A Woman Rebels

A Woman Rebels is a 1936 American historical drama film adapted from the 1930 novel Portrait of a Rebel by Netta Syrett and starring Katharine Hepburn as Pamela Thistlewaite, who rebels against the social mores of Victorian England. The film was directed by Mark Sandrich; it was the film debut of Van Heflin, and the second last film of David Manners.

A Woman Rebels
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Sandrich
Screenplay byErnest Vajda
Anthony Veiller
Based onPortrait of a Rebel
1930 novel
by Netta Syrett
Produced byPandro S. Berman
StarringKatharine Hepburn
Herbert Marshall
Elizabeth Allan
CinematographyRobert De Grasse
Edited byJane Loring
Music byRoy Webb
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release date
  • November 6, 1936 (1936-11-06)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$583,000[1]

Hepburn's performance as the defiant young woman is considered by many critics[by whom?] the epitome of her feminist characterizations of the 1930s.


In Victorian London, Pamela defies her autocratic father (Donald Crisp), and has a baby out of wedlock with her lover, Gerald Waring Gaythorne (Van Heflin, in his screen debut). Pamela's pregnant sister Flora (Elizabeth Allan) hears of the death of her young husband, faints, hurting herself, and dies. Pamela raises her illegitimate daughter as her niece and becomes a crusading journalist for women's rights. Eventually she agrees to marry diplomat Thomas Lane (Herbert Marshall) after being unfairly named as co-respondent in Gaythorne's divorce.



With a box office loss estimated at a hefty $222,000 for RKO, this was Hepburn's third flop in a row which contributed to Hepburn being one of the actors labeled "box office poison" in the infamous 1938 advertisement created by Harry Brandt, president of the Independent Theatre Owners of America.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57

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