Addiction, nonmonogamy, and female sexual liberation: decades before such ideas were widely discussed, Dorothy Arzner (Dance, Girl, Dance), the only woman to work as a director in 1930s Hollywood, brought them to the screen with striking frankness, sophistication, and wit—a mature treatment that stands out even in the pre-Code era.
A Star Is Born’s Fredric March (in one of four collaborations with Arzner) and Sylvia Sidney (Sabotage) turn in extraordinary performances as the urbane couple whose relationship is pushed to the breaking point by his alcoholism and wandering eye—leading them into an emotionally explosive experiment with an open marriage.
Exposing the hypocrisies and petty cruelties simmering beneath the surface of high-society elegance, Merrily We Go to Hell is a scathing early feminist commentary on modern marriage.
New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Dorothy Arzner: Longing for Women, a 1983 documentary by Katja Raganelli and Konrad Wickler
New video essay by film historian Cari Beauchamp
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by film scholar Judith Mayne