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Private Worlds (Paramount 1935, Charles Boyer, Claudette Colbert)



Charles Boyer stars as the new superintendent of a progressive mental hospital. His apparent coldness first arouses resentment among the doctors on the staff, but his reasonable, basically kind nature eventually wins them over, and one of the doctors (Claudette Colbert) falls in love with him. Meanwhile, another doctor’s pregnant wife (Joan Bennett) becomes alarmed over her husband’s attentions to Boyer’s sister. This little-known but excellent film was far ahead of its time (for Hollywood) in dealing seriously with psychiatry and mental illness.

During the shooting of Private Worlds, director Gregory La Cava, dissatisfied with Charles Boyer’s performance, asked him in what language he was thinking before saying his lines. Boyer replied, French’ (his native language). La Cava advised him to think in English. Boyer followed this advice. He later considered it a turning point in his career.

production details
USA | Paramount | 84 minutes | 1935

Director: Gregory La Cava
Producer: Adolph Zukor
Director of Photography: Leon Shamroy
Editor: Aubrey Scotto
Music: Heinz Roemheld
Script: Gregory La Cava. Lynn Starling
Art Director: Alexander Toluboff

Claudette Colbert as Dr. Jane Everest
Charles Boyer as Dr. Charles Monet
Joan Bennett as Sally MacGregor
Helen Vinson as Claire Monet
Joel McCrea as Dr. Alex MacGregor
Jean Rouverol as Carrie Flint
Esther Dale as Matron
Guinn Williams as Jerry
Bess Flowers as Bessie
Irving Bacon as McLean