Boston businessman Harry Moulton Pulham Jr leads a regimented life. But his meticulous daily routine and his marriage are disrupted when he is tasked with writing his biography for a Harvard class reunion, while at the same time the attractive Marvin Myles, a woman from his past, appears in Boston. Barely touching pen to paper, Harry starts remembering his college days, meeting his later wife, his experiences in World War I, and – above all – working at a New York ad agency, where he met Marvin, a charming, ambitious, emancipated woman with whom he had an affair … In the film, the conservative interpretation of an “unlived life” is juxtaposed with King Vidor’s modern, sometime avant-garde movie-making. In non-linear flashbacks, and Harry’s inner monologues, H. M. Pulham, Esq. reveals all the constraints that guarantee the survival of the Yankee elite. Hedy Lamarr embodies the utopian alternative of individual self-determination beyond those conventions with passion and authenticity – in a clear contrast to the overt sexiness on display in Comrade X.
by King Vidor
With Hedy Lamarr, Robert Young, Ruth Hussey, Charles Coburn, Van Heflin, Fay Holden, Bonita Granville, Douglas Wood, Charles Halton, Leif Erickson
USA 1941 English 120’ Black/White, 35 mm

With

  • Hedy Lamarr
  • Robert Young
  • Ruth Hussey
  • Charles Coburn
  • Van Heflin
  • Fay Holden
  • Bonita Granville
  • Douglas Wood
  • Charles Halton
  • Leif Erickson

Crew

DirectorKing Vidor
ScreenplayElizabeth Hill, King Vidor
StoryJohn P. Marquand, H. M. Pulham, Esquire (1941)
CinematographyRay June
EditingHarold F. Kress, Frank Sullivan
MusicBronislau Kaper
SoundDouglas Shearer
Art DirectorCedric Gibbons
CostumesKalloch, Gile Steele
Assistant DirectorWalter Strohm

Produced by

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew’s, Inc.)

Additional information

Print: Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, Hamburg

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020