The Barretts of Wimpole Street

Director: Sidney Franklin
Year Released: 1934
Rating: 2.0

Sickly poet Elizabeth Barrett (Norma Shearer), who has head and neck pain and struggles to walk, exchanges love letters with another poet, Robert Browning (Fredric March), and the two are really in love with each other, but Barrett's tyrannical father Edward (Charles Laughton) absolutely refuses to allow any of his children to marry, especially his "favorite."  The film does little to try to break free from being an adaptation of a stage play - it's about half-way through when she does leave (albeit temporarily) - and it's entirely too self-satisfied with itself: both poets cannot stop giving each other praise (other people do as well) for their work (which is admittedly good, but that's not the point).  Laughton had to have relished playing the authoritarian whose appearance literally drains all the mirth out of a room - it's hinted that he had incestuous feelings for his daughters (which would explain his need for control) but, considering the time, that doesn't get explored in much detail (though there is that "gleam" in the eye they couldn't edit out).