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Susan and God (1940) is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature film starring Joan Crawford and Fredric March in a story about a matron who finds religion. The screenplay by Anita Loos was based upon a 1937 play by Rachel Crothers. The film was directed by George Cukor and produced by Hunt Stromberg. The film has been released to VHS.

Plot and cast

Susan (Crawford), a flighty society matron, returns from Europe waxing enthusiatic about a new religious movement that alienates friends "Hutchie" and Charlotte (Nigel Bruce and Ruth Hussey). Susan's own life is in disarray: she is estranged from her intelligent and sensitive husband Barrie (March) and has neglected her introverted and maladjusted daughter Blossom (Rita Quigley). At first, Barrie is taken in by Susan's new passion, believing it is a sign of maturity, but he suffers disappointment when he realizes it is simply another manifestation of her shallowness. Gradually, Susan begins to understand the pain she has caused her family and determines to put her own house in order before meddling in the lives of others. Cast includes Rita Hayworth, John Carroll, Bruce Cabot, Constance Collier, Gloria DeHaven, and Marjorie Main.

Production notes

The play on which the film was based, Susan and God, premiered in Princeton, New Jerseymarker, before it opened on Broadwaymarker on 7 October, 1937 at the Plymouth Theatre, in a production directed by John Golden and designed by Jo Mielziner. It starred Gertrude Lawrence and ran for 288 performances.

MGM reportedly paid $75,000 (USD) for the rights to Rachel Crothers' play. It was intended as a vehicle for Norma Shearer, but the star refused to play the role of a mother with a teenage daughter. Greer Garson was also considered for the role before it went to Joan Crawford.

Rita Hayworth was loaned to MGM for this film by her studio, Columbia Pictures. This was also Fredric March's return to film after a year and a half's absence appearing on the stage.

Reception

Variety noted, "Joan Crawford provides a strong portrayal of Susan...George Cukor's direction highlights the characterizations he unfolds." Howard Barnes in the New York Herald Tribune commented, "[Crawford] is not entirely successful in blending silliness with romantic power."

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