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The Light That Failed (1939)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, War | 24 December 1939 (USA)
Dick Heldar, a London artist, is gradually losing his sight. He struggles to complete his masterpiece, the portrait of Bessie Broke, a cockney girl, before his eyesight fails him.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Robert Carson (screen play), Rudyard Kipling (based on the novel by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronald Colman ... Dick Heldar
Walter Huston ... Torpenhow
Muriel Angelus ... Maisie
Ida Lupino ... Bessie Broke
Dudley Digges ... The Nilghai
Ernest Cossart ... Beeton
Ferike Boros ... Madame Binat
Pedro de Cordoba ... Monsieur Binat
Colin Tapley ... Gardner
Ronald Sinclair ... Dick as a Boy
Sarita Wooton Sarita Wooton ... Maisie as a Girl
Halliwell Hobbes ... Doctor
Charles Irwin Charles Irwin ... Soldier Model
Francis McDonald ... George
George Regas ... Cassavetti
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Storyline

Dick Heldar, a London artist, is gradually losing his sight. He struggles to complete his masterpiece, the portrait of Bessie Broke, a cockney girl, before his eyesight fails him. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Rudyard Kipling's great romance of Dick Heldar, artist, adventurer, gentleman unafraid, gloriously re-created by the world's most distinguished cast! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Luz Que Se Apaga See more »

Filming Locations:

Espanola, New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio poster's tagline was:"Only RUDYARD KIPLING could write such a romance! Only RONALD COLMAN could play such a role!". See more »

Goofs

At c.16 minutes the English newspaper displays the American spelling of the word "vigour". See more »

Quotes

Dick Heldar: Painting is seeing, then remembering better than you saw.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Light That Failed (1916) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Tragic Life Of Richard Heldar
27 August 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Light That Failed was the second of a two picture deal Ronald Colman made with Paramount after getting shed of his contract to Sam Goldwyn. Hard to choose between this and If I Were King the other film that was part of the deal as to which was better. I won't even try.

Colman essays the part of Richard Heldar who, but for a tragic accident might have gone on to be acclaimed one of the great artists of the 19th century. The film is based on the first published novel by Rudyard Kipling and according to the Citadel Film series book The Films Of Ronald Colman, this film stayed truer to the story that Kipling told than two previous silent screen versions.

While a pictorial correspondent covering the British war in the Sudan against the Mahdi, Colman is accidentally cut on the forehead by a blade wielding Walter Huston during a battle. A slow moving injury to the optic nerve degenerates Colman's vision, but he's determined to paint on while he can.

Two women are involved with Colman, long time childhood sweetheart Muriel Angelus and tart in every sense of the word Ida Lupino who serves as a model for Colman. Lupino had to battle for this part, director William Wellman wanted her, Colman wanted Vivien Leigh. As much as I like Vivien Leigh, I can't see her doing this part better than Lupino did.

The film really is a personal vehicle for Ronald Colman who typifies the British ideal, it's how they see themselves, it's the image they like to convey to the world. Colman does dominate this film as he usually does in his films.

And as entertainment it holds up well after more than 70 years, don't miss The Light That Failed if you are a fan of Ronald Colman.


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