Sunday, 5 December 2010

Clemence Dane's A Bill of Divorcement

Lowry mentions A Bill of Divorcement in his filmscript for Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night in a sequence where the character Dick Divers walks past cinemas and theatres on Broadway in New York.

Clemence Dane was the pseudonym of Winifred Ashton (21 February 1888 in Blackheath, England, United Kingdom – 28 March 1965 in London), an English novelist and playwright.

A Bill of Divorcement is a British play written by Clemence Dane that debuted in 1921 in London. Dane wrote it as a reaction to a law passed in Britain in the early 1920s that allowed insanity as grounds for a woman divorcing her husband. Constance Binney (seen above) starred in the 1922 UK stage version which Lowry may have seen in London.

It was made into a British silent film in 1922, and into American films in 1932 and 1940. The most well-known treatment was the 1932 film, which was Katharine Hepburn's film debut.

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