Cast & Crew
Sir Guy Standing
C. Aubrey Smith
In 1770, at Widow Blake's Ale House in Norfolk, England, the widow's young nephew Jonathan overhears two sailors plotting. Having made a pact with his friend Horatio Nelson that each shall have to do what the other dares do, Jonathan convinces Horatio to accompany him in a rowboat and follow the men. On the men's ship, Jonathan and Horatio witness plans to scuttle the ship so that insurance money could be collected for the gold bullion on board. The boys are spotted, but they escape gunshots as they swim to shore. Horatio reluctantly agreees to walk the hundred miles to London with Jonathan to warn Lloyd's Coffee-House, where insurance syndicates meet to insure the British merchant marine. However, when Horatio's uncle Captain Suckling asks him to become a midshipman, Horatio and Jonathan sadly part. At Lloyd's, Jonathan reports the scheme to John Julius Angerstein, a syndicate head, who then gives him the chance to work as a waiter at Lloyd's and emphasizes that Lloyd's is founded on news and honest dealing. In 1784, Jonathan shows Angerstein the semaphore-telegraph apparatus he has invented, which, when duplicated on a larger scale, will be able to send messages across the English channel in five minutes. After Napoleon orders the arrest of all Englishmen in France, Jonathan, impersonating a priest in Calais, transmits messages about the situation back to England. He helps an Englishwoman named Elizabeth escape the attentions of an arresting officer, and together they cross the channel in a small boat, survive a storm, and spend the night at a small inn on the English coast, where they passionately kiss before retiring to their respective rooms. In the morning, Jonathan is disheartened to learn that Elizabeth has already left. After having tracked her whereabouts, Jonathan enters a party at her home and learns that she is married to gambler Lord Everett Stacy. Insulted by Stacy and rejected by Elizabeth, Jonathan gets drunk with a waitress at Lloyd's, and vows to climb so high that he will be hailed. In 1803, after England has declared war on France, Jonathan, who has become wealthy, meets Elizabeth at a gambling house. Later, at the studio of painter Thomas Lawrence, Elizabeth, who is unhappily married, and Jonathan embrace. After many British merchant ships have been sunk or captured by the French off the Azores, Lloyd's pays all the claims, but Angerstein insists that they raise their insurance rates. When the shipowners refuse to send out their fleets at the higher rates, Angerstein plans to demand that warships protect the merchant vessels, which could then be insured at the old rate. Jonathan vigorously protests this because it would cut in half the fighting strength of Admiral Nelson, his boyhood friend whom he has not seen since their parting. Jonathan's syndicate continues insuring the ships at the old rate. When the French escape Nelson's blockade at Toulon and a decisive battle seems months off, the other members of the syndicate desert Jonathan, but Elizabeth gives him her whole fortune, and he continues to insure the merchant fleet. In the fall of 1805, after more merchant ships are scuttled by the French, Jonathan is castigated as a gambler. After Lord Drayton agrees to order half of Nelson's fleet to convoy the merchant ships, Jonathan receives a letter from Nelson recalling their boyhood troth and urging him to hold out no matter the cost. Jonathan secretly leaves for Calais, where he sends a message by semaphore that Nelson has defeated the French fleet. Amidst the celebrations, Drayton cancels the order to Nelson. Stacy, who has had Jonathan followed, charges to Angerstein that the message was a fraud, but Angerstein, after warning Jonathan that his actions could be considered treasonous, refuses to denounce him and keeps Stacy in check by revealing that Elizabeth's fortune, which she has agreed to give him in exchange for a divorce, would be lost if Jonathan's scheme was revealed. Later, as Jonathan embraces Elizabeth, Stacy shoots him. At the same moment, Nelson is shot in battle with the French. In London, Jonathan, cared for by Elizabeth and Polly, revives at the sounds of a procession outside. Angerstein arrives and relates Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. Jonathan goes to the window and, seeing Nelson's funeral procession, remembers their tearful parting as Elizabeth comforts him.
Sir Guy Standing
C. Aubrey Smith
J. M. Kerrigan
E. E. Clive
Captain John Blood
John Van Ike
Jean De Briac
Thomas A. Braidon
W. P. Lipscomb
Blake Warwick Owen-smith
Darryl F. Zanuck
Best Art Direction
Lloyds of London
Lloyd's of London, produced by 20th Century-Fox, was directed Henry King and co-starred Madeleine Carroll, Sir Guy Standing, C. Aubrey Smith, Virginia Field, and George Sanders (in his first American film). Top billing went to Freddie Bartholomew, who plays Power's character as a child. Young Bartholomew was at the height of his fame and Power at the beginning of his, so the latter only rated fourth billing. This would be the last time Power was anything but the star.
