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The Private Life of Don Juan


In his last film role, Douglas Fairbanks as an ageing legendary lady-killer Don Juan. It is set in Seville, Spain in centuries past, where once a young Don Juan caused ladies to swoon and jealous husbands to challenge him to a duel. After 20 years absence, he returns as a middle-aged married man feeling trapped by marriage and tempted to re-visit his old haunts. As it often happens with legends, however, the Don Juan of the past has become far greater and more wonderful in women's minds than he ever was, especially when a young imitator is killed (by a jealous husband) and mistaken for Don Juan. Then a book entitled 'the Private Life of Don Juan' is published and read by swooning women, and the whole thing is reminiscent of our real larger-than-life legends such as Elvis. And as with Elvis, whom we prefer to remember as young, slim and handsome, so Don Juan lives in women's minds so that the real middle-aged Don Juan is treated like a kindly father-figure by young women - much to his dismay!

The Private Life of Don Juan is a 1934 British comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Korda and starring Douglas Fairbanks, Merle Oberon and Benita Hume. It was Fairbanks' final film role. The film is about the life of the aging Don Juan, based on the 1920 play L'homme à la Rose by Henry Bataille. It was made by Korda's London Film Productions at Elstree Studios and distributed by United Artists under an agreement Korda had recently signed with them.


After many years in exile, Don Juan returns to Seville in secret. His wife has threatened to have him thrown in prison. Next morning he is surprised to find that all the town knows he is back (not surprising really as he had a big sword fight on arrival). Rodrigo, an admirer of his, follows Don Juan everywhere, wanting to be just like him, and able to give a good impression of him. Don Juan prepares to flee to France but Rodrigo is killed by a jealous husband who believes he is Don Juan and all Seville now believes him dead. He attends his own magnificent funeral, but finds many discomforts now while pretending that Don Juan is dead, before finally sorting things out.


  • Douglas Fairbanks as Don Juan
  • Merle Oberon as Antonita, a dancer of passionate temperament
  • Bruce Winston as the cafe manager
  • Gina Malo as Pepita, another dancer of equal temperament
  • Benita Hume as Dona Dolores, a lady of mystery
  • Binnie Barnes as Rosita, a maid pure and simple
  • Melville Cooper as Leporello
  • Owen Nares as Antonio Martinez, an actor, as actors go
  • Heather Thatcher as Anna Dora, an actress, as actresses go
  • Diana Napier as a lady of sentiment
  • Joan Gardner as Carmen, a young lady of romance
  • Gibson Gowland as Don Alfredo, Carmen's Poor Husband
  • Barry MacKay (actor) as Rodrigo, the Impostor, a Man of Romance
  • Claud Allister as The Duke, as Dukes Go
  • Athene Seyler as Theresa, the Innkeeper, a Middle Aged Lady of Young Sentiment
  • Hindle Edgar as A Jealous Husband
  • Natalie Paley as Jealous Husband's Poor Wife
  • Patricia Hilliard (actor) as The Girl at the Castle, a Young Girl in Love
  • Lawrence Grossmith as Pedo, Uncle of the Castle Girl, Who Knows Better
  • Clifford Heatherley as Pedro, Don Juan's Young Masseur
  • Morland Graham as Hector, Don Juan's Cook
  • Edmund Breon as Cardona, the Playwright, as Playwrights Go
  • Betty Hamilton as First Tired Businessman's Wife
  • Rosita Garcia as Second Tired Businessman's Wife
  • John Brownlee (baritone) as Singer
  • Annie Esmond as Dolores' Duenna
  • Hay Petrie as Golden Pheasant Manager
  • Margaretta Scott as Pepilla
  • Abraham Sofaer as Street Bookseller

Category:1934 films
Category:British films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:1930s comedy-drama films
Category:English-language films
Category:Films based on plays
Category:Films directed by Alexander Korda
Category:London Films films
Category:1930s romantic drama films
Category:United Artists films
Category:Works based on the Don Juan legend
Category:Films set in Spain
Category:Films set in Seville
Category:Films set in the 18th century
Category:Film scores by Ernst Toch
Alexander Korda

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