“When poets love heaven and earth, fall back to watch!” exclaimed ads for this prestigious film. The hyperbole was prophetic. So many moviegoers watched The Barretts of Wimpole Street that is became one of 1934’s top box-office hits.Based on Rudolf Besier’s play, the film features three stars who has already won Academy Awards®: Norma Shearer (1929-1930 Best Actress, The Divorcee), Fredric March (1931-1932 Best Actor, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and Charles Laughton (1932-1933 best Actor, The Private Life of Henry VIII). Shearer – “The First Lady of the Screen” – portrays semi-invalid poet Elizabeth Barrett, March is Robert Browning, whose ardent courtship of Elizabeth transforms her life. And Laughton (who shed fifty pounds for the role) plays Edward Moulton-Barrett, the tyrant bent on denying happiness to his nine children. To escape the censor’s scissors, the story element involving père Barrett’s unhealthy attraction for Elizabeth was softened but not removed. “They can’t censor the glint on the eye,” Laughton noted.