Friends and Lovers (1931): Schertzinger’s Pre-Code Romantic Drama, Starring Adolphe Menjou and Lili Damita

Victor Schertzinger directed Friends and Lovers, a Pre-Code drama, starring Adolphe Menjou, Lili Damita, Laurence Olivier, Erich von Stroheim, and Hugh Herbert.

British Army captain Geoff Roberts (Adolphe Menjou) is engaged in an affair with Alva (Lili Damita), the wife of the stern Victor Sangrito (Erich Von Stroheim), who’s aware of the affair.

Sangrito uses his beautiful wife to lure men into romance, then blackmailing them to save their careers.

When Roberts falls into Sangrito’s trap, he pays the blackmail and leaves for India, hoping to forget Alva.

After some time in India, he is joined by his young friend Lt. Ned Nichols (Laurence Olivier), who’s in love with the same woman.

In the end, the two friends realize that she has been false to them both and that their friendship far outweighs their feelings for immoral femme.

However, when the two are home and reencounter Alva, they learn that she may not have betrayed them after all.

The film was a box-office failure.

Cast
Adolphe Menjou as Captain Geoffrey Roberts
Lili Damita as Alva Sangrito
Laurence Olivier as Lieutenant Ned Nichols
Erich Von Stroheim as Colonel Victor Sangrito
Hugh Herbert as McNellis
Frederick Kerr as General Thomas Armstrong
Blanche Friderici as Lady Alice
Jean Del Val as Marquis Henri De Pezanne
Vadim Uraneff as Ivanoff