Merrily We Go to Hell 1932
Between 1927 and 1943, the year when she retired from feature filmmaking, Dorothy Arzner was the only female film director working in Hollywood. She made twenty films over that period and launched the careers of several stars, including Katherine Hepburn. Produced during the pre-code era, Merrily We Go to Hell is one of her best.

The very wealthy socialite Joan Prentice (Sylvia Sydney) and aspiring reporter Jerry Corbett (Fredric March) meet at a lavish party and begin dating. Convinced that they were meant to be together, the two quickly marry and move away from the bride's wealthy family so that they don't have to constantly meet meaningless expectations. But the groom's alcohol addiction and inexorable desire to have a second woman (Adrianne Allen) in his life quickly complicate his relationship with the bride and they begin drifting apart. However, instead of immediately going to work to fix their relationship the two temporarily settle down for an 'open marriage' that is supposed to gradually help them become like their parents.

Arzner’s film is less of a cautionary tale and more of a tragedy, where the two lovers are fated to experience unhappiness. March and Sydney are well-balanced in this drama which is years ahead of its time.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Cast: Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March, Adrianne Allen, Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher, George Irving, Esther Howard, Florence Britton, Charles Coleman, Cary Grant, Kent Taylor
Country: United States
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

BD50, DVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC 4:3 | 01:23:14 | 41.6 Gb + 7.39 Gb
Language: English
Subtitles: English


Cari Beauchamp - in this new video essay, film historian Cari Beauchamp discusses the production of Merrily We Go to Hell and Dorothy Arzner's career. In English, not subtitled. (27 min).

Dorothy Arzner: Longing for Women - an archival program that takes a closer look at the life and legacy of Dorothy Arzner produced by Katja Raganelli in 1980. In English and German, with optional English subtitles where neccasary. (47 min).