A Notorious Affair

A Notorious Affair is a 1930 American pre-Code drama film, produced and released by First National Pictures. It was directed by Lloyd Bacon, starred Billie Dove, and featured Basil Rathbone and Kay Francis.[2][1] The film was adapted from the play Fame, which was written by Audrey and Waverly Carter.

A Notorious Affair
Directed byLloyd Bacon
Produced byRobert North
Written byContributing writers:
Forrest Halsey
Lillian Hayward
Earle Roebuck
Screenplay byJ. Grubb Alexander
Based onFame (1929 play)
by Audrey and Waverly Carter
StarringBillie Dove
Music byCecil Copping
CinematographyErnest Haller
Edited byFrank Ware
Distributed byFirst National Pictures
Release date
April 25, 1930 (NYC)
May 4, 1930 (US)[1]
Running time
70 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States


Lady Patricia (Billie Dove), a London socialite engaged to another aristocrat, shocks her father and social class by marrying the poor Italian violinist Paul Gherardi (Basil Rathbone). Countess Olga Balakireff (Kay Francis), a vamp who likes to fool around with men below her station, takes an interest in Gherardi, as well. Unbeknownst to Patricia, Balakireff uses her influence to make Paul famous and, in return, ensnares him in an affair. The double strain of fame and deceit causes Paul to suffer a collapse at Balakireff's house. Dr. Pomeroy (Kenneth Thompson) is sent for, who happens to be one of Patricia's former lovers. He has Paul taken home, where Patricia quickly uncovers the facts. The couple separate. While Dr. Pomeroy ardently courts Patricia, Paul cohabits with Balakireff in the South of France, until she has had her fun and leaves him. Paul then suffers a paralytic attack. Patricia and Dr. Pomeroy take Paul to a surgeon for an operation, and Patricia stays at her husband's side to nurse him back to health. After a month, Paul still seems not to have made any progress and accuses Patricia of wanting to leave him for Thompson. The moment after Thompson and Patricia have said goodbye forever because she won't leave a paralyzed husband, Paul reveals to his wife that he has, in fact, fully recovered, and the two are reconciled.



The film survives intact and has been broadcast on television and cable. A print is held by the Library of Congress and it is also in the Turner Library.[3]


  1. A Notorious Affair at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. American Film Institute (1997) The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921–30 p. 555. ISBN 978-0-520-20969-5.
  3. American Film Institute (1978) Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress

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