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Mourning Becomes Electra Details


Rosalind Russell stars in this marathon adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play. The O'Neill original transposed Euripides' Agamemnon/Clytemnestra legend to post-Civil War New England. Russell plays the daughter of a returning war hero (Raymond Massey), who comes home to find his wife (Katina Paxinou) in the arms of a younger man. The wife murders the husband, leaving it to her grown children--Russell and Michael Redgrave--to exact vengeance. This morbid plotline climaxes with Russell's descent into destructive self-righteousness and her brother's retreat into insanity. Though superbly acted, Mourning Becomes Electra scared away too many moviegoers in its original three-hour running time, which was still half the length of the O'Neill play. Even when pared down to 105 minutes for general release, the film lost tons of money for the ever-beleaguered RKO Studios; to complete the film's curse, Russell lost her long-cherished (and never-won) Best Actress Oscar to Loretta Young for Loretta Young. According to Oscar legend, Russell was so certain of winning, on the heels of her husband's massive promotional campaign, that she was already out of her seat when she heard Young's name. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:November 19, 1947


Awarded by
National Board of Review Michael Redgrave Best Actor 1947 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Michael Redgrave Best Actor 1947 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Rosalind Russell Best Actress 1947 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Rosalind Russell Best Actress 1947 Nominee


Rosalind Russell
as Lavinia Mannon
Michael Redgrave
as Orin Mannon
Raymond Massey
as Ezra Mannon
Katina Paxinou
as Christine Mannon
Leo Genn
as Adam Brent
Kirk Douglas
as Peter Niles
Colin Kenny
as Policeman
Emma Dunn
as Mrs. Borden
Marie Blake
as Minnie Ames
Elizabeth Risdon
as Mrs. Hills
Nora Cecil
as Louisa Amos
Thurston Hall
as Dr. Blake
Nancy Coleman
as Hazel Niles
Sara Allgood
as Landlady
Jimmy Conlin
as Abner Small
Clem Bevans
as Ira Mackel
Tito Vuolo
as Joe Silva
Erskine Sanford
as Josiah Borden
Henry Hull
as Seth Beckwith


Dudley Nichols
Dudley Nichols
Dudley Nichols
George Barnes
Richard Hageman
Composer (Music Score)
Constantin Bakaleinikoff
Musical Direction/Supervision
Chandler House
Roland Gross
Albert S. D'Agostino
Art Director
Darrell Silvera
Set Designer
Gile Steele
Costume Designer
Travis Banton
Costume Designer
Clem Portman
Sound/Sound Designer
Vernon Walker
Special Effects
Gordon Bau