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Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)

Approved | | Drama | 19 November 1947 (USA)
Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Oresteia set in New England, after the American Civil War.

Director:

Dudley Nichols

Writer:

Eugene O'Neill (play)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosalind Russell ... Lavinia Mannon
Michael Redgrave ... Orin Mannon
Raymond Massey ... Brig. Gen. Ezra Mannon
Katina Paxinou ... Christine Mannon
Leo Genn ... Adam Brant
Kirk Douglas ... Peter Niles
Nancy Coleman ... Hazel Niles
Henry Hull ... Seth Beckwith
Sara Allgood ... Adam Brant's Landlady
Thurston Hall ... Dr. Blake
Walter Baldwin ... Amos Ames
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Hills
Erskine Sanford ... Josiah Borden
Jimmy Conlin ... Abner Small
Lee Baker Lee Baker ... Reverend Hills
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Storyline

Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Oresteia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamemnon, Brigadier General Ezra Mannon (Raymond Massey) comes home to his unhappy wife Christine (Katina Paxinou) and loving daughter Lavinia (Rosalind Russell). But Lavinia's ex-suitor, Adam Brant (Leo Genn), has become Christine's lover, and together Adam and Christine plot to poison Ezra. When they succeed, Lavinia turns to her brother Orin (Sir Michael Redgrave) to help bring the lovers to justice, but when they succeed, Orin goes mad and his suicide note may come between Lavinia and her new suitor, Peter Niles (Kirk Douglas). Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...Mother and daughter in love with the same man ... rivals in ruthlessness even to murder! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$435,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Mourning Becomes Electra" by Eugene O'Neill opened at the Guild Theater on October 26, 1931, ran for one hundred fifty performances and was revived in 1932 and 1972. See more »

Goofs

While Orin is standing by a bench where Lavinia is seated, he holds his hat by his side and drops it. It just lies there on the dirt path as he sits down, and he doesn't pick it up. See more »

Quotes

Orin Mannon: You folks at home take death so solemnly. You have to learn to mock or go crazy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

After its original "roadshow" engagement in 1947, where the full 173-minute version was shown (with an intermission), "Mourning Becomes Electra" was cut to 121 minutes for the remainder of its theatrical run. This version is not available for television, but does exist in 16mm prints. See more »

Connections

Version of Trauer muß Elektra tragen (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
See more »

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User Reviews

One example of something Film can offer, and so rarely does
10 February 2005 | by Jack_MeSee all my reviews

I found this film fascinating, stimulating, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Though I have not ever seen a stage production of the O'Neil original, this nearly 3 hour long film seemed to be essentially a filmed version of that play. And for that I thank the filmmakers of this production, actors, directors, producers and studio. In reviewing other's opinions about this film, I am amazed that so often the negative criticisms concern exactly those strengths I found in this film. That it was not full of artificially cooked-up "atmosphere" from Steiner (whom I do truly respect and enjoy elsewhere), that it was not full of quick cuts and microscopic closeups was something I found wonderful. That it was confined essentially to a very few sets was also wonderful. Those sets were very detailed and not skimpy at all. This was a filmed play! That some should state that as a negative is beyond me. There are so many films (even in this film's release era of 1947) available to so many people in so many areas, but how many of us have been lucky enough to experience a great playwright's work, brought to life by great acting and delivery? Far far fewer folks, in far far fewer venues, and far far fewer locations. This then is what I mean when I say that this film was one example of something Film can offer and so rarely does. The opportunity to experience a play!

And what a wonderful experience it was. The acting was terrific. After more than one scene between Christina and Lavinia, I fairly exclaimed with pleasure at the dramatic interplay between the two. What some called disdainfully "overacting", I found thrilling and stimulating. After all, one is not watching a home movie of one's family or friends. So called "realism" in many modern films is in my mind vastly overrated. A work of film, or of the stage, should be "realistic" it is true, but should not ever be so real as to distract from the art itself.

Tastes change and film-making is an industry to make money like other manufacturing methods. But part of the admiration for what is often called the "Golden Age of Hollywood" is attributable to the then less uncommon understanding that "Art" was as valid the goal as earning a profit! At least by the people involved in the acting and production, if not by the investors themselves. Sure there are occasionally great films made today, and there were plenty of "B" pictures made then too, but to critically dismiss this film for not being something other than what it was, is to miss the point I feel.

Rosiland Russell Rules! JACK in Maine


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