Margaret Sullavan Movies

Want to know the best Margaret Sullavan movies?  How about the worst Margaret Sullavan movies?  Curious about Margaret Sullavan box office grosses or which Margaret Sullavan movie picked up the most Oscar® nominations? Need to know which Margaret Sullavan movie got the best reviews from critics and audiences? Well you have come to the right place….because we have all of that information.

Margaret Sullavan (1909-1960) was an Oscar®-nominated American actress.  Sullavan’s movie career was fairly brief…but she was considered one of the best actresses of her era.  Margaret Sullavan’s IMDb page shows 21 acting credits from 1933-1954.  This page will rank 16 Sullavan movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Her television appearances and her unfinished movie, I Loved A Soldier, were not included in the rankings.  This page comes from a request by Lupino…who just discovered this website a couple of weeks ago.

James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in 1940’s Shop Around The Corner….which was remade as a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedy

Margaret Sullavan Movies Can Be Ranked 6 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort Margaret Sullavan movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Margaret Sullavan movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Margaret Sullavan movies by yearly domestic box office rank
  • Sort Margaret Sullavan movies by how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations and how many Oscar® wins each Margaret Sullavan movie received.
  • Sort Margaret Sullavan movies by Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR)Score.  UMR Score puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.
  • Blue link in Co-star column takes you to that star’s UMR movie page
RankMovie (Year)UMR Co-Star LinksAdj. B.O. Domestic (mil)Box Office Rank by YearCritic Audience RatingOscar Nom / WinUMR Score
Three Comrades (1938)Robert Taylor$149.0031st of 193877.00%00 / 0065.29
Mortal Storm, The (1940)James Stewart$99.7042nd of 194087.33%00 / 0056.50
Shop Around the Corner, The (1940)James Stewart$72.3072nd of 194090.00%00 / 0053.51
Shopworn Angel (1938)Robert Taylor$90.2061st of 193873.00%00 / 0048.29
Little Man, What Now? (1934)Douglass Montgomery$77.7044th of 193477.00%00 / 0048.23
So Ends Our Night (1941)Fredric March & Glenn Ford$71.4090th of 194177.50%01 / 0047.89
Good Fairy , The (1935)Directed by William Wyler$72.6055th of 193576.50%00 / 0047.21
Shining Hour, The (1938)Joan Crawford$117.6044th of 193857.00%00 / 0045.02
Back Street (1941)Charles Boyer$88.6076th of 194166.00%00 / 0044.75
Only Yesterday (1933)John Boles$61.5041st of 193374.50%00 / 0044.55
Appointment For Love (1941)Charles Boyer$60.60103rd of 194159.50%01 / 0037.75
So Red The Rose (1935)Randolph Scott$41.6077th of 193564.50%00 / 0036.77
Next Time We Love (1936)James Stewart$53.5092nd of 193660.00%00 / 0036.49
Moon's Our Home, The (1936)Henry Fonda$46.9084th of 193662.00%00 / 0036.41
Cry Havoc (1943)Robert Mitchum$49.30101st of 194360.50%00 / 0036.08
No Sad Songs For Me (1950)Natalie Wood$41.40116th of 195054.00%01 / 0032.20

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Margaret Sullavan Table

  1. Two Margaret Sullavan movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 12.50% of her movies listed. Three Comrades (1938) was her biggest box office hit.
  2. An average Margaret Sullavan movie grossed $74.60 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  13 Margaret Sullavan movies are rated as good movies…or 81.25% of her movies.  The Shop Around The Corner (1940) is her highest rated movie while No Sad Songs For Me (1950) is her lowest rated movie.
  4. Three Margaret Sullavan movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 18.75% of her movies.
  5. Zero Margaret Sullavan movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 0.00% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) Score is 40.00.  10 Margaret Sullavan movies scored higher that average….or 62.50% of her movies. Three Comrades (1938) got the the highest UMR Score while No Sad Songs For Me (1950) got the lowest UMR Score.

Margaret Sullavan in 1938’s Three Comrades

Possibly Interesting Facts About Margaret Sullavan

1. Margaret Brooke Sullavan was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1909.  Norfolk is only about 15 minutes from my house…so she is a hometown girl in my area.

2. One of Margaret Sullavan’s first acting experiences was in a summer stock group called the University Players.  Others in that group?  James Stewart and Henry Fonda.

3.  Margaret Sullavan was starring in Broadway plays in the early 1930s.  In 1932 she starred in four straight flops….one co-starred Humphrey Bogart.

4.  Despite being in numerous flops on Broadway….Sullavan’s personal stellar reviews in those plays earned her a movie contract with Universal Pictures.

5.  Margaret Sullavan turned down Claudette Colbert’s role in 1934’s It Happened One Night.  Colbert would win an Oscar® for her performance.

