A Lost Lady (film)

A Lost Lady

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alfred E. Green
Phil Rosen (uncredited)
Screenplay by
Based on A Lost Lady
by Willa Cather
Music by
Cinematography Sidney Hickox
Edited by Owen Marks
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • September 19, 1934 (1934-09-19) (USA)
Running time
61 minutes
Country United States
Language English

A Lost Lady is a 1934 American drama film directed by Alfred E. Green and starring by Barbara Stanwyck, Frank Morgan, and Ricardo Cortez. Based on the novel A Lost Lady by Willa Cather, with a screenplay by Gene Markey and Kathryn Scola, the film is about a woman whose fiancé is murdered by his mistress' husband two days before their wedding. Her uncle sends her away to the mountains, where she meets a man who looks after her and eventually proposes. She accepts even though she does not love him.

Warner Brothers had filmed this story before in 1924 as a silent with Irene Rich.


Marian (Barbara Stanwyck) and Ned (Phillip Reed) are scheduled to be married in two days, when Ned is accused by a man of having an affair with his wife and killed before Marian's eyes. Marian is taken to a resort she is very fond of in the Canadian Rockies in hopes it will snap her out of her emotional withdrawal. One day while walking alone, she falls off a ledge and injures her leg. She is discovered and rescued by Dan Forrester (Frank Morgan) and his dog Sandy. Dan visits Marian every day, even though she is still bitter about her fiancé's death. Before he goes home, he asks her to marry him. She refuses at first, telling him she does not love him, but he is undeterred. At the last moment, she changes her mind and accepts his proposal. (After the wedding, however, they sleep in separate bedrooms.)

The couple go to Chicago, where he heads a successful law firm. He dotes on Marian, even building her a mansion in the country. He coaxes her out of her depression, and everything is going well enough, until one day Frank (Ricardo Cortez) has to make an emergency landing on her estate after his airplane runs out of fuel. Mistaking her for a servant, he grabs her and kisses her. She slaps him in the face and leaves, but long-dead emotions are stirred within her. They are both surprised when they meet socially. He turns out to run a transport company. She rejects his advances, but he persists. When Dan goes to New York for three weeks on business, Frank sees her every day, and Marian soon falls in love again.

When Dan returns, Marian tells him the news. He is devastated. He stays up all night trying to come to grips with this development, even though he has a major corporate case going to trial the next day. At the trial, he collapses and has a heart attack. Marian, who had already packed her clothes to go to Frank, refuses to leave Dan's side, despite Frank's urging. The tables are turned: now she is the one trying to cheer Dan up. She then realizes she has finally come to love her husband, and tells him so.



Andre Sennwald, reviewer for The New York Times, dismissed it as a "competent, unexciting and familiar movie" which failed to do justice to the novel.[1]


  1. 1 2 Sennwald, Andrbe (sic) (October 4, 1934). "A Screen Version of Willa Cather's "A Lost Lady" at the Strand". The New York Times. Retrieved February 15, 2014.

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