The Shining Hour

Last updated
The Shining Hour
Original Film Poster
Directed by Frank Borzage
Written byPlay:
Keith Winter
Jane Murfin
Ogden Nash
Produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Frank Borzage (uncredited)
Starring Joan Crawford
Margaret Sullavan
Robert Young
Melvyn Douglas
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Edited by Frank E. Hull
Music by Franz Waxman
Distributed by Loew's Inc
Release date
  • November 18, 1938 (1938-11-18)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1,068,000 [1]
Box office$1,367,000 [1]
Lobby card with Margaret Sullavan and Robert Young Shining Hour lobby card.jpg
Lobby card with Margaret Sullavan and Robert Young

The Shining Hour is a 1938 American romantic drama film directed by Frank Borzage, based on the 1934 play The Shining Hour by Keith Winter, and starring Joan Crawford and Margaret Sullavan. The supporting cast of the MGM film features Robert Young, Melvyn Douglas, Fay Bainter and Hattie McDaniel.



Olivia Riley (Joan Crawford), a New York City nightclub dancer, tires of the fast life and consents to marry Henry Linden (Melvyn Douglas), a wealthy farmer from Wisconsin. Even before they engage to be married, however, Henry's brother David (Robert Young) is sent to New York by their domineering sister Hannah (Fay Bainter) to dissuade him from marrying Olivia. In private, Olivia slaps David when her integrity is questioned, but she marries Henry because she says he's the only person in her life who is endlessly positive. When Olivia moves to her new husband's farm in Wisconsin, she encounters trouble from her sister-in-law Hannah, who does not approve of her. Olivia finds an ally in David's wife, Judy (Margaret Sullavan), who is in a loveless marriage.

Olivia comes to realize that she and Judy are in the same situation. Olivia's situation is further complicated when David defends her from the unwanted advances of a farm hand and he begins to fall in love with her. Henry is unaware of this, but when Hannah finds out what is going on, she sets fire to the home in a drunken rage. Olivia saves a badly burned Judy, and David realizes he has loved Judy after all. Olivia then decides to leave the farm; and, as she drives away, Henry joins her and they leave together.


Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $942,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $425,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $137,000. [1]

Related Research Articles

Joan Crawford American actress (190?–1977)

Joan Crawford was an American actress. Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting on Broadway, Crawford was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Crawford began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s. In the 1930s, Crawford's fame rivaled MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and financial success. These "rags-to-riches" stories were well-received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1930s she was labeled "box office poison".

The year 1938 in film involved some significant events.

The cinema releases of 1935 were highly representative of the early Golden Age period of Hollywood. This period was punctuated by performances from Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and the first teaming of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. A significant number of productions also originated in the UK film industry.

Fay Bainter American actress (1893–1968)

Fay Okell Bainter was an American film and stage actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938) and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

<i>White Banners</i> 1938 film by Edmund Goulding

White Banners is a 1938 Warner Bros. drama film directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Claude Rains, Fay Bainter, Jackie Cooper, Bonita Granville, Henry O'Neill, and Kay Johnson.

Margaret Sullavan American actress

Margaret Brooke Sullavan was an American actress of stage and film.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz American film director, screenwriter, and producer

Joseph Leo Mankiewicz was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Mankiewicz had a long Hollywood career, and set a record by winning a pair of writing and directing Academy Awards two years in a row. He won the Academy Award for Best Director and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for A Letter to Three Wives (1949), and both the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for All About Eve (1950), the latter of which was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won six.

<i>The Gorgeous Hussy</i> 1936 film by Clarence Brown

The Gorgeous Hussy is a 1936 American period film directed by Clarence Brown, and starring Joan Crawford and Robert Taylor. The screenplay was written by Stephen Morehouse Avery and Ainsworth Morgan, which was based on a 1934 novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams. The supporting cast includes Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart.

<i>Babes on Broadway</i> 1941 film by Vincente Minnelli, Busby Berkeley

Babes on Broadway is a 1941 American musical film starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and directed by Busby Berkeley, with Vincente Minnelli directing Garland's big solo numbers. The film, which features Fay Bainter and Virginia Weidler, was the third in the "Backyard Musical" series about kids who put on their own show, following Babes in Arms (1939) and Strike Up the Band (1940). Songs in the film include "Babes on Broadway" by Burton Lane (music) and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (lyrics), and "How About You?" by Lane with lyrics by Ralph Freed, the brother of producer Arthur Freed. The movie ends with a minstrel show performed by the main cast in blackface.

