Tag Archives: drama

I Cover the Waterfront (1933)

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I Cover the Waterfront (1933)

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Director: James Cruze

Cast: Ben Lyon, Claudette Colbert, Ernest Torrence, Hobart Cavanaugh, Maurice Black, Purnell Platt, Harry Beresford, Wilfred Lucas,  Rosita Marstini

75 min

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I Cover the Waterfront is a 1933 American Pre-Code romantic drama film directed by James Cruze and starring Ben LyonClaudette ColbertErnest Torrence, and Hobart Cavanaugh.

Based on the book of the same name by Max Miller, the film is about a reporter who investigates a waterfront smuggling operation, and becomes romantically involved with the daughter of the man he is investigating.

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San Diego Standard reporter H. Joseph Miller (Ben Lyon) has been covering the city’s waterfront for the past five years and is fed up with the work. He longs to escape the waterfront life and land a newspaper job back East so he can marry his Vermont sweetheart. Miller is frustrated by the lack of progress of his current assignment investigating the smuggling of Chinese people into the country by a fisherman named Eli Kirk (Ernest Torrence). One morning after wasting a night tracking down bad leads, his editor at the Standard orders him to investigate a report of a girl swimming naked at the beach. There he meets Julie Kirk (Claudette Colbert), the daughter of the man he’s been investigating.

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Meanwhile, Eli Kirk and his crew are returning to San Diego with a Chinese passenger when the Coast Guard approaches. Not wanting to be caught with evidence of his smuggling operation, Kirk orders his men to weigh down the Chinaman and lower him overboard to his death. The Coast Guard, accompanied by Miller, board the boat but find nothing. The next day, Miller discovers the Chinaman’s body which was carried in with the tide, and takes it as evidence to his editor, who still remains skeptical of Kirk’s guilt. To get conclusive evidence, Miller tells him he plans to romance Kirk’s daughter Julie in order to break the smuggling operation.

When Kirk returns, he informs Julie that they will need to move on soon—maybe to Singapore—as soon as he can put together enough money for the voyage. One night, Julie discovers her father drunk at a boarding house. Miller, who was there investigating Kirk, helps Julie take her father home. Julie does not discourage Miller’s flirtations, and during the next few weeks they fall in love. She is able to help Miller see the beauty of the waterfront, and inspires him to improve the novel he’s been working for the past five years. While visiting an old Spanish galleon on a date, he playfully restrains her in a torture rack and kisses her passionately—and she returns his passion.

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Julie and Miller spend a romantic evening together on the beach, where she reveals that she and her father will be sailing away in the next few days. After spending the night in Miller’s apartment, Julie announces the next morning that she’s decided to stay, hoping that he will stay with her. When Miller learns from her that her father is due to dock at the Chinese settlement that night, he notifies the Coast Guard. At the dock, while the Coast Guard searches the vessel, Miller discovers a Chinaman hidden inside a large shark. When the Coast Guard attempt to arrest Kirk, he flees the scene but is wounded during his escape.

The next morning, Miller’s breaking story is published on the Standard’s front page. When a wounded Kirk makes his way back home, Julie learns that it was Miller who helped the Coast Guard uncover her father’s smuggling operation (of which she was unaware), and that she unknowingly revealed to him his landing location. Soon after, Miller, feeling guilty over the story’s impact to Julie’s life, arrives at her home and apologizes for the hurt he’s caused her, and announces that he loves her. Feeling used by his actions, an angry Julie sends him away.

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Later that night, Miller locates Kirk, who shoots him in the arm. Julie arrives to help her father escape, and seeing Miller wounded, she tells her father she cannot leave Miller to die. Seeing that she loves him, Kirk helps her take Miller to safety, after which Kirk dies. Later from his hospital bed, Miller acknowledges in his newspaper column that Kirk saved his life before he died. Sometime later, Miller returns to his apartment, where Julie is waiting to greet him. Noticing that she cleaned and transformed his place into a cozy home, he tells her he finally wrote the ending to his novel, “He marries the girl”. Julie acknowledges, “That’s a swell finish”, and the two embrace.

