The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929)

Genres - Drama, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Religious Drama  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

The first of two film versions of Thornton Wilder's novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey begins at the end. The titular bridge, which stands in 18th-century Peru, collapses, killing five people. The natives believe that the bridge's destruction was the result of Divine intervention. Using this as a cue, the film flashes back on the lives of the five victims, allowing the audience to determine whether or not their deaths were deserved. Top-billed as a wanton Spanish dancer/courtesan is Lily Damita, who later gave up her career to become the first wife of Errol Flynn. Originally a silent film, Bridge of San Luis Rey was hastily fitted with an opening and closing reel of dialogue to take advantage of the "all-talkie" craze of 1929. The film was remade in 1945, with perennial "other woman" Lynn Bari in the Lily Damita role.



bridge [structure], divine-intervention, Peru, punishment, sin, disaster