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The Life of Vergie Winters (1934)

Passed | | Drama | 22 June 1934 (USA)
John Shadwell, a promising politician, is married to Laura but is in love with Vergie Winters, a milliner from his home town. As Shadwell's political career blooms, gossip and rumors begin ... See full summary »


Alfred Santell


Jane Murfin (screen play), Louis Bromfield (story)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ann Harding ... Vergie Winters
John Boles ... John Shadwell
Helen Vinson ... Laura Shadwell
Betty Furness ... Joan Shadwell
Frank Albertson ... Ranny Truesdale
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Hugo McQueen (as Creighton Chaney)
Sara Haden ... Winnie Belle
Molly O'Day ... Sadie
Ben Alexander ... Barry Preston
Donald Crisp ... Mike Davey
Maidel Turner ... Ella Heenan
Cecil Cunningham ... Pearl Turner
Wesley Barry ... Herbert Somerby
Edward Van Sloan ... Jim Winters
Josephine Whittell ... Madame Claire


John Shadwell, a promising politician, is married to Laura but is in love with Vergie Winters, a milliner from his home town. As Shadwell's political career blooms, gossip and rumors begin to cause Vergie to be shunned by the women of the town. Soon the two are constantly faced with the threat of exposure and scandal. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


CAN A MAN EVER KNOW WHAT A WOMAN GOES THROUGH...FOR LOVE! (Print ad- Albany Times-Union, ((Albany, NY)) 7 July 1934)




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

22 June 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vergie Winters See more »


Box Office


$331,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


On July 7, 1934, The National Legion of Decency condemned the film as "immoral and indecent." Subsequently, the film was boycotted by the Catholic Church list and banned in Chicago. See more »


[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Herbert Somerby: Gee, Sadie, you're just as pretty as you always were. And those city clothes...
Sadie: They're kinda loud, don't you think?
Herbert Somerby: They're swell. Up-to-date. And you're a swell kiddo.
Sadie: You're kinda nice yourself, Herbie.
Herbert Somerby: You didn't get engaged to any guy in Chicago, did you?
Sadie: No. Those Chicago guys ain't my kind. I'm just a small town girl, I guess.
See more »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
Played at the election rally
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User Reviews

Ann Harding pre-code tearjerker features the surprise casting of Lon Chaney Jr.
4 July 2015 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

1934's "The Life of Vergie Winters" was an RKO vehicle for fading early talkie star Ann Harding, well cast as an unselfish woman, Virgie Winters, foolishly cast aside by her former lover John Shadwell (John Boles), who was told by Vergie's father Jim (Edward Van Sloan) that she intended to marry his assistant, good natured Hugo McQueen (Lon Chaney Jr.). Marrying on the rebound to Laura (Helen Vinson), whose father offered Vergie's father $10,000 to assure that the wedding take place, John later returns to Vergie to proclaim his true love, after she has made a success selling hats to ladies in a millinery shop. Vergie does not want any scandal attached to John's name as his rise in politics is swift and assured, John's wife only interested in the prestige of being Mrs. John Shadwell. Vergie even goes so far as to give up her love child with John, sending their newborn daughter off to Washington to live with her father, remaining ignorant of her parentage throughout childhood (future Nancy Drew Bonita Granville enjoys a showy bit as the young Joan Shadwell). Only at the end, after John attends his daughter's wedding, does he attempt to make a clean break from his clinging spouse, who has known about his affair with Vergie for many years, and refuses to grant him a divorce. Everything that female moviegoers would expect from such a story is present, right through to the expectedly downbeat finale, so it's up to the cast to offer their own interpretations to carry off various subplots (a bit too many I should think). Appearing uncredited is Walter Brennan, whose timely bit of spying precipitates Vergie's fall from grace with the town gossips, as well as the unmistakable Edwin Maxwell, cast in his usual role as orator (I guess John Carradine was unavailable). Speaking of Carradine, his future co-star Lon Chaney is present in the 6th billed role of Hugo McQueen, still billed under his real name, Creighton Chaney (this was only his 8th film), a nice change of pace though on screen (until the very end) for only the first 15 minutes (still at his original studio, RKO). Ann Harding's performance in the title role is certainly acceptable, but the film was not the hoped-for box office success she anticipated, the newly enforced Hays code preventing such adult frankness in future movie projects.

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