The Shining Hour

The Shining Hour is a 1938 American romantic drama film directed by Frank Borzage, based on the 1934 play The Shining Hour by Keith Winter, and starring Joan Crawford and Margaret Sullavan. The supporting cast of the MGM film features Robert Young, Melvyn Douglas, Fay Bainter and Hattie McDaniel.

The Shining Hour
Original Film Poster
Directed byFrank Borzage
Produced byJoseph L. Mankiewicz
Frank Borzage (uncredited)
Written byPlay:
Keith Winter
Jane Murfin
Ogden Nash
StarringJoan Crawford
Margaret Sullavan
Robert Young
Melvyn Douglas
Music byFranz Waxman
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byFrank E. Hull
Distributed byLoew's.Inc
Release date
  • November 18, 1938 (1938-11-18)
Running time
76 min.
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,367,000[1]


Olivia Riley (Joan Crawford), a New York City nightclub dancer, tires of the fast life and consents to marry Henry Linden (Melvyn Douglas), a wealthy farmer from Wisconsin. Even before they engage to be married, however, Henry's brother David (Robert Young) is sent to New York by their domineering sister Hannah (Fay Bainter) to dissuade him from marrying Olivia. In private, Olivia slaps David when her integrity is questioned, but she marries Henry because she says he's the only person in her life who is endlessly positive. When Olivia moves to her new husband's farm in Wisconsin, she encounters trouble from her sister-in-law Hannah, who does not approve of her. Olivia finds an ally in David's wife, Judy (Margaret Sullavan), who is in a loveless marriage.

Olivia comes to realize that she and Judy are in the same situation. Olivia's situation is further complicated when David defends her from the unwanted advances of a farm hand and he begins to fall in love with her. Henry is unaware of this, but when Hannah finds out what is going on, she sets fire to the home in a drunken rage. Olivia saves a badly burned Judy, and David realizes he has loved Judy after all. Olivia then decides to leave the farm; and, as she drives away, Henry joins her and they leave together.


Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $942,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $425,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $137,000.[1]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.

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