Ernest Pascal and Walter Ferris wrote the script, based on a story by Curtis Kenyon, and it is pure Hollywood of the 1930s, mixing historical fact and total fiction, and somehow making the insurance business appear interesting. Fox seemed anxious to give validity to the film by opening with the following lines: "We acknowledge with appreciation the assistance of the official historian of Lloyd's of London in the preparation of the historical background for this production."
The story begins as two boys, Horatio Nelson (later Admiral Nelson) and Jonathan Blake, learn of a plot by pirates to scuttle a ship and ransack the goods. The boys set off to inform the insurer, Lloyd's of London, but Blake is the one who finishes the journey and saves the day. Rather than take a reward, Blake asks to become an apprentice, and spends years rising up in the ranks.
While the now grown-up Blake (Power) is insuring British warships for Lloyd's during England's battle against Napoleon, Nelson (John Burton) is at the head of the Navy. The Navy's security is threatened when a request is made that the British fleet protect merchant ships (to enable continued insurance coverage on cargo). Blake knows this will weaken Nelson's defense and does everything he can to prevent this. Lloyd's is nearly bankrupt and cannot afford to insure the fleet any longer, and it falls to Blake to find the money.
There has to be romance, of course, which is provided by Madeleine Carroll as Lady Elizabeth Stacy, an Englishwoman Blake rescues from France. When she disappears on her return to England, Blake, deeply in love, learns she is the wife of Lord Stacy, his rival. Stacy already hates Blake for his position at Lloyd's, which has turned Stacy down for a loan to pay his gambling debts. Since Stacy is played by George Sanders, the audience can guess where this is headed. Sanders made portraying cads and villains an art form (his autobiography was entitled, Memoirs of a Professional Cad) and Stacy is, without a doubt, a cad of the first order.
Shot during August - October 1936, with a budget of around $850,000, Lloyd's of London was the start of two important friendships for Tyrone Power: Henry King and George Sanders. It was director King who took the fight to studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck, insisting that Power, who at the time was only a contract player, take the lead role of Blake. Power had been fired by director Sidney Lanfield the week before on Sing, Baby, Sing (1936). Lanfield felt he wasn't right in the role of the reporter. King didn't know this when Power walked into his office, saying he'd heard King was making Lloyd's of London and wanted to take any part King thought might suit him. King had worked with Power's father in Hell Harbor (1930) and was very impressed with the younger Power's poise and self-confidence. Don Ameche had been the frontrunner for Lloyd's of London and King had attended the screening of Ameche's test for the role. Zanuck asked King his opinion, and King said that while Ameche was good, he wanted to test someone else. Ameche was a big star at Fox but Zanuck trusted King and allowed the test. When it was screened, the other executives still thought the role should go to Ameche, but King insisted on Power and Zanuck agreed.
The other important friendship Power made on the film was with George Sanders. They acted together in five films, and ironically, Sanders was shooting a dueling scene with Power in Solomon and Sheba (1959) when Power suffered his fatal heart attack. Sanders wrote a eulogy for his friend, which was read at his funeral in Hollywood (Sanders was stuck in Europe filming). He also wrote very movingly about Power in Memoirs of a Professional Cad.
Ameche wasn't the only star replaced in the cast of Lloyd's of London. Loretta Young was supposed to play Lady Stacy, but thought her part was being reduced as King was building up Tyrone Power, and she angrily refused the role. This resulted in a battle of words between Zanuck and Young's attorney. Zanuck fired back, "Doesn't it seem peculiar to you that anyone, after receiving the treatment that she has received, after receiving the roles that we have given her in her last three productions, after accepting the lenient working conditions that we have given her, could now suddenly decide that she no longer desired to discuss production matters with us? I am frank to say that the entire situation bewilders me, and so, as before stated, I can only come to the conclusion that someone is giving her bad advice, as certainly nothing has been done by us which in any manner or form justifies her present attitude or her refusal to play in our production Lloyd's of London, or any attitude except absolute cooperation or unquestioning compliance with our every request. [...] You are no doubt aware of the fact that on two specific occasions recently, Miss Young has failed to appear at our studio wardrobe department for fittings in connection with Lloyd's of London, and you are also aware, no doubt, of the fact that she wrote me a letter refusing to play the role of 'Lady Clementine' [Lady Elizabeth in the film]." The "leniency" Zanuck refers to is, no doubt, Young's secret pregnancy from her affair with Clark Gable during shooting on The Call of the Wild (1935). While the letter sounds dangerously like blackmail ("any attitude except absolute cooperation or unquestioning compliance with our every request"), Young was too big a star for Fox to ruin, and she knew it. The studio knew it, too. They backed down and Young was replaced with Madeleine Carroll.
