This lavish but overlong film remains true to the 1200-page best-seller on which it is based, though judging by the result one wonders to what extent this is admirable. Popular and acclaimed in its day, and technically highly skilled, ANTHONY ADVERSE subtitutes historical pageantry for
drama and melodramatic flourish for characterization whenever it gets the chance.
March plays the title role, an illegitimate child whose father (Hayward) is killed in a duel and who is raised in a convent by a gentle priest (O'Neill). Adopted by a kindly Scottish trader (Gwenn), the growing boy soon finds romance with a girl (de Havilland) who aspires to sing grand opera.