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Rights to the novel were bought by Edward Small and his partner Harry Goets in 1932. They made it through the Reliance Picture Corporation as the first of a six-film deal with United Artists.[2] Reliance co-produced the film with Joseph Schenck’s Art Cinema Corporation.[1]


I Cover the Waterfront was filmed from mid-February to early March 1933.[1]


The film’s title song, “I Cover the Waterfront“, appears in the film only as an instrumental.[3] Written by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman, the song went on to become a jazz standard recorded by many artists, including Billie HolidayLouis ArmstrongFrank SinatraThe Ink Spots, and Ella Fitzgerald, among others.[4]

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Critical response

In his review for The New York Times, film critic Mordaunt Hall called the film “a stolid and often grim picture”.[5] While Hall felt the drama was not as good as some of director James Cruze’s previous work, the “clever acting of the principals”—especially that of Ernest Torrence—offset some of the film’s shortcomings.[5]

Hall found some of the scenes “more shocking than suspenseful” and felt a broader adaptation of Max Miller’s book may have been more interesting than the focus on the melodramatic series of incidents related to a sinister fisherman.[5]

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While acknowledging that “Colbert does well as Julie”, Hall did not find her convincing as a fisherman’s daughter because she does not look the type.[5] Hall reserved his highest praise for Ernest Torrence in his final screen performance.[5] Torrence died on May 15, 1933, shortly after the film was completed.

John Mosher of The New Yorker described the adaptation as a “commonplace screen romance,” but also praised the performance of the late Torrence, writing that he “was at the height of his power … One can foresee that many pictures will be empty things for lack of him.”[6] Variety called it “a moderately entertaining picture … The late Ernest Torrence has the meat part and his performance is in keeping with the standard he had set for himself. A pretty tough assignment they gave him, one in which it was necessary to capture sympathy in face of the worst sort of opposition from the script. He’ll be sorely missed on the screen.”[7]

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I Cover the Waterfront was remade in 1961 by Edward Small as Secret of Deep Harbor.[3]

See also


  1. Jump up to:a b c “I Cover the Waterfront”American Film Institute. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  2. Jump up^ Babcock, Muriel (September 24, 1932). “Notable Novel to be Filmed”. The New York Times. p. A7.
  3. Jump up to:a b “I Cover the Waterfront: Notes”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ “I Cover the Waterfront”. Discogs. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e Hall, Mordaunt (May 18, 1933). “The Late Ernest Torrence in His Last Picture…”The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  6. Jump up^ Mosher, John (May 27, 1933). “The Current Cinema”. The New Yorker. New York: F-R Publishing Corp. p. 49.
  7. Jump up^ “I Cover the Waterfront”. Variety. New York: Variety, Inc. May 23, 1933. p. 15.

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White Woman (1933)

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White Woman (1933)

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Director: Stuart Walker

Cast: Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton, Charles Bickford, Kent Taylor,  Percy Kilbride, James Bell, Charles Middleton, Claude King, Ethel Griffies

68 min

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White Woman is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film directed by Stuart Walker and starring Carole LombardCharles Laughton, and Charles Bickford.[1] A young widow remarries and accompanies her husband to his remote jungle rubber plantation. The film was based on the Broadway play Hangman’s Whip by Norman Reilly Raine and Frank Butler.[2]

One of hundreds of Paramount films held in limbo by Universal Studios. Universal gained ownership of Paramount features produced between 1929 and 1949. Paramount remade the film in 1939 as Island of Lost Men, with Anna May WongJ. Carrol Naish and Broderick Crawford in the roles originated by Lombard, Laughton and Bickford. It was directed by Kurt Neumann.[3]

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Judith Denning, a beautiful cafe singer in Malay, has been forced to leave town after town because of gossip that says her husband’s suicide was on account of her infidelity. Upright British lawyer C. M. Chisholm accuses Judith of being a “loose white woman” who is tempting the natives and forces her to leave town by getting her fired.

Horace H. Prin, “King of the Jungle,” then offers to marry her. Prin takes Judith to his jungle home on the river, where he has been running a trading outfit for twenty years. Prin’s white management crew consists largely of criminal exiles whose secret pasts he uses as leverage to get them to remain under his ruthless tyranny.

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When Hambly, who runs a station up the river, insists that the poor diet Prin has been feeding the native workers is breeding insurrection among them, Prin has him killed. Overseer David von Elst, who has not seen a white woman in ten years, quickly falls in love with Judith. A month after Judith’s arrival, she and David decide to run away, but when they confront Prin, he refuses to give them a boat and sends David up the river to take Hambly’s place at Gubar.

David, meanwhile, has told Judith he deserted his regiment after natives decapitated his partner and threw his head through David’s window. Since then he has lacked the courage to fight Prin and return to society. Ballister, the new tough overseer, then arrives and immediately asks Judith for a “tumble,” undaunted by Prin’s eccentric tyranny. When two tribal chiefs request the right to deal with other traders, Prin foolishly refuses them, and they prepare for war against him.

