes that they mean nothing until she reads his manuscript. On the night before her wedding, Manya goes to see Tony, but finds Dora instead. The two speak of the book and how it will end, but both realize that they are really speaking about their own lives. After Dora gently tells Manya that she is sure that "Daphne," the wife in Tony's novel, would not give up "Stephen," but would feel very sorry for "Sonya," Manya tells her about the wedding, then leaves. Later, when Tony returns home, he and Dora talk and he asks for a divorce, but she refuses and tells him that the end of his story should have "Sonya" marry her Polish fiancĂ©. When Tony learns the next evening that Manya and Fredrik are being married, he goes to the wedding party and dances with her, then leaves. Later, when a very drunk Fredrik is angered by Manya's lack of responsiveness, he storms out of their bedroom and goes to Tony's house. Manya follows, and as she tries to stop Fredrik from fighting with Tony on the stairs, she falls. Tony carries her to the parlor, where he tells her he loves her. After Manya dies and her grieving family leaves, Dora goes to Tony to tell him that he can now see Manya privately. As he looks out the window, he tells Dora about how full of life Manya was and imagines that she is waving to him. When he turns around, he sees that Dora has gone. 

Production Company: Howard Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: King Vidor (Dir)
  Walter Mayo (Asst dir)
Producer: Samuel Goldwyn (Prod)
Writer: Edith Fitzgerald (Scr)
  Edwin Knopf (Orig story)
Photography: Gregg Toland (Photog)
Art Direction: Richard Day (Art dir)
Film Editor: Stuart Heisler (Film ed)
Costumes: Omar Kiam (Cost)
Music: Alfred Newman (Mus dir)
Sound: Frank Maher (Sd rec)
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Samuel Goldwyn 4/3/1935 dd/mm/yyyy LP5366 Yes

PCA NO: 640
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Farmers
  Fathers and daughters
  Polish Americans
Subjects (Minor): Battered women
  New York City
  Japanese Americans

Note: MPH lists a preview running time of 90 min. According to a pre-production chart in HF , the film was originally entitled Broken Soil . Another HF chart credits Edwin Knopf and "Richmond" as the writers, however, Richmond's name does not appear elsewhere and neither that person's full name or participation in the released film has been confirmed. An HR news item in Jul 1936 noted that Samuel Goldwyn had just won the Mussolini Cup for The Wedding Day , which was presented to him by Los Angeles' Italian consul, Ernesto Arrighi. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   15 Feb 35   p. 3.
Film Daily   19 Feb 35   p. 6.
HF   8 Sep 34   p. 8.
HF   27 Oct 34   p. 8.
HF   1 Dec 34   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Oct 34   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Oct 34   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Feb 35   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jul 36   p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily   16 Feb 35   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   19 Jan 35   p. 67.
Motion Picture Herald   23 Feb 35   p. 54.
New York Times   16 Mar 35   p. 19.
Variety   20 Mar 35   p. 17.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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