Reversed luck

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German title Reversed luck
Original title The great lie
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1941
length 107 minutes
Director Edmund Goulding
script Lenore J. Coffee
production Hal B. Wallis ,
Henry Blanke
music Max Steiner
camera Tony Gaudio
cut Ralph Dawson

Reversed happiness , also known as The Great Lie (Original title: The Great Lie), is an American film drama directed by Edmund Goulding from 1941. The leading roles are starring Bette Davis , George Brent and Mary Astor .

The screenplay is based on the novel The Far Horizon by Polan Banks.

The film premiered on April 5, 1941 in Littleton, New Hampshire . In Germany, Reversed Luck was shown on April 7, 1998 as a television premiere on ARD .


Concert pianist Sandra Kovak and pilot Pete Van Allen decided to get married. Pete's lawyer explains to him that Sandra's divorce has not yet been finalized and that her marriage is therefore invalid. Pete, realizing that he doesn't love domineering Sandra, flees - to gain some distance - to Maryland to his longtime friend Maggie Patterson. Maggie genuinely loves Pete but is concerned about his alcohol consumption. Pete's attempt to talk to Maggie about recent events fails because Maggie withdraws from him, deeply hurt. So Pete returns to Sandra without Maggie knowing that Pete's marriage to Sandra is invalid. Sandra, who still assumes she is married to Pete, is informed by him that her marriage is invalid and must be repeated. He wants to repeat the procedure a week later on the day Sandra's divorce became final. Sandra insists that she has to give a concert in Philadelphia that day and cannot be in New York . Pete waits until midnight for Sandra to return to New York. However, she does not appear. Without further ado, Pete marries Maggie, whom he actually loves.

Five days later, Pete was summoned to Washington, DC for work interviews while Maggie was waiting for him in New York. Here she learns that Sandra is expecting a child. Sandra intends to tie Pete to her with the help of the baby and declares war on Maggie. Pete, who is piloting his plane over the Brazilian jungle, does not return from this flight. The aircraft is reported missing soon afterwards, and searches are unsuccessful. Maggie suggests taking in and raising Sandra's child. In return, she wants to ensure Sandra's financial independence. The two women withdraw to the Arizona desert and await the birth of the child. Sandra gives birth to a son and then returns to her glittering world as a pianist. Maggie returns to her home with Pete Jr. and pretends to be her own baby.

A little later, Pete is found alive. His joy in being a father is evident. Maggie doesn't tell him who the child's real mother is. Sandra tries to get back to Pete through the child and tells Maggie that Pete is only staying with her because of the child. As soon as he knew the truth, he would leave her and come back to her, whom he had always loved. Then Maggie tells Pete the truth. Pete is now clear about his feelings for Maggie and makes the suggestion with a heavy heart that Sandra could keep the child, but that he stay with Maggie in any case. Then Sandra decides to leave and leaves the child, with whom she still has nothing to do with, in the care of Maggie and Pete.

Production and Background

It is a Warner Bros. production. Filming took place in California from late October to mid-December 1940. Some scenes were filmed on location at Warner Ranch in Calabasas and in the Mojave Desert near Victorville . The film had three different working titles: Far Horizon ; Women of the World and January Heights .

The Great Lie ( The Great Lie ) was Bette Davis last wacky film in 1940 and her first film in 1941 was released. In this drama film, two women (Bette Davis and Mary Astor) vie for the same man. Davis plays the subtle Maggie and Astor the somewhat wicked pianist Sandra, who is only interested in her career. The role of Astor was originally intended to only serve as a background character with the purpose of disrupting the love between the two main characters (Bette Davis and George Brent). However, Bette Davis was so impressed by Mary Astor's screen tests that she not only campaigned for the Astor to get the role, but also made sure that the role of Astor was aligned with her in scope, making it two almost equal female roles in the movie there. The actress' engagement paid off overall and made the script better. When Mary Astor received the Oscar for her "brilliant portrayal" of the Sandra Kovaks, much of that credit was attributed to the efforts of the Davis. In addition to her, she also mentioned the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in her acceptance speech and thanked him for it.

While the flight scenes were performed by George Brent, who had a pilot's license, the scenes in which Mary Astor played the piano were doubled with the hands of Norma Drury Boleslavsky. In the background, Max Rabinovitch sat at the piano. In a Lux Radio Theater broadcast on March 2, 1942, Brent and Astor appeared in their ancestral roles. Jan Sterling , Catherine McLeod and Glenn Langan starred in a 1957 Lux Video Theater adaptation .


"A tricky melodrama, which despite its implausible plot, thanks to the solid direction and the excellent play of the two leading actresses, entertains acceptably."

“Edmund Goulding turned this unusual melodrama around a bitter misogyny, whose broken figures do not come together in the end to a harmonious happy ending. Mary Astor was awarded the Oscar for best supporting actress in 1942 for her convincing portrayal of Sandra. "

"Bosley Crowther of the New York Times thought that the scenes in which Miss Astor as Sandra Kovak is expecting and having the baby in Arizona were 'by far the best in the film.' It 'crackles' and 'sardonic humor' flashes. "


At the Oscar ceremony in 1942 Mary Astor for her performance in this film with the Oscar in the category "Best Supporting Actress" award.

DVD release

  • Reversed luck . Published by Warner Home Video on June 13, 2008. 103 minutes.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e The Great Lie. In: Turner Classic Movies . Retrieved March 17, 2019 .
  2. Jerry Vermilye: Bette Davis Her Films - Her Life. Heyne Filmbibliothek Nr. 32/4, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich, 2nd updated edition 1988, pp. 91, 92.
  3. Jump up luck in the Lexicon of International FilmsTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used . Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  4. Jump up luck at Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  5. The Great Lie Bosley Crowther . In: The New York Times . April 12, 1941, accessed March 26, 2013.
  6. Jump up luck at Retrieved March 26, 2013.