The natives kill Connors, one of Prin’s men, and throw his head through David’s window, after which David finally regains his nerve and travels through the dangerous jungle to warn Judith. David and Judith prepare to leave, but Prin drains their boat of gas. Ballister, sympathetic to the lovers, warns them to take another boat. When Prin shoots his pet baby ape, “Duke,” Jakey, Prin’s most faithful white servant, throws his machine guns in the river and leaves with David and Judith. Ballister and Prin play poker and drink as the natives approach, armed with spears. After Ballister is killed, Prin declares he is forever king of the jungle and walks out into the onslaught of spears.

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  1. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 published by The American Film Institute c.1993
  2. Jump up^ Hangman’s Whip, St. James Theatre, February 24, 1933, IBDb.com; accessed August 5, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 published by The American Film Institute, c. 1993

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Lena Rivers (1932)

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Lena Rivers AKA The Sin Of Lena Rivers (1932)

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Director: Phil Rosen

Cast: Charlotte Henry, Morgan Galloway, Beryl Mercer, James Kirkwood, John St Polis, Betty Blythe, Joyce Compton, Russell Simpson, Clarence Muse, The Kentucky Singers

67 min

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Lena Rivers, aka The Sin of Lena Rivers, is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by Phil Rosen based on the 1856 novel by Mary Jane Holmes. Filmed on several occasions throughout the silent era.[1]


Lena Rivers’ mother dies in childbirth, and the child is left to be reared by her grandparents. Years later, her grandfather is reported lost at sea, and Lena and her grandmother go to live in Canterville, Kentucky with John Nichols, Lena’s uncle, despite the objections of John’s wife Mathilda and his daughter Caroline, who think that Lena is illegitimate.

Henry R. Graham, the owner of the plantation next to the Nichols’, seems bothered when he meets Lena. One day, Lena plays with a bunny on the Graham property, and she is horrified when Graham’s ward, Durrie Belmont, shoots it. Although she calls him a murderer, Durrie, who is courting Caroline, becomes attracted to Lena.

Graham takes a personal interest in Lena because she reminds him of a woman with whom he was in love, but who died while he was away, believing he had deserted her. When Lena shows a gift for calming the excitable horse Brimstone, Graham gives her the horse. After Graham introduces her to Durrie, the boy promises never to shoot another bunny and walks her home. Graham throws a party at his manor, but Lena does not come because she does not have a fancy dress, so Durrie goes to her house.

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They take a walk, and he kisses her before she goes in. Caroline sees them together and calls Lena an “ungrateful sneak,” then says she takes after her mother, who never married. Lana slaps her and runs crying to her grandmother, who assures her that her mother was married, but that her father left her to die. Graham enters Brimstone in the races for Lena because she has made astonishing progress with the previously unmanageable horse.

When Lena’s grandmother has an attack, Graham, worried about the effect her possible death might have on Lena, mentions to Durrie that he would like to adopt her. Durrie’s jealousy is aroused, as Caroline had earlier implied that Graham and Lena were having an illicit affair. In reality, Graham is Lena’s father. He had married her mother in secret because of his tyrant father, using his middle name “Rivers” as their surname.

His father “shanghaied” Graham to Europe, and when he returned, he learned that his wife had died. Until Lena recently appeared, he had been unaware that he had a daughter. Brimstone wins the race, and Lena is awarded $5,000, but Durrie discovers that Graham told the jockey of his competing horse to let Brimstone win.

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Still unaware of Graham’s real relationship to Lena, Durrie, jealous, angry and drunk, proposes to Caroline, who agrees to marry him. Lena’s grandmother dies after realizing that Lena now has enough money to support herself. Shaken by the death, Lena learns about Durrie and Caroline’s elopement and leaves town to make a new life for herself elsewhere after forgiving Graham, who has revealed his secret to her.

Meanwhile, Durrie drives recklessly and his car goes over an embankment. When Graham finds out that Durrie and Caroline are in the hospital, he sends for Lena. While Caroline flirts with a doctor, Durrie learns that Graham is Lena’s father and leaves the hospital to find her and marry her. He gets into a car to find Lena inside, and they hug and kiss.

