The Guardsman

The Guardsman is a 1931 American pre-Code film based on the play Testőr by Ferenc Molnár. It stars Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne, Roland Young and ZaSu Pitts. It opens with a stage re-enactment of the final scene of Maxwell Anderson's Elizabeth the Queen, with Fontanne as Elizabeth and Lunt as the Earl of Essex, but otherwise has nothing to do with that play.

The Guardsman
Directed bySidney Franklin
Harold S. Bucquet (ass't director)
Produced byAlbert Lewin (*uncredited)
Irving Thalberg (*uncredited)
Written byFerenc Molnar (play)
Maxwell Anderson
Ernest Vajda (screenplay)
Claudine West (continuity)
StarringAlfred Lunt
Lynn Fontanne
CinematographyNorbert Brodine
Edited byConrad Nervig
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
November 7, 1931
Running time
89 minutes (10 reels)
CountryUnited States

The movie was adapted by Ernest Vajda (screenplay) and Claudine West (continuity) and was directed by Sidney Franklin.[2] Lunt and Fontanne were husband and wife and a celebrated stage acting team. This movie was based upon the roles they had played on Broadway in 1924 and it was their only starring film role together. They were nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Leading Role, respectively.[3] Nonetheless the film was not a popular success at the box office, and the two stars returned to working on Broadway.[4]


The story revolves around a husband-and-wife acting team. Simply because he is insecure, the husband suspects his wife could be capable of infidelity. The husband disguises himself as a guardsman with a thick accent, woos his wife under his false identity, and ends up seducing her. The couple stays together, and at the end the wife tells the husband that she knew it was him, but played along with the deception.




  1. Balio p.185
  2. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 by The American Film Institute, © 1993
  3. The Guardsman as produced on Broadway, Garrick Theatre, October 13, 1924 to December 1925;
  4. Balio p.185


  • Balio Tino. Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Entertprise 1930-1939. University of California Press, 1995.
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