By Candlelight. 1933. USA. Directed by James Whale. Screenplay by Hans Kraly, Karen De Wolf, F. Hugh Herbert, Ruth Cummings. With Elissa Landi, Paul Lukas, Nils Asther, Esther Ralston. 35mm. 69 min.
By 1934, Elissa Landi’s prime time at Fox had come and gone. The studio burdened her with the inscrutable tag “Empress of Emotions,” she failed to ignite the box office, and it was reported that Fox wanted to ease her out of the contract. The stellar returns for The Sign of the Cross, made at Paramount, temporarily revived her fortunes, though The Warrior’s Husband (1933) and I Loved You Wednesday (1933), both interesting roles, still lost money. Loaned out again, this time to Universal, Landi also made By Candlelight in 1933, which offered an excellent script and a first-rate director in the person of the great James Whale. Landi was never more appealing than as Marie, the lovely young lady who meets Continental charmer Josef (Paul Lukas) on the train to Monte Carlo, but is unaware that her suitor is not the prince he pretends to be. Of course, Marie has some secrets of her own.