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  1. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:..Lena Rivers

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Millie (1931)

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Millie (1931)

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Director: John Francis Dillon

Cast: Helen Twelvetrees, Lilyan Tashman, Robert Ames, James Hall, John Halliday, Joan Blondell, Anita Louise, Edmund Breese, Frank McHugh, Charlote Walker, Franklin Parker, Marie Astaire, Carmelita Geraghty

85 min

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Millie (1931) is a pre-Code drama film directed by John Francis Dillon from a screenplay by Charles Kenyon and Ralph Morgan, based on a novel of the same name by Donald Henderson Clarke. The film was an independent production by Charles R. Rogers, distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, after their acquisition of Pathé Exchange. It starred Helen Twelvetrees in one of her best roles, with a supporting cast which included Lilyan TashmanJames HallJoan BlondellJohn Halliday and Anita Louise.


Millie (Helen Twelvetrees) is a naive young woman who marries a wealthy man from New York, Jack Maitland (James Hall). Three years later, unhappy in her marriage due to her husband’s continued infidelity, she asks for and receives a divorce. Because of her pride, she does not want his money, but she also does not want to deprive her daughter of a comfortable lifestyle. She allows Jack and his mother (Charlotte Walker) to retain custody of Millie’s daughter Connie (Anita Louise).

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Focusing on her career, she rises through the hierarchy of the hotel where she is employed, shunning the attention of the rich banker Jimmy Damier (John Halliday), preferring the attentions of the reporter Tommy Rock (Robert Ames), although, due to her prior sour relationship, she refuses to marry him. Eventually, Millie is promoted to the head of operations for the hotel.

At the same time, Tommy is offered a lucrative position at the bank by Damier as a favor to Millie. However, at the celebration party, Millie discovers that Tommy, just like Maitland, is cheating on her.

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Betrayed a second time, Millie becomes very bitter. With her female cohorts, Helen and Angie (Lilyan Tashman and Joan Blondell, respectively), she becomes a woman who loves a good time, floating from man to man. This goes on for several years, until she hears that Damier has taken an interest in her teen-age daughter, Connie, who bears a striking resemblance to her.

Millie warns Damier to leave her daughter alone, but, although he promises to stay away from Connie, he ignores Millie’s warning and takes Connie to a remote lodge to seduce her. Millie is tipped off, goes to the lodge with a gun, confronts Jimmy and kills him.

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In the ensuing murder trial, Millie tries to keep her daughter’s name out of the press and claims not to remember why she shot Jimmy. She says that another woman ran out of the lodge after the shot, but claims that she did not see who the woman was and has no idea as to her identity.

The prosecution thus claims that Millie’s motive was jealousy of Jimmy’s romantic relationship with this unknown other woman. Millie’s friends, however, help to bring out the truth, and when the jury finds out that Millie’s true motive was to protect her daughter from Jimmy’s lascivious intentions, they acquit her. In the end, Millie is reunited with her daughter and her estranged husband’s family.

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(Cast as per AFI‘s database)[2]

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Donald Henderson Clarke finished his novel, Millie, during summer 1930.[4] The novel was first offered to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who passed on it due to its racy content.[5] In August of that year, it was reported that Charles R. Rogers had purchased the film rights to the novel, and had signed Charles Kenyon to adapt it into a screenplay, as well as selecting John Francis Dillon to direct.[6]

Although Rogers had signed an agreement to distribute his independent films through RKO, it was reported that he would be overseeing the production on the Universal lot.[7] Even though he was incorrectly identified as “Ralph Murphy”, Ralph Morgan was signed to collaborate with Kenyon on the screenplay adaptation in September.[8]

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Less than a week later, Helen Twelvetrees signed on for the titular role;[9] and it was reported that the screenplay adaptation had been completed.[5] Rogers would choose Ernest Haller to shoot the film and sign him for the project in the beginning of October.[10]

In January RKO announced the film would be released in February,[11] and it was released on February 8, 1931.[2]

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The film was an independent production by Charles Rogers, but became the property of RKO when he agreed to become their production chief.[12]

The theme song, “Millie”, had words and music by Nacio Herb Brown.[2]

In 1959, the film entered the public domain in the USA due to the copyright claimants failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[13]

The film’s tagline was “Torn From Her Arms … Child Of Love A Woman Can Give But Once.”[1]

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  1. Jump up to:a b “Millie: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g “Millie: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  3. Jump up to:a b “Millie, Credits”. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ Daly, Phil M. (April 17, 1930). “Along the Rialto”The Film Daily. p. 5.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Rogers Chances “Millie””Variety. September 24, 1930. p. 5.
  6. Jump up^ “Hollywood Flashes”The Film Daily. August 30, 1930. p. 3.
  7. Jump up^ “Don Clarke’s Story To Be First Rogers Film”Motion Picture News. August 23, 1930. p. 26.
  8. Jump up^ “Hollywood Activities”The Film Daily. September 21, 1930. p. 29.
  9. Jump up^ “Hollywood Happenings”The Film Daily. September 24, 1930. p. 6.
  10. Jump up^ Wilk, Ralph (October 12, 1930). “A Little from “Lots””The Film Daily. p. 4.
  11. Jump up^ “”Cimarron” and “Millie” Releases”The Film Daily. January 22, 1931. p. 3.
  12. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 32. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  13. Jump up^ Pierce, David (June 2007). “Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain”. Film History: An International Journal19 (2): 125–43. ISSN 0892-2160JSTOR 25165419OCLC 15122313doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. See Note #60, pg. 143.

