Three Who Loved

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Three Who Loved
Theatrical poster for film
Directed by George Archainbaud
Tommy Atkins (assistant)
Produced by William LeBaron
Bertram Millhauser (associate)
Screenplay by Beulah Marie Dix [1]
Story by Martin Flavin [1]
Starring Betty Compson
Conrad Nagel
Robert Ames
Cinematography Nicholas Musuraca
Edited by Jack Kitchin
Release date
  • July 3, 1931 (1931-07-03)(US) [2]
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Three Who Loved is a 1931 American Pre-Code drama film directed by George Archainbaud from a screenplay by Beulah Marie Dix based on a story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Martin Flavin. The film revolves around a love triangle (Betty Compson, Conrad Nagel, and Robert Ames). It was produced by RKO Pictures, which also distributed the film, releasing it on July 3, 1931.

George Archainbaud American director

George Archainbaud was a French-born American film and television director.

Beulah Marie Dix American screenwriter, childrens book author

Beulah Marie Dix was an American screenwriter of the silent and sound film eras, as well as a playwright and author of novels and children's books. She wrote for more than 55 films between 1917 and 1942. Dix married G. H. Flebbe at St. John's Chapel in Boston, Massachusetts on May 6, 1910.

Pulitzer Prize U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$15,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal.


A print of this film is held by Library of Congress. [3]

Library of Congress (de facto) national library of the United States of America

The Library of Congress (LOC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; it also maintains the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, and its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol. The Library of Congress has claims to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."


Helga Larson Hanson is living in Sweden, but is engaged to the American fledgling attorney John Hanson. Hanson has Helga move to the United States, and sets her up in the same boarding house he lives in, prior to their marriage. His summons of her might be a bit premature, since once she arrives, he is too busy with his job and preparing for his bar exam, to spend much time with her. Lonely, she becomes attracted to a co-worker of Hanson's, Phil Wilson, who sees an opportunity to use Helga's loneliness to have his way with her.

Hanson is oblivious to Wilson's intent, believing him to be a friend. As time goes on, their landlady, Aunt Annie, becomes suspicious of Wilson, and warns Hanson. When Hanson confronts his co-worker, of course Hanson lies, assuring him that his interest in Helga is simply platonic. Clueless, Hanson accepts this explanation. Meanwhile Wilson continues his seduction of Helga, finally getting her to sleep with him by falsely promising to marry her.

Meanwhile, Hanson gets himself into some legal difficulty, when his investments go south and he loses the money he had been saving to buy a house for Helga and himself. Fearing that his loss of the money might lead to his losing Helga, he steals the balance from Wilson's drawer. When the theft is discovered, Wilson is naturally blamed, and Hanson, having learned of Helga's infidelity with Wilson, lets him be arrested for the crime. Heartbroken, Helga settles for marriage with Hanson.

Years later, Wilson breaks out of prison, and goes to confront Hanson, who is now living with Helga and their young child. When Wilson realizes that Helga is still in love with Wilson, he decides to own up to the crime. Before he can, however, Helga realizes that she has grown to love him. As Wilson tries to flee from their house, he is shot and killed by police. Helga begs Hanson not to confess, since there is no longer a reason to, but Hanson must clear his conscience. As he is led away, Helga vows that she will be waiting for him when he is eventually released.


Betty Compson actress

Betty Compson was an American actress and film producer. Most famous in silent films and early talkies, she is best known in her performances in The Docks of New York and The Barker, the latter earning a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Conrad Nagel actor

Conrad Nagel was an American screen actor and matinee idol of the silent film era and beyond. He was also a well-known sound film and television and radio performer.

Robert Ames (actor) actor

Robert Downing Ames was an American stage and film actor whose career was cut short by his death at age 42.

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  1. 1 2 Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 37. ISBN   0-517-546566.
  2. "Three Who Loved: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  3. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artist Collection at The Library of Congress p.184 c.1978 by American Film Institute
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