Conquest (1937 film)


Theatrical release poster
Directed by Clarence Brown
Gustav Machatý (uncredited)
Produced by Bernard H. Hyman
Written by S. N. Behrman
Salka Viertel
Samuel Hoffenstein
Waclaw Gasiorowski (novel)
Helen Jerome (dramatization)
Talbot Jennings (uncredited)
Starring Greta Garbo
Charles Boyer
Reginald Owen
Alan Marshal
Music by Herbert Stothart
Cinematography Karl Freund
Edited by Tom Held
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • October 22, 1937 (1937-10-22)
Running time
113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,732,000 US[1][2]
Box office $2,141,000

Conquest (also called Marie Walewska) is a 1937 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film which tells the story of the Polish Countess Marie Walewska, who becomes the mistress of Napoleon in order to influence his actions towards her homeland.[3][4] It stars Greta Garbo, Charles Boyer, Reginald Owen, Alan Marshal, Henry Stephenson, Leif Erickson, Dame May Whitty, George Zucco, and Maria Ouspenskaya.

The movie was adapted by S. N. Behrman, Samuel Hoffenstein, Helen Jerome and Salka Viertel from the novel Pani Walewska by Waclaw Gasiorowski. It was directed by Clarence Brown and Gustav Machatý (uncredited).

It was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Charles Boyer) and Best Art Direction (Cedric Gibbons and William A. Horning).[5]

Its worldwide gross amounted to $2,141,000. But its massive budget led to a loss of $1,397,000.


Napoleon Bonaparte (Charles Boyer) launches an unsuccessful seduction of the Countess Marie Walewska (Greta Garbo), who is married to a much older man (Henry Stephenson), but she resists until convinced that giving in will save Poland. After her husband annuls their marriage and Napoleon divorces the Empress Josephine, the pair are free to formalize their happy relationship, but Napoleon shocks her by announcing his decision to wed the Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria for political reasons. While he doesn't expect it to impact his relationship with Marie, she leaves him, without ever telling him that she is expecting his child.


Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer in Conquest

Uncredited Cast


Boyer's fee was $125,000, with an equal amount to be paid for any French version, as well as an overtime provision. In the final event, Boyer ended up earning $450,000 for his performance; reshoots on the film saw the budget rise.[2]


  2. 1 2 Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 199
  3. Variety film review; October 27, 1937, page 18.
  4. Harrison's Reports film review; November 13, 1937, page 183.
  5. "NY Times: Winterset". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-09.

External links

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