AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Alternate Title: But to Die
Director: Alfred E. Green (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Dec 1935
Duration (in mins):   78 or 80
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Bette Davis (Joyce Heath)  
    Franchot Tone (Don Bellows)  
    Margaret Lindsay (Gail Armitage)  
    Alison Skipworth (Mrs. Williams)  
    John Eldredge (Gordon Heath)  
    Dick Foran (Teddy)  
    Walter Walker (Roger Farnsworth)  
    Richard Carle (Pitt Hanley)  
    George Irving (Charles Melton)  
    Pierre Watkin (George Sheffield)  
    Douglas Wood (Elmont)  
    William Davidson (Reed Walsh)  
    Milton Kibbee (Chauffeur)  
    George Andre Beranger (Waiter)  
    Larry McGrath (Waiter)  
    Frank O'Connor (Bartender)  
    Mike Morita (Carlos)  
    Eddie Shubert (Foreman)  
    Florence Fair (Secretary)  
    Pauline Garon (Maid)  
    Gordon Elliott (Male lead)  
    Libby Taylor (Beulah)  
    Craig Reynolds (Reporter)  
    Edward Keane (Doctor)  
    Mary Treen (Nurse)  
    Helen Ericson (Nurse)  
    Alma Lloyd (Nurse)  

Summary: Don Bellows, a prominent New York architect, is engaged to the beautiful and wealthy Gail Armitage, when he meets down-and-out Joyce Heath, who was once the most promising young actress on Broadway. Don feels deeply indebted to Joyce because her performance as Juliet inspired him to become an architect. While rehabilitating her, Don falls in love with the tempestuous actress. Joyce warns him that she is a jinx, convinced that she destroys anything and anyone she touches. Compelled to save her, Don breaks his engagement to Gail and risks his fortune to back the actress in a Broadway show. Before opening night, he insists that they marry, but Joyce resists his proposal, hiding the fact that she is still married to Gordon Heath, an ineffectual but devoted man who was financially ruined by their marriage. Joyce goes to Gordon and begs him for a divorce. When he refuses, she causes an automobile accident that cripples him for life. Her own injuries keep her from opening the show, which fails. Don is ruined, and when he learns that Joyce has deceived him, he accuses her of being a completely selfish woman, her only true jinx. Joyce briefly considers suicide, but eventually sees the truth in Don's accusation. She re-opens the show and, although she truly loves Don, sends him away to marry Gail. The show is a success, and Joyce, now dedicated to a responsible life, goes to visit Gordon and salvage her marriage. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
  The Vitaphone Corp.  
Director: Alfred E. Green (Dir)
  Russ Saunders (Asst dir)
Producer: Jack L. Warner (Exec prod)
  Hal B. Wallis (Exec prod)
  Harry Joe Brown (Supv)
Writer: Laird Doyle (Story and scr)
Photography: Ernest Haller (Photog)
Art Direction: Hugh Reticker (Art dir)
Film Editor: Thomas Richards (Film ed)
Costumes: Orry-Kelly (Gowns)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
  Bernhard Kaun (Mus score)
Production Misc: Harry Barnhouse (Grip)
  W. H. Patterson (Props)
  Mac Julian (Still photog)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 2/1/1936 dd/mm/yyyy LP6028

PCA NO: 1554
Physical Properties: Sd:

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Actors and actresses
  Moral reformation
Subjects (Minor): Attempted suicide
  Automobile accidents

Note: The working title of the film was Hard Luck Dame . According to Warner Bros. files, other suggested titles were The Jinx Woman , Tomorrow Ends , But to Die , Forever Ends at Dawn , Strange Woman , Strange Star and Evil Star . The last title was suggested by Bette Davis. Bette Davis won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance. Contemporary and modern critics speculate that Davis was awarded the Oscar as much for her performance in RKO's 1934 film Of Human Bondage for which she was not even nominated, as for her work in this picture. Alison Skipworth was borrowed from Paramount and Franchot Tone from M-G-M for the film. Dangerous was remade by Warner Bros. in 1941 as Singapore Woman , starring Brenda Marshall and directed by Jean Negulesco. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   18 Nov 35   p. 3.
Film Daily   6 Nov 35   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Nov 35   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   19 Nov 35   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   26 Oct 35   p. 57.
Motion Picture Herald   30 Nov 35   p. 63.
New York Times   27 Dec 35   p. 14.
Variety   1 Jan 36   p. 44.

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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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