A Woman Rebels

A Woman Rebels is a 1936 American historical drama film adapted from the novel Portrait of a Rebel by Netta Syrett and starring Katharine Hepburn as Pamela Thistlewaite, who rebels against the social mores of Victorian England. The film was directed by Mark Sandrich; it was the film debut of Van Heflin, and the final film of David Manners.

A Woman Rebels
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Sandrich
Produced byPandro S. Berman
Written byErnest Vajda
Anthony Veiller
Based onPortrait of a Rebel
by Netta Syrett
StarringKatharine Hepburn
Herbert Marshall
Elizabeth Allan
Music byRoy Webb
CinematographyRobert De Grasse
Edited byJane Loring
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release date
  • November 6, 1936 (1936-11-06)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$583,000[1]

Hepburn's performance as the defiant young woman is considered the epitome of her feminist characterizations of the 1930s.


In Victorian London, Pamela defies her autocratic father (Donald Crisp), and has a baby out of wedlock with her lover, Gerald Waring (Van Heflin, in his screen debut). Pamela's pregnant sister Flora (Elizabeth Allan) hears of the death of her young husband, faints, hurting herself, and dies. Pamela raises her illegitimate daughter as her niece and becomes a crusading journalist for women's rights. Eventually she agrees to marry diplomat Thomas Lane (Herbert Marshall) after being unfairly named as co-respondent in Waring's divorce.



With a box office loss estimated at a hefty $222,000 for RKO, this was Hepburn's third flop in a row which contributed to Hepburn's growing reputation as "box office poison".[1]


  1. Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57
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