<i>Presenting Lily Mars</i> 1943 film by Norman Taurog

Presenting Lily Mars is a 1943 American musical comedy film directed by Norman Taurog, produced by Joe Pasternak, starring Judy Garland and Van Heflin, and based on the novel by Booth Tarkington. The film is often cited as Garland's first film playing an adult type role. Tommy Dorsey and Bob Crosby appear with their orchestras in this Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production.

<i>The Ice Follies of 1939</i> 1939 film by Reinhold Schünzel

The Ice Follies of 1939 is a 1939 American musical drama film directed by Reinhold Schünzel, and starring Joan Crawford, James Stewart, Lew Ayres and Lewis Stone.

<i>A Womans Face</i> 1941 film by George Cukor

A Woman's Face is a 1941 American melodrama film directed by George Cukor and starring Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas and Conrad Veidt. It tells the story of Anna Holm, a facially disfigured blackmailer, who because of her appearance, despises everyone she encounters. When a plastic surgeon corrects this disfigurement, Anna becomes torn between the hope of starting a new life and a return to her dark past. Most of the film is told in flashbacks as witnesses in a courtroom give their testimonies. The screenplay was written by Donald Ogden Stewart and Elliot Paul, based on the play Il était une fois... by Francis de Croisset. Another version of the story, a Swedish production, was filmed in 1938 as En kvinnas ansikte, starring Ingrid Bergman.

<i>They All Kissed the Bride</i> 1942 film by Alexander Hall

They All Kissed the Bride is a 1942 American screwball comedy film directed by Alexander Hall and starring Joan Crawford and Melvyn Douglas.

<i>Saratoga</i> (film) 1937 film by Jack Conway

Saratoga is a 1937 American romantic comedy film written by Anita Loos and directed by Jack Conway. The film stars Clark Gable and Jean Harlow in their sixth and final film collaboration and features Lionel Barrymore, Frank Morgan, Walter Pidgeon, Hattie McDaniel and Margaret Hamilton.

<i>Cry Havoc</i> (film) 1943 film by Richard Thorpe

Cry 'Havoc' is a 1943 American war drama film, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and directed by Richard Thorpe. It stars Margaret Sullavan, Ann Sothern and Joan Blondell, and features Fay Bainter, Marsha Hunt, Ella Raines, Frances Gifford, Diana Lewis, Heather Angel, Dorothy Morris and Connie Gilchrist.

<i>The Shopworn Angel</i> 1938 film by H. C. Potter

The Shopworn Angel is a 1938 American drama film directed by H. C. Potter and starring James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, and Walter Pidgeon. The MGM release featured the second screen pairing of Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart following their successful teaming in the Universal Pictures production Next Time We Love two years earlier.

<i>Next Time We Love</i> 1936 film by Edward H. Griffith

Next Time We Love is a 1936 melodrama film directed by Edward H. Griffith and starring Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart and Ray Milland. The adapted screenplay was by Melville Baker, with an uncredited Preston Sturges and Doris Anderson, based on Ursula Parrott's 1935 novel Next Time We Live, which was serialized before publication as Say Goodbye Again. The film is also known as Next Time We Live in the U.K.

<i>The Toy Wife</i> 1938 film by Richard Thorpe

The Toy Wife is a 1938 American drama film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Luise Rainer and Melvyn Douglas. The period film was produced by Merian C. Cooper and written by Zoë Akins.

<i>The War Against Mrs. Hadley</i> 1942 film by Harold S. Bucquet

The War Against Mrs. Hadley is a 1942 American drama film directed by Harold S. Bucquet and starring Fay Bainter and Edward Arnold. The plot depicts how wealthy society matron Stella Hadley selfishly refuses to sacrifice her family or material comforts during World War II, until tragedy strikes an old rival. The script by George Oppenheimer was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

The Shining Hour is a 1934 Broadway three-act drama written by Keith Winter, produced by Max Gordon and staged by Raymond Massey with scenic design created by Aubrey Hammond. It ran for 121 performances from February 13, 1934 to May 1934 at the Booth Theatre. This was Gladys Cooper's Broadway debut. Raymond Massey and Adrianne Allen were a married couple at this time.


  1. 1 2 3 The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.