Lloyd's of London was a big hit for Fox and for Power. The critics agreed that the film itself was historically questionable, but Power commandeered the screen with his charisma and his good looks. The New York Times critic J.T.M wrote that the film "is a pleasing photoplay, crammed with authentic detail of the Georgian England where its scene is laid, reverent and restrained if occasionally original in its presentation of historical incident, and threaded by a semi-fictional story of romance and business daring. Under the graphic direction of the veteran Henry King, a cast that is capable down to its merest fishmonger and chimney sweep brings alive to the screen the London of the waning years of the eighteenth century and the early years of the next....As the vital Jonathan Blake, Tyrone Power, Jr. plays a much more varied role than any he has had previously for the screen. Where sheer action and character delineation are concerned, he is excellent."
Lloyd's of London would earn two Academy Award® nominations, Best Art Direction for William S. Darling and Best Film Editing for Barbara (Bobby) McLean, who would work with Henry King on nearly thirty films.
Director: Henry King
Screenplay: Ernest Pascal, Walter Ferris (screenplay); Curtis Kenyon (story); W.P. Lipscomb (uncredited contributor)
Cinematography: Bert Glennon
Art Direction: William Darling
Music: R.H. Bassett, David Buttolph, Cyril J. Mockridge (all uncredited)
Film Editing: Barbara McLean
Cast: Freddie Bartholomew (Young Jonathan Blake), Madeleine Carroll (Lady Elizabeth Stacy), Sir Guy Standing (John Julius Angerstein), Tyrone Power (Jonathan Blake), C. Aubrey Smith (Old 'Q'), Virginia Field (Polly), Douglas Scott (Young Horatio Nelson), George Sanders (Lord Everett Stacy), J.M. Kerrigan (Brook Watson), Una O'Connor (Widow Blake).
by Lorraine LoBianco
The AFI Catalog of Feature Film
Behlmer, Rudy, Memo from Darryl F. Zanuck: The Golden Years at Twentieth Century Fox
Guiles, Fred Lawrence, Tyrone Power: The Last Idol
The Internet Movie Database
"Lloyds of London' Pleases at the Astor" The New York Times 26 Nov 36
Lloyds of London
After the opening credits, the film begins with the following statement: "We acknowledge with appreciation the assistance of the official historian of Lloyd's of London in the preparation of the historical background for this production." Curtis Kenyon's original story was entitled "The Bell Ringers." Reviews noted that the main character, "Jonathan Blake," was fictional and that the film took many liberties with historical events. The program notes for the film's premiere state that Lloyd's insured the production for $1,000,000, and modern sources state that the film was budgeted at $850,000. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the chairmen of Lloyd's, in a letter to studio head Darryl Zanuck, lauded the film for its excellence.
According to information in SAB, the screen credits, as originally intended by the studio, did not include writer Walter Ferris. He protested and the studio then backed him, but Ernest Pascal wanted full credit for the screenplay. Ferris then offered to settle for an "additional dialogue" credit, but this did not comply with the AMPAS Code that governed writing credits, so the dispute was submitted to Twentieth Century-Fox scenario editor Julian Johnson for arbitration, and Ferris was awarded a co-screenplay credit.
This was Tyrone Power's first starring role. According to a New York Times news item, because of his performance in this film, he was signed to a seven-year contract with Twentieth Century-Fox to begin in May 1937. Modern sources relate that Don Ameche was tested first for the role of Jonathan Blake, but that director Henry King prevailed upon Zanuck to look at a test of the same scenes with Power; because of King's recommendation and that of editor Barbara McLean, Zanuck gave the role to Power. Variety commented concerning Power, "He's okay. He's going places. He has looks and he has acting ability. The women ought to go for him in a big way."
According to Hollywood Reporter production charts, Loretta Young, who was originally cast as "Lady Elizabeth," was in the production until mid-September 1936. Information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, states that Young was suspended by the studio after she left the role. According to a September 17, 1936 Hollywood Reporter news item, Madeleine Carroll was then borrowed from Walter Wanger to replace Young, whom, Hollywood Reporter reported, was on a Hawaiian vacation for her health. Modern sources state that Young refused the role because she learned that Power's role was being expanded at the expense of her own.
According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, George Sanders was borrowed from British and Dominions Film Corp. This was his first American film. Publicity for the film states that sixty-five sets were built and that Chris Christensen, the nautical technical director, built all the ships in the film and had also built the ships in The Sea Hawk (Associated First National, 1924), Moby Dick (Warner Bros., 1930) and Mutiny on the Bounty (M-G-M, 1935). Wilfrid Lawson is listed as a cast member in an early Hollywood Reporter production chart, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to an ad in Hollywood Reporter, the film was shot on Eastman Super-X Negative. This film received two Academy Award nominations: for interior decoration (William Darling) and for film editing (Barbara McLean). Modern sources credit Ray Sebastian with make-up.
Released in United States 1936
Released in United States 1936