The Shining Hour (1938)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Shining Hour Videos

The Shining Hour Photos

Movie Info

Frank Borzage directed this doomed romance starring Joan Crawford as Olivia Riley, the young bride of Henry Linden (Melvyn Douglas), an upper-crust conservative. Olivia is a show girl in a New York nightclub and when Henry brings her home to his family -- his brother David (Robert Young) and spinster sister Hannah (Fay Bainter) -- on his family's estate, Olivia is given the cold shoulder, particularly by David, who is actually attracted to Olivia himself. Olivia strikes up a friendship with David's wife Judy (Margaret Sullivan), who feels as shut out from the family as Olivia does. Olivia is attracted to David herself, and Hannah tries to drive Olivia away before things really heat up. Judy recognizes the attraction and is willing to leave David so he can pursue his romance with Olivia. David has no idea how to handle the situation, and Henry is blissfully unaware of the simmering passions between David and his wife. But Hannah brings the situation to its inevitable, and tragic, outcome buy setting fire to the estate.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros.


Joan Crawford
as Olivia Riley
Robert Young
as David Linden
Margaret Sullavan
as Judy Linden
Melvyn Douglas
as Henry Linden
Fay Bainter
as Hannah Linden
Allyn Joslyn
as Roger Franklin
Hattie McDaniel
as Belvedere
Frank Albertson
as Benny Collins
Oscar O'Shea
as Charlie Collins
Harry Barris
as Bertie
Tony De Marco
as Olivia's Dance Partner
Claire Owen
as Stewardess
Frank Puglia
as Headwaiter
George Chandler
as Press Agent
Buddy Messinger
as Elevator Boy
Edwin Stanley
as Minister
E. Alyn Warren
as Leonard
Grace Hayle
as Mrs. Briggs
Cyril Ring
as Candid Cameraman
Grace Goodall
as Mrs. Smart
Ralph Bushman
as Doorman
Jack Raymond
as Farmer
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Shining Hour

All Critics (0)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Shining Hour


Good drama with a gem of a performance from the great Margaret Sullavan. Everyone else is good but she is exceptional.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Only if I liked you a little lesser or loved you a little more... A New York City nightclub dancer marries a charming man with lots of money. She moves out to the country with her new husband and into his large estate. The estate is also where her sister in-laws live, one sister is married and one sister is miserable and single. The miserable sister makes life practically impossible for the night club dancer who is also being strongly pursued by a lovesick younger man. Will the rich family drive her insane and into the arms of the young lover? "He put a frog in my hair, poured ink on my dress; so naturally, I fell in love with him." Frank Borzage, director of A Farewell to Arms, 7th Heaven, Stage Door Canteen, Three Comrades, China Doll, Strange Cargo, Street Angel, and The Gun Woman, delivers The Shining Hour. The storyline for this picture is fairly straightforward and honestly pretty predictable. The acting is remarkable and the cast includes Joan Crawford, Robert Young, Margaret Sullavan, Melvyn Douglas, Hattie McDaniel, and Frank Albertson. "After the first time things are never as lovely again." I DVR'd this picture off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) because I enjoy watching Joan Crawford flicks. Overall, this was a fun film to watch but is fairly straightforward with little misdirection or intriguing subplots. This is a film I'd probably skip unless you're a Joan Craford fan and I definitely wouldn't add it to my DVD collection. "Stop fighting and let it burn." Grade: B-

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Shining Hour on our Movie forum!

News & Features