Cast & Crew
Forty years after the Civil War, the once proud Connelly family of Carolina is reduced to poverty as their plantation falls to ruin. The family, which consists of matriarch Ellen, her daughter Geraldine, her son Will and her brother-in-law Bob, a famed veteran, hopes that through a marriage between Will and wealthy Virginia Buchanan, they will be able to restore their home to its former grandeur. To Ellen's dismay, however, Will falls in love with Joanna Tate, the daughter of their Yankee tenant farmer. When Mr. Tate dies, Ellen allows Joanna and her young brothers, Jackie and Harry, to stay on, despite Joanna's insistence on planting tobacco, which Ellen regards as unprofitable and undignified. The spirited Joanna tries to convince Will that he could rebuild the Connelly empire by starting from scratch, just as his great-grandfather did. Ellen attempts to come between the lovers at a party being given for Virginia, when she tells them that they must stop seeing each other because Joanna is of a lower social position. The couple refuses to listen, however, and spends a blissful evening full of declarations of love. The next day, Ellen orders Will to accompany Virginia to Charleston, where Virginia's bank is prepared to take over the mortgage on the Connelly home. Meanwhile, Joanna and local storekeeper Richards discuss the potential of her tobacco crop, which promises to be exceptionally profitable. Ellen sends for Joanna, but not to discuss the crop, as Joanna assumes. Ellen instead orders Joanna to move out because of her refusal to stop seeing Will. Joanna is shaken by Ellen's declaration, and by the rumor that Will is in Charleston to get married, but still tries to get Ellen to change her mind. Will returns home after telling Virginia that he cannot marry her, and he finds out about Ellen's edict. As Joanna and the family discuss the issue, they discover that forty years earlier, Ellen, always watchful of the Connelly social standing, also interfered in Bob's love life. She had informed Bob's sweetheart, who was Geraldine's governess and Joanna's grandmother, that Bob was killed in battle so that she would leave before Bob returned to marry her. The revelation disturbs Bob's confused mind and he shoots himself, after which a shocked Joanna prepares to leave, while Will remains locked in his room for two days. Richards tries to convince Joanna to stay, but she is adamant until Will at last leaves his room and pleads with her. Joanna then tells Ellen her vision of the Connelly greatness being restored by tobacco, and as the years pass, the hard work of Joanna and Will pays off. With the family fortune regained, Ellen happily plays with her grandchildren, Joan and Will, by telling them a fairy tale while Joanna and Will go to the store.
John Webb Dillion
J. C. Fowler
Louis De Francesco
According to a July 20, 1933 Film Daily news item, director Henry King was going to "Carolina and Georgia" to search for location sites, and "members of [his] unit" included W. F. Fitzgerald, Max Larey and Jack Otterson. According to an unidentified, contemporary news item in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, Lew Ayres was considered for the lead, and Ralph Morgan was signed for an important character role. Actors Lionel Barrymore and Robert Young were borrowed from M-G-M for this production.
Actor Joe Young, who had a minor role in the film, was the brother of Robert Young; this was their first film appearance together. Joe Young, who soon changed his name to Roger Moore, acted in dozens of small roles from the 1930s through the early 1950s, most at M-G-M. He should not be confused with the more famous English actor also named Roger Moore.
The House of Connelly was the first play produced by the Group Theatre. According to a modern interview with King, the Hays Office would not let Fox use the title The House of Connelly for the film because of the play's theme of miscegenation. King also noted that he and scriptwriter Reginald Berkeley traveled to South Carolina, where they filmed background shots to be included in the picture and photographed a house that was recreated on the Fox lot.