Lady Cynthia Darrington
Sir Christopher Strong
Lady Elaine Strong
Bradford, the Maid
Girl at Party
Based on the novel by
Director of Photography
Art Direction by
Associate Art Director
Film Editing by
Costume Design by
Jack La Rue
David O. Selznick
Pandro S. Berman
Van Nest Polglase
VHS / DVD
RKO Radio Pictures
Produced: December 21, 1932-February 3, 1933
Premiere: March 9, 1933
As the chance results of a 'treasure hunt', a single woman and a married man are introduced. She is Lady Cynthia Darrington, a career-minded aviatrix with no time for love in her young life. He is Sir Christopher Strong, a good husband and the father of a marriageable daughter, whose life has been completely absorbed in his political career. They are wracked by a love that neither can deny, and their lives becomes hopelessly entwined.
Herbert Lusk – Lost Angeles Times - 1933
"She (Hepburn) fascinates by her strange beauty and inescapable magnetism, by her verve, her harshness and her tenderness, with the enormous advantage of making every mood reflect a mental state of utter sincerity and conviction. Easily the most important newcomer, although Mae West is the supreme box-office draw at the moment, Miss Hepburn is provocative and distinctive and her vibrant intelligence entitles her to the best and most carefully chosen story material."
Regina Crewe – New York American – 1933
"That troubled, masque-like face, the high, strident, raucous, rasping voice, the straight, broad shouldered boyish figure – perhaps they all may grate upon you, but they compel attention, and they fascinate an audience. She is distinct, definite, positive personality – the first since Garbo."
Richard Watts Jr. – New York Herald Tribune – 1933
"Playing with a sort of harsh, gruff directness that manages to seem both gallant and tender, Miss Hepburn offers a characterization of a puzzled, grudging sentimentalist that combines emotional effectiveness with a certain air if level-headed sanity."
Mordaunt Hall – The New York Times
"There is something finely natural about the acting of both Miss Hepburn and Mr. Clive. Miss Hepburn is thorough and believable and sometime fascinatingly beautiful, especially when Lady Cynthia and Sir Christopher are in a motorboat which they have permitted to drift."
Philip K. Sheuer – Los Angeles Times
"Christopher Strong.... securely establishes Katharine Hepburn of A Bill of Divorcement as an actress to be reckoned with. She has definitively arrived. A slim, gaunt featured nymph, this actress, with her sharp, pleasantly unpleasant voice, and a penchant for the bizarre in outfits. True star material, she dominates each scene in which she figures."
Martyn Auty – Time Out
"Early Hollywood movies (re)claimed for feminist film history sometimes require complex analysis to explain their relevance, but this teaming of Arzner and Hepburn is absolutely central to an understanding of woman’s place within classical Hollywood. Hepburn plays pioneer aviatrix Cynthia Darrington, courted by Christopher Strong (through why the title should bear his name and not hers is a mystery). She plays him along but independently pursues her career, telling Strong 'Don't ever stop me doing what I want', only to fall into typical Hollywood compromise and find herself pregnant by her (married) lover in the last reel. Suicide is offered as the only way out, but even in her dying moments (a high-altitude record-breaking flight) she rebels against society's required sacrifice and tries to replace her oxygen mask. Fascinating precisely for the vacillation of its central (female) character, and for the way in which aviation (itself a uniquely 20th century activity virtually closed to women) is used as a metaphor for film-making and women’s attempts to gain a foothold in that male-dominated territory."
What Kate had to say
What fellow actors, the director and friends had to say