Favorite things about… Forbidden

(Image via Doctor Macro)

The favorite film:
Forbidden, a 1932 Columbia Pictures romantic drama directed by Frank Capra

The synopsis:
Lulu is a dowdy librarian who decides to do something for herself and take a vacation from her dull, plain life. She takes a cruise to Cuba, where she meets and falls in love with a man named Bob. When they return to the States, Lulu learns that Bob is married and is actually a politician with his career on the rise. She breaks off the relationship, only to discover that she’s pregnant. When the child is born, Lulu pretends that she is the child’s nanny so Bob won’t know that he has a daughter. Meanwhile, Lulu works at a newspaper, where editor Holland is looking to dig up dirt on Bob.

The cast:
Barbara Stanwyck as Lulu
Adolphe Menjou as Bob
Ralph Bellamy as Holland

Fun facts:

  • Columbia wanted to re-release the film in 1935, but it was turned down by the Production Code Administration due to the plotline of adultery.
  • Stanwyck and Capra also worked together on 1930’s Ladies of Leisure, 1931’s The Miracle Woman, 1933’s The Bitter Tea of General Yen, and 1941’s Meet John Doe.
  • While filming the scene in which Lulu and Bob ride horses on the beach together, Stanwyck was thrown from and kicked by her horse. Menjou immediately came to her assistance. Stanwyck, ever the trooper, finished the scene before agreeing to be taken to the hospital. The injury to her tailbone was a source of pain for the rest of her life.

Favorite things:

  • Even a dumpy hairdo and circular spectacles can’t make Stanwyck look like a spinster, and her transformation into a glamour girl happens very quickly.
  • Everyone on the cruise freaks out about Lulu asking for a table for one.
    • “Two days out and she’s still one!”
  • Stanwyck’s great chemistry with both Bellamy and Menjou
  • The masks worn by Bob and Lulu before he tells her he’s married are superior to the masks worn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
  • Tension builds as the film progresses, allowing Stanwyck to show off her talent with a wide range of emotions, reminding the viewers why we love her so much!
  • Stanwyck sings a lullaby.
  • The film covers a very long span of their lives, and by the end, they’re made up to look much older than their characters should actually be.
(Image via Doctor Macro)
  • Quotes:
    • Bob: “I’m the census taker.”
      Lulu: “Oh, I lost my census long ago.”
    • Holland: “In the last 10 or 15 minutes, I’ve decided to ask you to marry me. Whaddya say?”
    • Holland: “A photograph I found in your trunk… of you and your boyfriend making whoopie in Havana.”

5 thoughts on “Favorite things about… Forbidden

  1. […] Forbidden (1932), another of Capra’s Stanwyck collaborations, is the director’s most gripping film. This time around, Stanwyck stars as a dowdy librarian who decides to take a cruise to Cuba, gives herself a glamorous makeover and falls in love with a married politician. What seems like a typical “love triangle” plot at first glance becomes a strong critique of society’s views on marriage and motherhood. […]


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