7.1/10
3,126
47 user 17 critic

The Great Lie (1941)

Approved | | Drama | 12 April 1941 (USA)
After a newlywed's husband apparently dies in a plane crash, she discovers that her rival for his affections is now pregnant with his child.

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writers:

Lenore J. Coffee (screen play) (as Lenore Coffee), Polan Banks (from a novel by)
Reviews

On TV

Airs Tue. Aug. 27, 12:00 AM on TCM

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Maggie Patterson
George Brent ... Peter Van Allen
Mary Astor ... Sandra Kovak
Lucile Watson ... Aunt Ada Greenfield
Hattie McDaniel ... Violet
Grant Mitchell ... Joshua Mason
Jerome Cowan ... Jock Thompson
Charles Trowbridge ... Senator Ted Greenfield
Thurston Hall ... Oscar Worthington James
Russell Hicks ... Col. Harriston
Virginia Brissac ... Sadie
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Dr. Ferguson (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Addison Richards ... Mr. Talbot
Sam McDaniel ... Jefferson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Olin Howland ... Ed - Arizona Ranch Hand (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Sandra and Pete elope but their marriage is invalid since she's not yet divorced. Sandra is, however, pregnant by Pete. Pete marries his former fiancée Maggie, then flies to South America where his plane crashes. Maggie pays Sandra to let her adopt Pete's baby. Pete returns "from the dead". Sandra and Maggie contend for Pete and the baby. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes there's a terrible penalty for telling the truth.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Far Horizon See more »

Filming Locations:

Mojave Desert, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$689,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Faye Emerson and Marguerite Chapman appear in the trailer as two enthusiastic film fans who have nothing but praise for the film and for Bette Davis's performance in it. See more »

Goofs

A key plot point in the first half concerns Sandra Kovac (Mary Astor) being asked by Peter van Allen (George Brent) to go through their marriage ceremony a second time, when her divorce from her previous husband becomes final. The date when this supposedly occurs is the following Tuesday, but Sandra refuses, stating that she will be playing a concert with the Philadelphia Symphony on that day. This is repeated several times, by both Sandra and her agent (Grant Mitchell). However, when the scene eventually changes to Maggie (Bette Davis) visiting Sandra backstage as the concert is ending, the camera zooms into a large poster proclaiming that she is actually performing with the Pennsylvannia Symphony Orchestra, not the Philadelphia. See more »

Quotes

Maggie Patterson Van Allen: Violet! Lunch! Ham, cakes, honey, and coffee!
Violet: Jefferson!
[He enters]
Violet: Go out back and get that honey-glazed, peanut-fed, sweet Virginia ham.
Jefferson: You 'ain't gonna feed that man is you?
Violet: Jefferson, I'd feed the devil 'hiself if he done polished up the smile on Miss Maggie's face like that!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Bamboozled (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op. 23
(1888) (uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Excerpts played over opening credits
Variations played often as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
the great film
2 August 2006 | by RanchoTuVuSee all my reviews

An amazing unfolding story that arises out of a ridiculously implausible plot that nevertheless is a classic film. Who needs a plot anyway when you have Mary Astor and Bette Davis fighting over the quietly cool George Brent? Throw in an unexpected pregnancy and a trip to the Arizona desert to keep the mother from having a miscarriage due to her bad habits, with boredom, sand storms, and endless cigarettes. The way it sounds is not at all like the impact it produces. There's one point in the film's second half when people might be thinking that it would be a good place to end the film, keeping the lie intact. But Edmund Goulding makes the absolute most of what follows, hitting the real ending with power and precision.


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