Radcliffe Hall (source) CHILDREN OF LONELINESS (1937) Photo


New York: Jewel Productions, [1937]. Vintage original 8 x 10″ (20 x 25 cm.) black-and-white photo. With stamp on verso of the production company, fine.

Children of Loneliness (also released as The Third Sex and The Strange Lovers) was an unacknowledged adaptation of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness. It was certainly the first American feature film to deal with lesbians.

Children of Loneliness was very loosely based on Radclyffe Hall’s 1928 The Well of Loneliness, a boldly lesbian novel that still stands as an important literary work. As adapted by screenwriter Howard Bradford and the film’s director Richard C. Kahn, Hall’s relatively sedate story is fully jettisoned in favor of a far more lurid melodramatic tone…

“The tone of the film is echoed in the letter sent to the Library of Congress by the film’s producers when the film was submitted for copyright in March 1935: ‘Children of Loneliness concerns itself with the story of those unfortunate members of society known as inverts whose sexual instincts have been misdirected to such an extent that they approach the state of degeneracy.’ It describes this ‘scientific presentation’ as ‘an absorbing subject that deals with the manifestations, evil associations and mental complexes that affect and misdirect normal adults into channels resulting in homo-sexuality…’

“Due to the film’s limited release, it was not widely reviewed, but when it was, the focus wasn’t always on the picture. For example, writing for the Motion Picture Herald in November 1937, William Weaver decried the film’s inept camerawork and other ‘B-minus’ efforts. He also described his fellow movie-goers at the screening as ‘lisping’ young men and ‘throaty’ middle-aged women.” (Library of Congress Blogs) <https://blogs.loc.gov/now-see- hear/2015/11/a-movie-missing-in-action-children-of-loneliness-1935/>

No copy of this film is known to have survived, and this single photo is the only one we have ever seen.

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