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Die ondeugende lady X (1938)

The Divorce of Lady X (original title)
Divorce lawyer Everard Logan thinks the woman who spent the night in his hotel room is the erring wife of his new client.


Tim Whelan


Lajos Biró (adaptation) (as Lajos Biro), Ian Dalrymple (scenario & dialogue) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Merle Oberon ... Leslie
Laurence Olivier ... Logan
Binnie Barnes ... Lady Mere
Ralph Richardson ... Lord Mere
Morton Selten ... Lord Steele
J.H. Roberts ... Slade
Gertrude Musgrove Gertrude Musgrove ... Saunders
Gus McNaughton ... Waiter
H.B. Hallam H.B. Hallam ... Jefferies
Eileen Peel ... Mrs. Johnson


Laurence Olivier plays Logan, a barrister who falls in love with Leslie (played by Merle Oberon), the woman he thinks his client will soon be divorcing. Written by H. A. Lakatos <lakatos@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

26 September 1938 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

De vrouw zonder naam See more »


Box Office


£99,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording) (Western Electric Noiseless System)


Color (photographed in) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This movie was included in the first syndicated television presentation of a package of major studio movies on U.S. television. It premiered in Baltimore Friday, August 20, 1948 on WMAR (Channel 2), followed by Philadelphia Friday, August 27, 1948 on WFIL (Channel 6), by Cleveland Sunday, August 29, 1948 on WEWS (Channel 5), by Boston Sunday, September 5, 1948 on WBZ (Channel 4), by Chicago Monday, September 13, 1948 on WGN (Channel 9), by Los Angeles Thursday, September 23, 1948 on KTLA (Channel 5), by Atlanta Wednesday, November 17, 1948 on WSB (Channel 8), by New York City, on Friday, November 19, 1948 on WPIX (Channel 11), and by Dayton Sunday, March 20, 1949 on WHIO (Channel 13). Although filmed in Technicolor, these telecasts were in black-and-white, since color broadcasting was still in its experimental stage. The package consisted of twenty-four Alexander Korda productions originally released theatrically between 1933 and 1942. See more »


When on the ship, Logan and Leslie move to the bulwark and Logan holds on to the pillar to his right. In the very next shot, he has both of his hands on the top rail and then holds on to the pillar to his right again. See more »


Leslie: And what do you think he said about women?
Lady Mere: Could have been anything.
Leslie: He said we were merciless, stupid, brainless and hopeless.
Lady Mere: You know, he's not very far wrong? Anything else?
Leslie: Yes. He said we spend half our time wondering what part of our bodies to paint next.
Lady Mere: Oh, well, now my dear, that is a lie.
[as she's getting her toenails painted]
See more »


Version of Counsel's Opinion (1933) See more »


Hullambo Balaton Tetejen
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User Reviews

Slight comedy of manners badly needs color restoration...
5 November 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

This DIVORCE OF LADY X is the sort of film about misunderstandings among the upper crust of society that American audiences usually associate with someone like Norman Krasna, who wrote so many romantic comedies where someone assumed a different identity to keep the mistaken identity theme afloat for the duration of the plot. If I hadn't known better, I would have suspected he had a hand in this screenplay.

Here we have an early comedy from the U.K., courtesy of Alexander Korda, making use of three strip Technicolor--very low-key color apparently, at least judging from the rather poor Public Domain prints I've seen.

LAURENCE OLIVIER plays a barrister whose disdain for women is on a level with Professor Henry Higgins--he tolerates them until he falls in love with them. The joke here is that he is mistaken about the identity of MERLE OBERON, who gets even with him after finding out how rudely he treats women, by pretending to be the wife of RALPH RICHARDSON. He's hoodwinked by her until the very end when she realizes they share a mutual attraction.

It's amusing to watch Olivier and Oberon tackle these lightweight roles only a year before joining forces again for WUTHERING HEIGHTS. He has some very scathing comments to make about the opposite sex and plays his role with gusto. She's a bit more restrained in her role but together they show the kind of chemistry they would also get to display in the William Wyler film the following year.

This would have been more watchable if the color wasn't so badly in need of restoration.

Summing up: Amusing comedy of manners among British aristocracy.

P.S. - This is an update on my review of the film. Saw it today in brightly restored Technicolor which at least adds to the film's entertainment value, though the script is the main trouble. But TCM featured it in pristine condition in color that was extremely washed out and primitive looking before. It's now seen to advantage and adds a great deal of interest to viewing it as it was originally intended.

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