6. Margaret Sullavan was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar® for 1938’s Three Comrades.

7. Margaret Sullavan was married four times and had three children.  Her first marriage was to Henry Fonda…while her second marriage was to William Wyler.

8.  Sadly Margaret Sullavan took her own life in 1960.  Equally tragic is that two of children did the same thing.  Her third child, Brook Hayward, is happily alive and well.  Hayward is an actress and author.  She wrote the best selling book Haywire which told of her childhood with Sullavan.

9.  We have worldwide adjusted grosses on three of her movies:  1938’s Three Comrades $255 million, 1938’s The Shining Hour $170.60 million and 1938’s Shopworn Angel $130.20 million.

10. Maureen Sullavan and her Easy Rider (1969) connections. Sullavan’s daughter Brook Hayward was married to Dennis Hopper who starred and directed that massive hit.  Meanwhile, Peter Fonda who starred and produced that massive hit, was in love with Sullavan’s youngest daughter….Bridget.  Fonda would later name his daughter after Sullavan’s daughter.  Bridget Fonda was an actress that made movies for almost 20 years before retiring in 2002.

10. Check out Margaret Sullavan‘s career compared to current and classic actors.  Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time.

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25 thoughts on “Margaret Sullavan Movies

  1. After the strain of watching 3 hours of Eugene O’Neil last weekend I “rewarded” myself by checking out Cry ‘Havoc’! again last night. Strangely, along with So red the Rose, I hardly had any recollection about that movie apart from the fact that my brain had stored it under “good movies” watched. And it is a good one in my opinion. Though it can’t betray its stage origins, it has a lot to offer. The three leading ladies are very good, with Sullavan’s character seemingly cool and detached, but inwardly very feminine and vulnerable, while Sothern and Blondell are portraying more “sassy(?)” ladies. It is a grim movie to be sure, but it also has some “comic relief” to offer- imagine 9 women of different background arriving in Bataan to help nursing wounded soldiers in a hospital there. Each of the Ladies is asked what their former working experiences were like, and the Blondell character has the following answer to offer: “You know what you do to a banana before you eat it? Well, I did the same set to music!”
    The movie has dated badly (like many films made to boost the morale of wartime audiences) in its anti-japanese propaganda and the heroic or pathetic delivery of some “educational” statements by its protagonists, but seen as a document of its time, I am sure people didn’t mind that. And its open ending must have left audiences shocked and bewildered. So, if you don’t mind watching a movie that is more than escapist war fare, I recommend this one to anyone interested in classic american films.

    1. Hey John….thanks for that….I wonder if Ted Turner ever colorized any of her pictures. I guess she just did not make enough movies to get one in color….interesting.

  2. Cogerson

    Thanks for the Margaret Sullavan page.

    A truncated career, but a very striking actress. The Shop Around the Corner is one of my favorite heart-warmers.
    I have to comment though on The Shining Hour, set on a farm in Wisconsin. I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. I must admit that our farm and farmhouse weren’t quite like the MGM version of a Wisconsin farm. I don’t remember my dad lounging around his “library” in a smoking jacket, nor Mom decked out in Adrian gowns. Nor did we have a maid. Well, that was MGM. In fairness, Universal’s version of farm life–Ma and Pa Kettle–wasn’t exactly what I recall either, but perhaps closer to the truth.

    1. Hey John…thanks for checking out my Sullavan page. I have not seen The Shining Hour….but I am shocked….I tell ya….shocked…..that the movie was not how it really was. Maybe your dad had a secret library that he visited when you went to sleep….lol. Seriously…thanks for sharing how life on a farm is closer to the world of Ma and Pa versus the world of Joan and Adrian gowns.

      I really want to see The Shining Hour….but as of yet I have not been able to track it down. Thanks for the comment and the visit.

  3. Seen only one of her movies. But I really enjoyed Shop Around The Corner. Sad about her personal life. Good Easy Rider trivia never knew that.

    1. Hey SteinHOF…well you top me in the tally contest…as I have a big goose egg when it comes to Margaret Sullavan movies. Glad you liked the Easy Rider trivia. Off on a side note….when Peter Fonda’s SuperBowl commercial came on tonight….nobody of the 20 people in the room had any idea what his commercial meant…plus it was directed by the Coen brothers. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Dear Bruce,

    thank you so much for this page on Margaret Sullavan! You made my day 🙂

    I’d like to offer a few more pieces of trivia on her for those who are interested- although you seemed to have done quite a bit of research yourself as I can see!

    – Sullavan suffered from a hearing defect that, as she approached middle age, made it hard for her to act on stage since she couldn’t hear her cues anymore. This, more than anything else that went wrong in her life before the suicide, was likely the main reason for her deep depression that finally led to her death.

