Friends and Lovers (film)

Friends and Lovers (1931) is an American Pre-Code drama film released by RKO Radio Pictures, directed by Victor Schertzinger, and starring Adolphe Menjou, Lili Damita, Laurence Olivier, Erich von Stroheim, and Hugh Herbert.[1][2]

Friends and Lovers
Theatrical poster for the film
Directed byVictor Schertzinger
Produced byWilliam LeBaron
Written byWallace Smith (adaptation)
Jane Murfin
Based onLe sphinx a parlé
1930 novel
by Maurice Dekobra
StarringLili Damita
Adolphe Menjou
Laurence Olivier
Eric von Stroheim
Music byVictor Schertzinger
Max Steiner
CinematographyJ. Roy Hunt
Edited byWilliam Hamilton
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • October 3, 1931 (1931-10-03)
Running time
68 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film recorded a loss of $260,000.[3]


British Army captain Geoff Roberts (Adolphe Menjou) carries on an affair with Alva (Lili Damita), the wife of the cruel Victor Sangrito (Erich Von Stroheim). Sangrito, however, is well aware of the affair, as he uses his beautiful wife to lure men into romance with her, then blackmailing them to save their careers.

When Roberts falls into Sangrito's trap, he pays the blackmail and leaves for India, hoping to forget Alva, whom he loved but now believes betrayed him. After some time in India, he is joined by his young friend and bosom companion Lt. Ned Nichols (Laurence Olivier). Nichols, too, is in love with a woman back in England—the same woman.

Although the two friends nearly come to blows over Alva, they eventually realize that she has been false to them both and that their friendship far outweighs their feelings for a mendacious woman. However, when the two are invalided home, they encounter Alva again, and learn that she may not have betrayed them after all.



  1. Friends and Lovers (1931) - IMDb
  2. BFI | Film & TV Database | FRIENDS AND LOVERS (1931)
  3. Richard Jewell & Vernon Harbin, The RKO Story. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982. p41
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