Oscar Movies: Guardsman, The (1931)

Basically a photographed play, Sidney Franklin's "The Guardman" is an early talkie that served as a star vehcile for the first couple of the Broadway theater, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Both thespians reprised their stage roles for the big screen in a rather primitive version that didn't display the source material to an advantage.
Ferenc Molnar's popular play, adapted to the screen by Ernset Vajda and Claudine West, is a light sex farce about a married couples who play games with each other. Watching his wife playing Chopin on the piano, the husband suspects that she might be in love or have an affair with another man. To resolve his doubts, he decides to test his wife by imperonating a rival, a Russian guardsman with dark mustache and broad shoulders. He succeeds in seducing his wife, only to be told the next morning, "I knew it was you all along."
The marital comedy was too verbose and too sophisticated for the movie-going public in the early years of the Depression. Though critically acclaimed, "The Guardsman" failed commercially. MGM tried to adverise the work as the first film of the Royal Couple of Broadway. In fact, it was not easy for Thalberg to talk the proud thespians to go Hollywood as they, like other theater people, looked down at the movies as a medium of mass entertainment.
The Oscar nominations didn't convince the couple that they should embark on a movie career, and both actors realized that they are not particularly young or photogenic for the new medium. 
Oscar Nominations: 2
Actor: Alfred Lunt
Actress: Lynn Fontanne
Oscar Awards: None
Oscar Context:
The winners of the Best Actor Oscar were Wallace Berry for "The Champ" and Fredric March for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (it was a tie). Helen Hayes won the Best Actress Oscar for the melodrama "The Sin of Madelon Claudet."
The Actor (Alfred Lunt)
The Actress (Lynn Fontanne)
The Critic (Roland Young)
Liesl (ZaSu Pitts)
Mama (Maude Eburne)
The Creditor (Herman Bing)
The Fan (Ann Dvorak)
Produced by Irving Thalberg and Albert Lewin
Directed by Sidney Franklin
Screenplay: Ernest Vajda and Claudine West, based on the play by Ferenc Molnar
Camera: Norbert Brodine
Editor: Conrad A. Nervig
Running time: 89 Minutes