24 year-old Katherine Hepburn makes her screen debut in the second film adaptation of Clemence Dane's 1921 stage play 'A Bill Of Divorcement'. "Dane wrote it as a reaction to a law passed in Britain in the early 1920s that allowed insanity as grounds for a woman divorcing her husband." (Wikipedia) It was also a statement on the emerging field of genetics, suggesting that insanity is hereditary and should not be passed onto future generations. The play's explicit reference to eugenics was omitted from the film versions.
Katherine Hepburn plays the daughter of John Barrymore and Billie Burke in this film. John Barrymore was at the top of his acting game perhaps, but you can see the effects of his lifestyle taking it's toll on him. This was Billie Burke's (Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, Dinner At 8, Topper) return to screen acting and her first speaking screen role after emergence from "retirement", but she was a seasoned performer of both London and Broadway stage and many silent films. Her husband Florenz Ziegfeld passed away during the making of this film.
In our film, Barrymore escapes from the private mental institution in which he's been held for 15 years and returns to his home, where he finds a daughter that never knew him and a wife who has divorced him and is set to marry another man. Hepburn herself is engaged to be married, but when she learns of her father's illness and it's genetic potential she breaks her engagement and chooses to remain with and care for her father. The relationship between Barrymore and Hepburn was most notable in this film. This was also Hepburn's first time working under the direction of George Cukor, marking the start of an extraordinary 47 year film relationship and life-long friendship.
The original rip of this movie was out of sync at the end of the movie when played in VLC. This movie has been re-ripped and re-converted, and I could not see any out of sync problems when playing with either VLC or MPC. It is also now at 640x480 resolution, and ESS support has been added.