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Applause (1929)

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Applause (1929)

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Director: Rouben Mamoulian

Cast: Helen Morgan, Joan Peers, Fuller Mellish Jr., Jack Cameron, Henry Wadsworth, Billie Bernard, Phyllis Bolce, Lotta Burnell, Alice Clayton, Florence Dickinson

80 min

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Applause is a 1929 black-and-white backstage musical talkie, shot at Paramount’s Astoria Studios in Astoria, New York, during the early years of sound films. The film is notable as one of the few films of its time to break free from the restrictions of bulky sound technology equipment in order to shoot on location around Manhattan.

Production background

Based on a novel by Beth Brown, the film was staged and directed by Rouben Mamoulian,[1] and stars Helen Morgan, Joan Peers, Henry Wadsworth, and Fuller Mellish, Jr. Mae West was originally considered for the part of Kitty Darling, but Paramount decided West’s glamorous stage presence would undercut the tackier aspects of the storyline.

The National Board of Review named Applause one of the 10 best films of 1929.

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This was Morgan’s first all-talking film. She had previously appeared in the sound prologue to the part-talkie version of Show Boat, released by Universal Studios. In the same year, Morgan appeared in Applause, and Glorifying the American Girl.

In 2006, Applause was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.[2]

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The first scene has a marching band playing Theodore Mentz‘s “A Hot Time in the Old Town“.

The film tells of Kitty Darling (Helen Morgan), a burlesque star, who sends her young daughter to a convent to get her away from the sleazy burlesque environment she is involved in.

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Many years later, Kitty is not doing so well and her best days are behind her. She’s now an alcoholic who lives in the past. She lives with a burlesque comic named Hitch (Fuller Mellish Jr.). Hitch cheats on her and only cares about spending what little money she has. When he finds out she has been paying for her daughter’s convent education for over a decade, he pushes her into bringing April back home.

Her grown, but naive daughter April (Joan Peers) returns. Kitty is embarrassed by her condition and marries Hitch so that April will not be ashamed of her.

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When April arrives, she is disgusted with her mother and her sad life. Hitch tries to force her into show business and repeatedly gropes her, at one point forcing a kiss on her.

April roams the city and meets a lonely young sailor named Tony (Henry Wadsworth). They fall in love and agree to marry and April will move to his home in Wisconsin. When April goes to tell her mother about their plans she overhears Hitch belittling Kitty, calling her a “has-been.”

April is upset and calls off her wedding. She decides to join the chorus line of a burlesque show. She says a reluctant goodbye to Tony at the subway. Meanwhile, Kitty takes an overdose of sleeping pills. The bottle clearly says “For insomnia one tablet only”. She goes downstairs to the show and collapses on a couch.

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Knowing that Kitty cannot perform in the show, the producer berates her, mistaking her reaction to the overdose for delirium tremens. April, also not realizing what is happening, and over Kitty’s objections, says she will take Kitty’s place. She tells Kitty she will take care of her now, like Kitty always did for April. As April goes onstage, Kitty passes away, her head hanging over the edge of the couch.

April is disgusted at herself and cannot complete the show. As she runs off the stage, none other than Tony is there to greet her. He says he had a feeling she did not mean what she was saying. She hugs him close and says she wants to go far away. Not realizing Kitty is dead, she says they will need to take care of her mother too, and Tony agrees.

The final shot is a close-up of the Kitty Darling poster on the wall, behind Tony and April.

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The censor boards approved of the message and production values of the film, but were concerned about a scene in which Kitty told April that two of the chorus girls in the show were Catholic, “as good Catholics as anybody even if they do shake for a living.” The line was changed to “Christians”.

Censors in OhioBritish Columbia, and Worcester, Massachusetts banned the film outright. Many cuts were made for showings in cities such as Chicago, IllinoisProvidence, Rhode Island, and St. Louis, Missouri.

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Critical reception

The film opened to mixed reviews from film critics.

