The Ware Case (1938 film)

The Ware Case is a 1938 British drama film directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Clive Brook, Jane Baxter and Barry K. Barnes.[1] It is an adaptation of the play The Ware Case (1915) by George Pleydell Bancroft,[2] which had previously been made into two silent films, in 1917 and 1928.[3] It had been a celebrated stage vehicle for Sir Gerald Du Maurier.[4] The film was made at Ealing Studios with Stately home exteriors shot in the grounds of Pinewood.[4] Oscar Friedrich Werndorff worked as set designer.[5]

The Ware Case
British poster
Directed byRobert Stevenson
Produced byMichael Balcon
Written byG.P. Bancroft (play)
E.V.H. Emmett
Roland Pertwee
Robert Stevenson
StarringClive Brook
Jane Baxter
Barry K. Barnes
Francis L. Sullivan
Music byErnest Irving
CinematographyRonald Neame
Edited byCharles Saunders
Distributed byABFD (UK)
20th Century Fox (US)
Release date
2 December 1938 (United Kingdom)
21 July 1939 (United States)
Running time
79 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

In Forever Ealing, George Perry wrote, "The Ware Case is a stagey, melodramatic piece. But it was made on schedule within its budget, and was thus able to go into profit." [3]


The jury looks back on events that lead to profligate baronet Sir Hubert Ware being tried for murder. His brother-in-law's corpse has been found floating in Sir Hubert's garden pond. The baronet is eventually found not guilty, but upon returning home, finds his lawyer is having an affair with his wife. In the ensuing argument, and on discovering his wife loves another man, Sir Hubert confesses his guilt and then makes a suicidal leap from a balcony.


Critical reception

The New York Times reviewer commented that "you may find some enjoyment in the film. But this reporter found Sir Hubert such an insufferable snob—even though he was played with velvet grace by Clive Brook—and the turning out of the pseudo-mystery story such a chunk of maudlin claptrap that it stirs him to nothing more fervid than a thoroughly indifferent "So what?" And this in spite of the fact that a very good cast does its best".[6] According to TV Guide it is a "strong, tense drama with convincing motivations".[7]



  • Low, Rachael. Filmmaking in 1930s Britain. George Allen & Unwin, 1985.
  • Perry, George. Forever Ealing. Pavilion Books, 1994.
  • Wood, Linda. British Films, 1927-1939. British Film Institute, 1986.
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