The expressionist drama by Sophie Treadwell, produced and directed by Arthur Hopkins with scene designs by Robert Edmond Jones, opened on 7 September 1928 at the Plymouth Theatre and ran for 93 performances. Having worked as both a "stunt" and "sob sister" journalist, Treadwell had followed with interest the 1927 trial of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray for the murder of Snyder's husband, events which became the basis for her play about a sensitive working woman (played by Zita Johann) who marries her boss to escape her insensitive mother and the dehumanizing effects of urban life. She falls for a younger man (the yet-unknown Clark Gable) and, motivated by the dream of romance, kills her husband. The lover escapes, but she is brought to trial and executed. It was the stylization of settings and lighting with the staccato sounds of modern city life, the mechanized characterizations, and spare, rhythmic dialogue that made the slender plot so compelling. Not only is the play frequently revived, but it has remained in print.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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  • machinal — machinal, ale, aux [ maʃinal, o ] adj. • 1731; « des machines » fin XVIIe; de machine ♦ Qui est fait sans intervention de la volonté, de l intelligence, comme par une machine. ⇒ automatique, inconscient, instinctif, involontaire, irréfléchi,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • machinal — machinal, ale (ma chi nal, na l ) adj. 1°   Qui appartient aux machines.    Matière machinale, nom donné par Fontenelle aux poulies, cordages, ressorts, etc. qui font aller les machines. 2°   Fig. Qui est produit dans le corps vivant, comme par… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Machinal — Ma*chin al, a. [L. machinalis: cf. F. machinal.] Of or pertaining to machines. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Machinal — Dérivé de Machin (voir ce nom) porté notamment dans la Haute Vienne, où l on trouve aussi la forme Machinaud …   Noms de famille

  • Machinal — Infobox Play name = Machinal image size = 180px caption = writer = Sophie Treadwell genre = tragedy setting = An office; a flat; a hotel; a hospital; a speakeasy; a furnished room; a drawing room; a court room; a prison; in the dark subject =… …   Wikipedia

  • MACHINAL — ALE. adj. Qui est semblable au jeu d une machine, qui est produit par le seul jeu des organes, sans intention ni réflexion. Mouvement, effet machinal. Action machinale. Agir d une manière purement machinale . Le pluriel Machinaux est peu usité …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • MACHINAL, ALE — adj. Qui est semblable au jeu d’une machine, qui est produit par le seul jeu des organes, sans intention ni réflexion. Mouvement, effet machinal. Action machinale. Geste machinal. Agir d’une manière purement machinale …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • machinal — adjective a) Of, or pertaining to machines. b) In the manner or style of a machine …   Wiktionary

  • machinal — adj. of or pertaining to machines …   English contemporary dictionary

  • machinal — machi·nal …   English syllables

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