Anthony Adverse

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Anthony Adverse is a 1936 American drama film directed by Mervyn LeRoy. The screenplay by Sheridan Gibney is based on the sprawling 1,224-page novel of the same title by Hervey Allen.



The plot of the epic costume drama follows the globe-trotting adventures of the title character, the illegitimate offspring of Maria Bonnyfeather, the wife of the cruel and devious middle-aged nobleman Marquis Don Luis, and Denis Moore. When he learns of his wife's affair, Don Luis challenges her lover to a duel. Denis is killed, and shortly thereafter Maria dies in childbirth. Don Luis leaves the infant at a convent, where the nuns christen him Anthony, and lie to wealthy merchant John Bonnyfeather, Maria's father, telling him that the infant is also dead. Ten years later, completely by coincidence, the child is apprenticed to Bonnyfeather, his real grandfather, who discovers his relationship to the boy but keeps it a secret from him. He gives the boy the surname Adverse in acknowledgement of the difficult life he has led.

As an adult, Anthony falls in love with Angela Giuseppe, the cook's daughter, and the couple wed. Soon after the ceremony, Anthony departs for Havana to save Bonnyfeather's fortune. The note Angela leaves Anthony is blown away and he is unaware that she has gone to another city. Instead, assuming he has abandoned her, she pursues a career as an opera singer. Anthony leaves Cuba for Africa, where he becomes corrupted by his involvement with the slave trade. He is redeemed by his friendship with Brother François, and following the friar's death he returns to Italy to find Bonnyfeather has died and his housekeeper, Faith Paleologus (now married to Don Luis), will inherit the man's estate fortune unless Anthony goes to Paris to claim his inheritance.

In Paris, Anthony is reunited with his friend, prominent banker Vincent Nolte, whom he saves from bankruptcy by giving him his fortune. Through the intercession of impressario Debrulle, Anthony finds Angela and discovers she bore him a son. She fails to reveal she is Mlle. Georges, a famous opera star and the mistress of Napoleon Bonaparte. When Anthony learns her secret, he departs for America with his son in search of a better life.

Principal cast

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