Critic Mordaunt Hall, writing for the New York Times, liked the acting but was troubled by some of Rouben Mamoulian’s direction. He said, “The opening chapters are none too interesting and subsequently one anticipates pretty much what’s going to happen…however, Mr. Mamoulian commits the unpardonable sin of being far too extravagant. He becomes tedious in his scenes of the convent and there is nothing but viciousness in his stage passages.”[3]

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Photoplay described the film as “a curious one,” however recommendable for the performances by Morgan and Joan Peers. The anonymous reviewer, however, thought the two leads, “and some nice camera work, help save a confusing job.”[4]

The Library of Congress says the following about the film:

Many have compared Mamoulian’s debut to that of Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane because of his flamboyant use of cinematic innovation to test technical boundaries. The tear-jerking plot boasts top performances from Morgan as the fading burlesque queen, Fuller Mellish Jr. as her slimy paramour and Joan Peers as her cultured daughter. However, the film is remembered today chiefly for Mamoulian’s audacious style. While most films of the era were static and stage-bound, Mamoulian’s camera reinvigorated the melodramatic plot by prowling relentlessly through sordid backstage life.[2]

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A recent[when?] review by Manuel Cintra Ferreira highlights the innovative direction and influence on the productions to come:

It is well-known that the arrival of sound brought a revolution in film-making. But (…) the early times were marked by disorientation on how to master the new technique. The cinematographic idiom, having reached a splendorous high by those years, was made to regress almost to its early stages by the demands of the complicated sound machinery, still cameras restricted to the recording of long dialogue declamations in tedious closeups, such that some commentators did not anticipate a sustained future for the “talkies”. Mamoulian’s role in inverting the slippage was profound, eventually making sound and talk an essential element of the narrative in cinema. Applause, his first work in Hollywood, is from the outset an inescapable witness of this process of change, exploring voice off and sound overlay, which, at the time, technicians considered impossible. (…) Applause became (…) the true “first great sound picture in the world”.[citation needed]

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Premiere and box office reception

The film opened strongly on October 7, 1929 at New York City’s Criterion Theatre, which was celebrating its 35th anniversary. Also on hand was a short film in which Charles K. Harris sang his classic song “After the Ball“.

A combination of mixed reviews, misleading advertising (the publicity focused on glamour shots of Helen Morgan, not what she looked like in the film), downbeat subject matter, and the Stock Market Crash caused the movie to taper off significantly as soon as it left the Criterion.

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Revival, restoration, and home video release

  • In 1939, Henry Hathaway nearly remade the film with Marlene DietrichApplause was rediscovered in the early 1960s, and there was talk of a stage musical with Judy Garland as Kitty and Liza Minnelli as April. (The musical Applause, based on the 1950 movie All About Eve, and having absolutely no relation to the 1929 film, opened on March 30, 1970 starring Lauren Bacall.)[5]
  • The film was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive with the original Technicolor sequences.[6]
  • The film was released on DVD in 2003 through Kino Video (under license from current rightsholders Universal Studios). Special features included comments Rouben Mamoulian made for the 1986 50th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America, censorship notes, a 1929 interview with Mamoulian, rare photos and promotional materials, 1933 newsreel footage of Helen Morgan and her second husband, a clip of Morgan singing What Wouldn’t I Do For That Man? in the 1929 musical Glorifying the American Girl, excerpts from the Beth Brown novel, and essays on Morgan and the film, written by Christopher S. Connelly.

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See also


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Ten Cents a Dance (1931)

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Ten Cents a Dance (1931)

Ten Cents a Dance 1

Ten Cents a Dance 3

Directors: Lionel Barrymore, Edward Buzzell

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Ricardo Cortez, Monroe Owsley, Sally Blane, Blanche Friderici, Phyllis Crane, Olive Tell, Victor Potel, Al Hill, Jack Byron

75 min

Ten Cents a Dance 2

Ten Cents a Dance is a 1931 American pre-Code romance-drama film directed by Lionel Barrymore and starring Barbara Stanwyck as a married taxi dancer who falls in love with one of her customers. The film was inspired by the popular song of the same name, which is sung over the title sequence.[1]


A beautiful streetwise taxi dancer named Barbara O’Neill (Barbara Stanwyck) works at a New York City dance hall called Palais de Dance. One of the dance hall’s wealthy patrons, Bradley Carlton (Ricardo Cortez), comes to the hall and gives Barbara $100.

Concerned about her unemployed friend and neighbor Eddie Miller (Monroe Owsley), Barbara asks Bradley to give him a job, and he agrees. That night they have dinner together.

