The Divorce of Lady X

The Divorce of Lady X

Tim Whelan (1938)

U Certificate


Our Score
Producer Alexander Korda used marvellous early three-strip Technicolor to give this piece of screwball whimsy a special lustre. The film starred his wife-to-be Merle Oberon, who plays a party-goer trapped in a London hotel by one of those fogs so beloved of Americans, and Korda hoped the use of colour would endear the star to US audiences. The Technicolor works, but Oberon doesn't - comedy clearly wasn't her forte, and she fared much better the following year when paired again with Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights. Olivier does little more than pout, so the acting honours are stolen by Ralph Richardson and Binnie Barnes, who played the Oberon role in an earlier screen version of the same tale, Counsel's Opinion, in 1933. The film's quite amusing, though, in a daft and inconsequential way. Watch out for a scene in which Olivier gets a message: the teenage actor playing the bellboy grew up to become Lewis Gilbert, one of Britain's most distinguished, and certainly most commercially successful, directors.


A staid London barrister is coaxed into sharing his hotel room suite with a mysterious woman after she becomes stranded owing to bad weather. Before long he is drawn to her aura of elusiveness - which he puts down to her being married and therefore 'unavailable'. Events then take an unexpected turn when an old friend arrives at the lawyer's chambers to instigate divorce proceedings - causing the barrister to jump to the entirely wrong conclusion. Romantic comedy, with Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon, Binnie Barnes and Ralph Richardson.

Cast & Crew

Everard Logan Laurence Olivier
Leslie Steele Merle Oberon
Lady Claire Mere Binnie Barnes
Lord Mere Ralph Richardson
Lord Steele Morton Selten
Slade JH Roberts
Saunders Gertrude Musgrove
Room Service Waiter Gus McNaughton
Director Tim Whelan
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: London Film Prods LtdAvailable on: video