    -Margaret Sullavan had one of the most distinctive speaking voices ever. While it often was refered to as LIQUID DIAMONDS or LIQUID GRAVEL, silent screen star Louise Brooks had the following to say: “That wonderful voice of hers, strange, fey, mysterious – like a voice singing in the snow.”

    -Katharine Hepburn detested her. She hated the fact that Sullavan was often refered to as THE SOUTHERN HEPBURN, cause, like the great Kate, Sullavan was a highly unconventional, independent woman, wearing slacks instead of skirts and doing things her way. Reportedly, Katharine Hepburn even admitted that she went to RKO executives and demanded the role of Lady Babbie in The Little Minister only because she didn’t want Sullavan (the studio’s first choice) to get it. Even years after Sullavan’s death Hepburn didn’t find it in her to say something nice about her.

    – Sullavan was quite influential in the early career of James Stewart. In 1936, when he was little more than a bit- or supporting player, she requested him as her costar in Next Time We Love. They would appear in 3 more movies together. Stewart was known to have been in love with Sullavan, and friends of the actor claim that this infatuation was mostly responsible for him marrying relativly late in life.

    I’ve seen all but 3 of Miss Sullavan’s movies.The first, decades ago, was The Shopworn Angel, which was shown quite frequently in a hidden weekend afternoon slot- and I tried to catch it year after year. So this, among with her other James Stewart co-starrers, Three Comrades, Little Man what Now,The Shinig Hour and Back Street are among my favorites.

    About the stats: while I knew So Red the Rose failed at the boxoffice, I really thought MGM’s Cry Havoc would have fared a lot better, if for the popularity of it’s cast alone. But then, the stats are the stats!

    Thanks again for doing this page so quickly, highly appreciated. And I hope you were not disappointed in the career of your “Local Girl done Good” 🙂

    1. Hey Lupino
      1. You are very welcome…I figured it was the least that I could do…as you have been exploring this website and making astute comments on many of the pages.
      2. Great further information on Sullavan….I did not read about her hearing issues or that the Great Kate did not like her.
      3. Seems there was a serious love triangle between Stewart, Fonda and Sullavan…..I am picturing the relationship in Love Actually between Keira Knightley, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Andrew Lincoln….with Stewart being the guy at the door with cue cards….I know that if you have not seen Love Actually you have no idea what I am talking about.
      4. I feel pretty good about the box office number for Cry “Havoc”….and logically if it would have been a big hit….no way would have Hollywood let her disappear for 7 years….until she made her swan song in 1950.
      5. I had fun researching my Local Gird done Good….shame nobody in my area even remembers her.
      Tally Contest…and you are the winner….as they Das Deutschlandlied plays as they put the gold medal around your neck.
      Lupini from Germany 13 Margaret Sullavan movies watched
      Chris from Ireland 4 Margaret Sullavan movies watched
      Flora from Canada 3 Margaret Sullavan movies watched
      SteinHOF from ???? 1 Margaret Sullavan movie watched
      BERN1960 fom Canada 1 Margaret Sullavan movie watched
      Steve from England 0 Margaret Sullavan movies watched
      Cogerson from USA 0 Margaret Sullavan movies watched

      1. Hey Bruce,

        1: Thank you for your kind words!
        2:I think that the fear of loosing her ability to hear for years, maybe decades, was quite substantial for the way Sullavan developed as a human being- which, if you can believe her daughter Brooke, was not always a compliment to her…to put it mildly.
        3. I know what you are talking about 🙂 Love the idea of Jimmy with cue cards!
        4: Never doubted your stats on Cry ‘Havoc’ but thought due to its cast and the topic it had to look like a sure winner to MGM’s execs at the time…but then maybe it was just the little stepsister of So Proudly We Hail.
        I doubt Hollywood let her disappear- I am pretty sure it was her very own decision. She scored another big hit on B’way in 1943 in The voice of the Turtle, then took some time off to be with her family, then took Turtle to the London stage.
        To quote the Lady herself: “But as long as the flesh-and-blood theatre will have me, it is to the flesh-and-blood theatre I’ll belong. I really am stage-struck. And if that be treason, Hollywood will have to make the most of it” (Lawrence J. Quirk: Child of Fate).
        5: On winning the Gold Medal, Lupino in his highly emotional acceptance speech said: Thank You! Thank You! Now I know that you REALLY love me!!! (…and if you don’t know your Sally Field, now it’s your turn to not having a clue what the heck this german idiot is talking about 🙂

        1. Hey Lupino….(1) you are very welcome. (2) Interesting stuff about her hearing loss. (3) Glad you know the Love Actually scene…that I speak of (4) I would say Cry “Havoc” was a moderate success….but that was when war movies were being made left and right….and some really good ones….slipped by. (5) Thanks for the info on her big Broadway hit in 1943….that is good information to know. (6) I think the Sally Field speech is one of the most famous Oscar speeches ever….so I know what you mean. Congrats on the gold medal. 🙂

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