Ten Cents a Dance 5

When Barbara gets home, Eddie is in the process of packing his bags; he can no longer afford to pay his rent. Barbara gives him the $100 she received from Bradley and tells him about his new job. Later, Eddie and Barbara meet in the park and realize that they are in love.

The next night at the dance hall, Barbara receives a gift of a new dress, but is disappointed when she sees that it was sent by Bradley. Eddie arrives at the dance hall and asks Barbara to marry him. Barbara accepts his proposal and soon quits her job.

Five months later, Eddie meets an old friend Ralph Sheridan and his sister Nancy, and does not reveal that he is now married. They play cards together and Eddie loses $240, something he does not tell his wife.

Ten Cents a Dance 18

He claims to be at a convention, but in fact he meets a woman named Nancy. Later, Eddie returns to find the rent and utilities past due because he has spent his pay gambling. Meanwhile, Barbara returns to work at the dance hall, where she sees Bradley occasionally.

Later, Barbara returns home and discovers Eddie packing his bags. Admitting that he stole $5,000 from Bradley’s office safe, he tells her that he lost that money playing the stock market. Barbara is able to talk him into staying, and she visits Bradley and asks him for a $5,000 loan. Bradley agrees because he is in love with her.

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The next morning, Barbara presents the money to Eddie who accepts it immediately. When Eddie returns from work, he and Barbara engage in a jealous fight. Soon after, she packs her belongings and returns to the dance hall, where she is met by Bradley who has two tickets for the Ile de France, where Barbara can obtain a divorce and marry him.

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(Cast list as per AFI‘s database[2])

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  1. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (March 7, 1931). “The $10,000 Kiss. Strange Temperaments. In a Dance Hall. Screen Notes.”The New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “Ten Cents a Dance: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved December 15, 2014.

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Phantom Broadcast, The (1933)

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Phantom Broadcast, The (1933)

Phantom Broadcast The 1

Phantom Broadcast The 2

Director: Phil Rosen

Cast: Ralph Forbes, Vivienne Osborne, Arnold Gray, Gail Patrick, Paul Page, Pauline Garon, Guinn Big Boy Williams, Rockliffe Fellowes

72 minutes

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As a delivery boy bestows flowers to girls about town, singer Grant Murdock states on his radio show that “Tonight I’m singing to you!” Joe Masetro, a gangster type, has set his sights on signing Grant to a big contract at the end of the week. Grant signs a new contract, however, with his old manager and conductor, Norman Wilder, a hunchback. Joe is upset with siren Elsa Evans, who was supposed to seduce Grant into signing with him. When Joe threatens to cut her out of the action, Elsa tells him she plans to marry Grant.

After the broadcast, Grant makes dates with a number of the girls and heads for Elsa, telling Wilder’s driver, Sandy Higgins, that he will not be rehearsing tonight. Lefty, Joe’s chief henchman and Elsa’s ex-lover, arrives with his gang to kill Norman. Norman meets Laura Hamilton, a young singer, and offers to test her the next day. Getting into his car, Sandy warns Norman about Lefty’s presence and the danger from Joe. Norman laughs off Sandy’s concern, but agrees to take a taxi, after which his car is shot up by Lefty and company. Joe calls Elsa at Grant’s apartment and tells her that Norman was “killed in a gang fight.” Norman, using his key, enters Grant’s apartment, frightening Elsa.

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Told of the attack, Grant assumes the murderers were after him, and after refusing to rehearse, he and Elsa leave. While Laura washes dishes with her fiancée, Dr. Robert Brooks, Norman calls and offers to test her in his studio that night. After the tryout, Norman tells Laura that she has real talent, but insists that a singing career and marriage do not mix. After she leaves, Norman looks in the mirror and imagines what he might have been like if he had not been born a hunchback. The next day, Grant and Norman rehearse. It turns out that Norman is the real singer and that Grant is no more than a ventriloquist’s dummy, mouthing the words and accepting the praise and glory.

When Grant leaves, he bumps into Laura and breaks her compact. Impressed by her looks, he promises to sing “My Good Bye to You” just for her, but Norman warns Laura about Grant, then refuses to sing the song on the broadcast. After the radio show, Norman tells Grant to stay away from Laura, but Grant calls her and makes a date for five o’clock to “hear him sing.” Grant strikes Norman and leaves. Norman tries to call Laura but she has already left. Back at his apartment, Elsa finds Laura’s compact and confronts Grant.

