Cast & Crew
Eager to marry his devoted secretary, Diane Levering, New York shipping magnate Richard Field asks his wife Louise, who has been living overseas for five years, for a divorce. The socially ambitious Louise, however, refuses to give up her position to Diane and denies Richard's request. Although Diane insists that she will continue to love him without the benefit of marriage, Richard asks her to contemplate her choices while cruising to South America on one of his boats. Diane agrees to the cruise, but vows to return to New York unchanged. Soon after sailing from New York, Diane meets Johnny Smith in the ship's bar and firmly rejects his flirtations. Determined, Johnny asks his smooth-talking best friend, Mike Bradley, for help, but is double-crossed when Mike treats him like a masher in front of Diane. Mike's victory is short-lived, however, as Diane later overhears him laughing about his betrayal with the piqued Johnny. In spite of his inauspicious start, Mike soon ingratiates himself with Diane, and a shipboard romance blossoms. Still true to Richard, Diane makes no commitments to Mike and declines his invitation to visit him on his ranch in Buenos Aires. Mike nevertheless shows up at her Buenos Aires' hotel and insists that she join him at his ranch. After a fun-filled day on the ranch, Diane and Mike confess their mutual love, and Diane finally tells Mike about Richard. Realizing that Mike is the man she truly loves, Diane promises him that when she returns to New York, she will end her affair with Richard. However, as soon as she sees Richard, he presents her with a wedding ring and explains to her that his wife finally agreed to divorce him on condition that he not be allowed to see his sons. Overwhelmed by Richard's sacrifice, Diane says nothing about her cruise and, after writing a "Dear John" letter to Mike, marries the millionaire. A year later, Diane runs into Mike in a New York gun shop and suggests that they dine together. In spite of his bitterness, Mike finds that he still loves Diane and senses that she still loves him. Finally, Diane admits her feelings, but explains that she is sacrificing their love to remain loyal to Richard. Although Diane tries to avoid Mike by starting her vacation with Richard early, Mike drops by their country house and, in spite of Diane's protests, vows to confront his rival. When Mike sees how kind and caring Richard is with Diane, however, he backs down from his threat and leaves abruptly. Afterward, Richard reveals to Diane that he had long sensed that she was in love with another man and nobly offers to divorce her. Unchained at last, Diane and Mike begin their married life on his Argentine ranch.
Akim Tamiroff Pablo
Edward Le Saint
Gordon De Main
Theresa Maxwell Conover
Chris Pin Martin
John Lee Mahin
Edwin B. Willis
As usual, Crawford suffers sumptuously, in fabulous Adrian gowns and Cedric Gibbons deco sets, which the critics duly noted. Some also noted a lack of substance in Chained, and a similarity to other Crawford-Gable vehicles, but didn't think that was necessarily a bad thing. Richard Watts, Jr. observed in the New York Herald Tribune, "the two stars, who certainly know their business, wisely decide to pass their time tossing charm and personality all over the place, which is obviously what the film requires for audience appeal." Fans obviously agreed - Chained was a hit.
A few years later, novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, assigned to write a film for Crawford, studied Chained, and scribbled some notes to himself. While some of her mannerisms annoyed him ("don't like her smiling to herself - or such hammy gestures....cynical accepting smile has gotten a little tired..."), he also made some astute observations: "So much better when she is serious. Must have direct, consuming purpose in mind at all points of the story...Must be driven."
Chained was the first of eight films Crawford would make with cinematographer George Folsey. Quite by accident, Folsey discovered a lighting scheme which dramatically emphasized her best features. As the crew prepared for a shipboard-in-the-moonlight scene, a single small spotlight shone down on Crawford from high above the stage. Folsey noticed how the soft light highlighted her eyes and cheekbones, and designed her key lighting around that. Crawford was thrilled with how she looked, and demanded the same kind of lighting for the rest of her career.
Look for a young Mickey Rooney in a bit part as a boy in the ship's swimming pool. Another young actor made a film debut of sorts in Chained. In the opening scene, Crawford is piloting a speedboat in the New York harbor. They needed someone who could drive a boat to be Crawford's double, and the 18-year old son of comic Ed Wynn got the job. Although you can't recognize him, piloting the boat in the long shots is Keenan Wynn. He would not make his actual acting debut until For Me and My Gal (1942).
While she was making Chained, Crawford went through a personal drama in her private life. Her father, Thomas LeSeur, had abandoned his family before Joan was born, and she had never met him. After she became famous, he began writing to her, and they corresponded for several years. Finally, he came to Hollywood and they met on the set of Chained. The meeting was strained, and they never saw each other again.
Director: Clarence Brown
Producer: Hunt Stromberg
Screenplay: John Lee Mahin, based on the story by Edgar Selwyn
Editor: Robert J. Kern
Cinematography: George Folsey
Costume Design: Adrian
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Alexander Toluboff
Music: Herbert Stothart
Principal Cast: Joan Crawford (Diane Lovering), Clark Gable (Mike Bradley), Otto Kruger (Richard Field), Stuart Erwin (Johnny), Una O'Connor (Amy), Marjorie Gateson (Mrs. Field).
by Margarita Landazuri
The working title of this film was Sacred and Profane Love. In addition to his original story credit, Screen Achievements Bulletin lists writer Edgar Selwyn as an "other participant" in the scriptwriting process. The exact nature of his contribution is not known. Before Clark Gable was assigned to the role, Preston Foster was announced in news items as Joan Crawford's co-star. According to Hollywood Reporter, scenes for the film were shot at the Rancho Agua de la Centinela, a 4,000 acre tract ranch in the southwestern United States. Modern sources add William Deggar to the cast.
Released in United States 1934
Released in United States 1934