AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Divorce
Director: William Nigh (Dir)
Release Date:   18 Aug 1945
Production Date:   19 Feb--early Mar 1945
Duration (in mins):   70-71
Duration (in feet):   6,374
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Cast:   Kay Francis (Diane Carter)  
    Bruce Cabot (Bob Phillips)  
    Helen Mack (Martha Phillips)  
    Jerome Cowan (Judge Jim Driscoll)  
    Craig Reynolds (Bill Endicott)  
    Ruth Lee (Liz Smith)  
    Jean Fenwick (Joan Endicott)  
    Mary Gordon (Ellen)  
    Larry Olsen (Michael Phillips)  
    Johnny Calkins (Bobby Phillips)  
    Jonathan Hale (Judge Conlon)  
    Addison Richards (Plummer)  
    Reid Kilpatrick (Andy Cole)  
    Leonard Mudie (Harvey Hicks)  
    Virginia Wave (Secretary)  
    Napoleon Simpson (Porter)  

Summary: After being granted her fourth divorce, socialite Diane Carter decides to leave Chicago and return to her hometown of Hillsboro, Illinois. She soon sets her sights on her childhood boyfriend, Bob Phillips, despite the fact that he has been happily married to his wife Martha for ten years and has two young sons, Bobby and Michael. Her arrival in Hillsboro coincides with Bob and Martha's wedding anniversary, and though Bob does not recognize her at first, Diane quickly acquires the recently returned veteran's total attention. Diane then decides to settle in Hillsboro, and retains Bob's services as a real estate agent to find her an apartment. In order insinuate herself further into Bob's household, Diane asks Martha to help furnish her new apartment. Later, Bob and Diane form a highly successful partnership in real estate development and speculation. While their good friends, Jim Driscoll and Liz Smith, finally announce their long-awaited engagement, Martha begins to realize that she is losing her husband to Diane. Later, Bob and Diane take his two sons on a picnic, and, while his father's attention is on Diane, Bobby is hit by a car as he rides his new bicycle. Afterward, Martha forces Bob to admit his feelings for Diane, so she announces her intentions to seek a divorce. Though her friends try to convince her to change her mind, Martha proceeds with the divorce. Bob is granted only a single Saturday each month to visit with his sons, but he spends the first one in Chicago, gambling with Diane. The two are caught in a police raid, however, and the resulting local scandal jeopardizes their real estate development. In the meantime, Martha rejects Bob's alimony checks, taking instead a job as a clerk in a Hillsboro department store. With the real estate deal going sour, Diane arranges her own financing for the project, over Bob's objections. Bob's investors are then forced to sell out to Diane's people, and despite their significant profits, they voice their disapproval. Bob and Diane make plans to leave Hillsboro, but when he fails to return to her on time from his visitation with Bobby and Michael, Diane rushes to the Phillips home, where she overhears Bob being "court-martialed" by his sons for "desertion." Realizing that she has lost Bob to his family, Diane tells Martha that she is leaving town on the next train. On the way back to Chicago, Diane finally comes to realize the unpleasant type of person she has become. 

Production Company: Monogram Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Monogram Pictures Corp.  
Director: William Nigh (Dir)
  Richard Harlan (Asst dir)
Producer: Trem Carr (Exec dir)
  Jeffrey Bernerd (Prod)
  Kay Francis (Prod)
Writer: Harvey H. Gates (Scr)
  Sidney Sutherland (Scr)
  Sidney Sutherland (Orig story)
Photography: Harry Neumann (Photog)
  William Margulies (2d cam)
Art Direction: Dave Milton (Tech dir)
Film Editor: Richard Currier (Supv ed)
Set Decoration: Vin Taylor (Set dresser)
Costumes: Odette Myrtil (Miss Francis' gowns by)
  Keneth Hopkins (Miss Francis' hats by)
  Lorraine MacLean (Stylist)
Music: Edward J. Kay (Mus dir)
Sound: Tom Lambert (Rec)
  Joseph I. Kane (Re-rec and eff mixer)
  William H. Wilmarth (Mus mixer)
Production Misc: William Strohbach (Prod mgr)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Monogram Pictures Corp. 2/6/1945 dd/mm/yyyy LP13695

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

 
Genre: Melodrama
 
Subjects (Major): Childhood sweethearts
  Divorce
  Family relationships
  Marriage
  Neglected children
  Romantic rivalry
 
Subjects (Minor): Alimony
  Chicago (IL)
  Department stores
  Engagements
  Gambling houses
  Judges
  Lawyers
  Parties
  Picnicking
  Police raids
  Real estate
  Separation (Marital)
  Trains
  Trials
  Veterans
  Wedding anniversaries

Note: The film begins with the following written foreword: "MARRIAGE--entered into with such high hopes--such promise of happiness. Then--too often--DIVORCE--which solves no problems--merely creating new ones--And--in its wake, leaves disillusionment, heartbreak, despair--Of such is our story..." Actor Johnny Calkins' name was incorrectly spelled "Johny" in the onscreen credits. According to the Var review, this was the first independent film produced by Jeffrey Bernerd and Kay Francis' unit at Monogram.
       A HR news item reported in Sep 1944 that Alfred Zeisler had been signed by Monogram to direct the film, and Paul Kelly was to co-star with Francis. Zeisler, however, was replaced by William Nigh, and Bruce Cabot was cast in the male lead. According to a Jul 1944 LAEx news item, the inspiration for this film was provided by a newspaper cartoon by Percy Crosby, entitled "Break Up", which showed "an unhappy child torn between his father and mother." Crosby, however, received no writing or story credit. HR production charts include Clarence Muse and Barbara Woodell in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   26 May 1945.   
Daily Variety   18 May 45   p. 3.
Film Daily   23 May 45   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Sep 1944.   
Hollywood Reporter   18 Jan 1945.   
Hollywood Reporter   23 Feb 45   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   18 May 45   p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner   14 Jul 1944.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   10 Mar 45   p. 2353.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 May 45   p. 2465.
Variety   17 Oct 45   p. 8.

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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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