Escape Me Never (1935): Starring Elisabeth Bergner in Oscar Nominated Performance

The great stage actress Elisabeth Bergner received an Oscar nomination for the medlodrama “Escape Me Never,” based on the novel by Margaret Kennedy.

In this schmaltzy tale (known as “a woman’s picture”) directed by Bergner’s husband Paul Czinner, Bergner plays an unwed mother who meets an impoverished composer (Hugh Sinclair).  The musician marries her out of pity, though he’s in love with anoither femm (Penelope Dudley Ward), who happens to be his brother’s wife.

Well-executed, the film boasts a great musical score by the talented Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

Margaret Kennedy also penned the novel “The Constant Nymph,” which earned Joan Fontaine her third and last Best Actress nomination, in which she plays a gamin.

This was the sole nomination of Bergner, who was better known as stage and screen actress in Austria and Germany, prior to fleeing Hitler in 1933 and moving to the U.K.

In 1936, Bergner starrted opposite Laurence Oliver in a famous production of “As You Like It,” in the role of Rosalind.

The British “Escape Me Never” was remade by Warner in 1946 with Ida Lupino in the lead, but the Bergner’s version is better .

Oscar Nominations: 1

Best Actress

Oscar awards: None

Oscar Context

In 1935, the Academy revealed the rank-order of the nominees, and Bergner came in third after Katharine Hepburn, nominated for “Alice Adams,” and Bette Davis, who won the first of her two Oscars for “Dangerous.” The outspoken Davis went on record saying that the best female performance of the year was Hepburn’s.