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Children of Divorce (1927)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 25 April 1927 (USA)
A young flapper tricks her childhood sweetheart into marrying her. He really loves another woman, but didn't marry her for fear the marriage would end in divorce, like his parents'. Complications ensue.


Frank Lloyd, Josef von Sternberg (uncredited)


Owen Johnson (novel) (as Owen McMahon Johnson), Adela Rogers St. Johns (story) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Clara Bow ... Kitty Flanders
Esther Ralston ... Jean Waddington
Gary Cooper ... Edward D. 'Ted' Larrabee
Einar Hanson ... Prince Ludovico de Saxe
Norman Trevor ... Duke Henri de Goncourt
Hedda Hopper ... Katherine Flanders
Edward Martindel ... Tom Larrabee
Julia Swayne Gordon ... Princess De Saxe
Tom Ricketts ... The Secretary
Albert Gran ... Mr. Seymour
Iris Stuart Iris Stuart ... Mousie
Margaret Campbell Margaret Campbell ... Mother Superior
Percy Williams ... Manning
Joyce Coad Joyce Coad ... Little Kitty
Yvonne Pelletier ... Little Jean


A young flapper tricks her childhood sweetheart into marrying her. He really loves another woman, but didn't marry her for fear the marriage would end in divorce, like his parents'. Complications ensue.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dancing Daughters, Jazz Orphans. "Courtship, Marriage, Divorce." Loveless lives and hearts hidden behind masks of riotous gayety. Lovable, pitiable children of divorce- (Print Ad-The Evening Sun,((Vancouver, B.C.)) 22 April 1927) See more »


Drama | Romance




Official Sites:

1st home video release ever



Release Date:

25 April 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Children of Divorce See more »

Filming Locations:

Del Monte, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent | Stereo (New score by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Josef von Sternberg was called in by Paramount to reshoot some scenes, shoot new scenes and recut the existing footage after executives made the determination that the film was not releasable. See more »


Kitty Flanders: You'd make a marvelous second husband but you are too much of a luxury for a poor girl's first husband.
See more »


Featured in Hollywood: Star Treatment (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

They Had Faces Then
4 April 2017 | by dglinkSee all my reviews

Early in the 20th century, divorced ex-pat Americans living in Paris dropped their unwanted children at the local convents and visited them only when their busy schedules permitted. Kitty and Jean were among these lonely children, and the pair quickly become friends. One day, a young boy, Edward, who was also a child of divorced parents, appears, and both girls are smitten with him. Years pass, and the three meet up again in the U.S., where a romantic triangle develops, which expands into a square, when a gold-digging prince enters the scene. "Children of Divorce," which was written by Adela Rogers St. Johns from a novel by Owen McMahon Johnson, is a sudsy melodrama, whose dated appeal lies, not in the story, but in the stars.

The "It" girl herself plays the adult Kitty; vivacious Clara Bow is wonderful as the sexually aggressive woman, who needs to marry well. Jean, Kitty's protector as a child and now described as the richest woman in America, has grown into lovely Esther Ralston. Ralston, who seems to have been largely forgotten, gives a naturalistic performance as a caring understanding woman, who is capable of self sacrifice. However, Jean's money is like catnip to the impoverished Prince Ludovico, played by Einar Hanson, and his uncle, Duke Henri, played by Norman Trevor. But the Prince and his uncle have to compete with tall lanky Gary Cooper of the piercing blue eyes, who captivates both Jean and Kitty. As the adult Edward, Cooper has it all: startling good looks, wealth, education, and lack of ambition. Besides the three stars, Hedda Hopper as Kitty's self-absorbed mother also makes an impression, although the rest of the cast has unfortunately fallen into obscurity.

Besides the melodramatic plot, a few aspects of this silent film may be off putting to general audiences. While the sets are convincing, they are so tall they disappear into the clouds, and the gargantuan doors dwarf the performers. Although a few flourishes of the grand style intrude, the acting is generally natural and underplayed. The film is short, even shorter if the inter-titles are taken into account, and director Frank Lloyd maintains a good pace. However, "Children of Divorce" will likely appeal primarily to silent-film buffs. Already attuned to both the limitations and the pleasures of pre-sound movies, aficionados of silent cinema can overlook the unconvincing drama and relish the luminous stars. Indeed, they had faces then, and Clara Bow, Gary Cooper, and Esther Ralston provide ample evidence herein.

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