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The Foxes of Harrow (1947)

In the pre-Civil War New Orleans, roguish Irish gambler Stephen Fox (Rex Harrison) buys his way into society, something he couldn't do in his homeland because he is illegitimate.


John M. Stahl


Frank Yerby (novel), Wanda Tuchock (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Rex Harrison ... Stephen Fox
Maureen O'Hara ... Odalie 'Lilli' D'Arceneaux
Richard Haydn ... Andre LeBlanc
Victor McLaglen ... Captain Mike Farrell
Vanessa Brown ... Aurore D'Arceneaux
Patricia Medina ... Desiree
Gene Lockhart ... Viscount Henri D'Arceneaux
Charles Irwin Charles Irwin ... Sean Fox
Hugo Haas ... Otto Ludenbach
Dennis Hoey ... Master of Harrow
Roy Roberts ... Tom Warren


In the pre-Civil War New Orleans, roguish Irish gambler Stephen Fox (Rex Harrison) buys his way into society, something he couldn't do in his homeland because he is illegitimate.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The fire that was in him -- would always kindle the flame in her heart! See more »


Action | Drama | Romance


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English | French

Release Date:

24 September 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Débil es la carne See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The movie was based on Frank Yerby's best seller, his first book. It was not widely known at the time that Yerby was African American. His many books about "the old South" painted a more accurate picture than that of "Gone With the Wind". Nevertheless, Fox was hoping for its own GWTW success and paid Yerby $150,000 for the rights, an astronomical figure. Yerby went on to write 33 books of historical fiction. See more »


Stephen Fox: [after nodding to a passing coach] That's the second time I've comprised you. Once more and your father would probably force me to marry you.
Odalie 'Lilli' D'Arceneaux: Me to Marry you? Why you're the most insufferable, insulting - !
Stephen Fox: Stop being so angry with yourself. Face up to it. All your pretty notions are going astray and you have little left to use against me except I'm no gentleman and you're wrong there too. Because I'm from as fine a flock of sheep that's ever grazed in Ireland. But I had the luck to be the odd ...
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User Reviews

Disappointments abound
4 May 2008 | by tentenderSee all my reviews

I have been reviewing the films of John M. Stahl recently -- not an easy task as their availability is quite limited -- and they are a very mixed bag. From the gripping melodrama of "Back Street" (probably his best film), to the original versions of "Magnificent Obsession" and "Imitation of Life," both very different from and as interesting in their own ways as Sirk's remakes, and "Only Yesterday," to the excellent period comedy "Holy Matrimony" and the comedy/drama "Letter of Introduction," when Stahl is engaged with his material he is unique and interesting. All these films have a tone of serenity and patience which is not in the least boring. (It's there, too, in the unique noir/Technicolor melodrama, "Leave Her to Heaven," Stahl's uncannily brilliant success -- a great picture that uses color in a highly controlled and most original way). When he is less involved-- both here and in "Parnell," for two examples, the serenity disappears, yet without a compensatory excitement. Both of these films have a strange, disengaged quality. Stahl seems less than comfortable with the grand gesture -- certainly the political scenes of "Parnell" are remarkably lifeless, and the sweeping quality of a "Gone with the Wind" -- to which it bears some narrative resemblance -- is largely missing from "The Foxes of Harrow." It starts off well, and Rex Harrison is dynamic and exciting in the first hour, as he courts the ever-reluctant Maureen O'Hara. This courtship goes through very rough waters (her resistance is iron), but ultimately -- and in a beautifully played scene --Rex clearly has genuine tears in his eyes -- he does win her over. Then the trouble starts all over again, for, no sooner has she overcome her scruples than she gets them back again -- understandably as Fox (Harrison) drunkenly rapes her on their wedding night! The relationship is not unlike that between Robert Mitchum and Eleanor Parker in "Home from the Hill," but nowhere near as interesting. Rex's panache, unfortunately, disappears with the leaden problem-filled second half, and there is little that is really engaging after that. (We can be grateful, I think, that Stahl was removed -- after several weeks of shooting, apparently -- from "Forever Amber," which no doubt would have arrived equally stillborn had not the great Otto taken over and made it into a really exciting picture.) O'Hara, fine actress though she is, often got stuck in these reluctant maiden parts -- she fares only a little better in Borzage's "The Spanish Main" or Nick Ray's "A Woman's Secret." Thank God she got to work for John Ford, for whom she is always delightful, nowhere more so than in "Rio Grande," where -- again! -- she is playing an estranged wife with scruples. I guess scruples were Maureen's main hindrance! To sum up: there's not much magic in this one, despite a promising start.

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