Green Light (1937 film)

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Green Light
movie poster
Directed by Frank Borzage
Produced byFrank Borzage
Written byMilton Krims
Lloyd C. Douglas (novel)
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Byron Haskin
Edited byJames Gibbon
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 1937 (1937)
Running time
85 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$513,000 [1] [2]
Box office$1,660,000 [2]

Green Light is a 1937 American film directed by Frank Borzage. [3] [4]


The film is adapted from a novel written by Lloyd C. Douglas. The novel is closely related to Douglas' previous book, Magnificent Obsession , which was also adapted as a movie. [5] It was Flynn's first starring role in a studio film that was not an action movie. [6]


Errol Flynn stars as Dr. Newell Paige, a surgeon whose refusal to name the real culprit in an operation gone fatally awry results in the ruin of his career. Dismissed from the hospital staff, Paige leaves Massachusetts and travels to Montana to assist a researcher in Rocky Mountain spotted fever, almost dying when he subjects himself to an experimental serum. Anita Louise stars as Phyllis Dexter, his eventual love interest, and Cedric Hardwicke as Dean Harcourt, an Anglican clergyman and radio preacher whose advice Dr. Paige at first dismisses, then later realizes is the truth. The film ends with Paige, returned to his former post and cleared of all charges, and Phyllis seated in the cathedral, listening to Dean Harcourt quoting a Psalm, followed by the St. Luke choristers' amen.


Original novel

Green Light
Author Lloyd C. Douglas
Publication date

The film was based on a best selling novel.


After starting in two swashbuckling films before this; Captain Blood and The Charge of the Light Brigade Flynn had asked Warner Brothers for a regular non-swashbuckling role and this film was the result. However, after this Flynn's next film was The Prince and the Pauper .

Originally Warner Brothers announced that Leslie Howard would be the star [7] and he was scheduled to begin filming Green Light at the end of June, 1935, after completion of his run in The Petrified Forest on Broadway but a persistent bout of boils which repeatedly landed him in the hospital throughout the production made it necessary for Howard to take an extended rest instead. [8] Warners then announced the leads would be Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. [9] De Havilland dropped out and the female leads were then to be played by Anita Louise and Ann Dvorak. [10] Dvorak was then replaced by Margaret Lindsay. [11]


Box office

The film was popular at the box office. [12] According to Warner Bros records, the film earned $1,254,000 domestically and $416,000 foreign, making it the studio's second most popular film of 1937 (the first was The Prince and the Pauper). [2] After completion of the film, Flynn was meant to start in The White Rajah, a biopic of Sir James Brooke based on a script by the actor himself. [13] However this did not eventuate.

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  1. Glancy, H. Mark. "Warner Bros film grosses, 1921–51." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. March 1995
  2. 1 2 3 Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 18 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  3. Variety film review; February 17, 1937, page 14.
  4. Harrison's Reports film review; February 13, 1937, page 26.
  5. The Green Light – Trailer – Showtimes – Cast – Movies New York Times
  6. Vagg, Stephen (November 10, 2019). "The Films of Errol Flynn: Part 2 The Golden Years". Filmink.
  7. Nelson B. Bell (Nov 2, 1935). "With Production Schedules Nearing Completion, Film Makers Plan Season Ahead: Major Studios Establish New Speed Records Warners Are Out in Front; Illness Lays Stars Low; Notes of Playhouses". The Washington Post. p. 6.
  8. "Leslie Howard Is Ill". The New York Times. July 9, 1935. p. 24.
  9. Schallert, Edwin (June 3, 1936). "James Dunn Going to Sea in Classic Story, "Two Years Before the Mast": Other Players Cast in Important Roles Ernst Lubitsch Begins Organization of His Film Unit; Virginia Bruce to Appear in "Born to Dance; Young Going Abroad". Los Angeles Times. p. A19.
  11. Schallert, Edwin (July 11, 1936). "'Directed by Mary Pickford~' Credit Line Slated for Theater Marquees: Star-Producer Will Favor Child Themes Peggy Conklin Cast in "Devil Is a Sissy;' Ratoff Adds Supervision to Other Jobs; Two Charmers for Errol Flynn in Next". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  12. "Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer * Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 52".