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She talks about marriage, but Grant strikes her and throws her out. While Elsa takes out her gun, Norman buys one of his own. Arriving at Grant’s, Norman finds the performer dead, with Laura’s compact next to him. Thinking Laura killed Grant, Norman switches guns, calls the police and confesses to the murder. Laura arrives, and realizing his mistake, Norman orders her to leave. When the police arrive, Norman escapes through the roof, but is mortally wounded.

Elsa calls Joe seeking help, but it is Lefty, who is still in love with her, who agrees to give her money. At the radio station, word of Grant’s murder arrives. At seven o’clock, right on schedule, the “voice” of Grant Murdock is heard on the air. The studio curtain is pulled back to show Norman singing “My Good Bye to You.” As he dies in her arms, Norman tells Laura that “love and music do mix.” On a ship, Laura honeymoons with Robert, as nearby Elsa wonders aloud to Lefty why Norman took the “rap” for her.

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Ralph Forbes Ralph Forbes
Vivienne Osborne Vivienne Osborne
Elsa Evans
Arnold Gray Arnold Gray
Grant Murdock
Gail Patrick Gail Patrick
Laura Hamilton
Paul Page Paul Page
Dr. Robert Brooks
Pauline Garon Pauline Garon
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams
Sandy Higgins (as Big Boy Williams)
Rockliffe Fellowes Rockliffe Fellowes
Joe Maestro
Harland Tucker Harland Tucker
Program Manager (as Harlan Tucker)
Carl Miller Carl Miller
Mary MacLaren Mary MacLaren
George Nash George Nash
Althea Henley Althea Henley
George 'Gabby' Hayes George ‘Gabby’ Hayes
Police Lieutenant (as George Hayes)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Louise Beavers Louise Beavers
Penny (uncredited)
Kit Guard Kit Guard
Thug (uncredited)
Henry Hall Henry Hall
Thornton–Radio Station Manager (uncredited)
Dick Rush Dick Rush
Policeman (uncredited)

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Twin Husbands (1933)

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Twin Husbands (1933)

Twin Husbands 3

Director: Frank R Strayer

Cast: John Miljan, Shirley Grey, Monroe Owsley, Hale Hamilton, Robert Elliott, Wilson Benge, Maurice Black, Robert Walker

68 min

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Twin Husbands is a 1933 American Pre-Code film directed by Frank R. Strayer.

Plot summary

After he wakes from a deep sleep in a strange Long Island mansion, a dazed man finds a calendar dated 1938, four years later than his last recollection, and evidence that his name is Jerome “Jerry” Peyton Werrenden. Greyson, a butler, tells Jerry that he is the mansion’s owner and that he has been ailing mentally for months.

Jerry, however, quickly deduces that he has been kidnapped and drugged and that Greyson was hired to pose as a longtime servant as part of a scheme to convince him that he is suffering from amnesia.

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Curious about the scheme, Jerry pays Greyson to continue his part, while he pretends to be Werrenden with Chloe, his supposed wife, and with Colton Drain, his supposed secretary. When Chloe and Colton realize that Jerry is wise to the plot, they offer him $10,000 to impersonate Werrenden, who is living in Europe, in a meeting with Colonel Gordon Lewis, the estate trustee, who has been asked to deliver $200,000 in bonds. Jerry accepts the offer and, while waiting for the colonel, overhears Chloe and Colton discussing plans to leave for South America.

After requesting a signed receipt, Lewis, apparently fooled by the impersonation, gives Jerry the bonds, which Jerry then places in a safe, the combination to which only the real Werrenden knows. Later that night, Colton and Chloe discover two thugs, Feets and Chuck, breaking into the safe.

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When the thugs see Jerry, they identify him as The Sparrow, a master “cracksman,” and as a favor to his fellow crooks, Jerry allows them to escape before the police arrive. After a confused interrogation of Chloe, Colton, Lewis and Greyson about Jerry’s identity, Sergeant Kerrigan orders Jerry and Chloe to police headquarters. To Chloe’s surprise, however, Jerry takes her to his house, explaining that Greyson had telephoned his minion, Kerrigan, with orders to impersonate a police sergeant.

After Jerry determines that Chloe was actually trying to save her ne’er-do-well husband from the financial scheming of Colton, he confronts Lewis about the bonds. Cornered, Lewis confesses that he had hired Feets and Chuck to steal the bonds because he needed the money to cover his own overdraughts.

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Jerry then breaks into Colton’s private vaults and unearths several documents that reveal that Colton had covered up news of Werrenden’s death and had stolen his securities. Jerry returns to the Werrenden mansion and shows Chloe, with whom he has fallen in love, his evidence. Supported by Chloe, a repentant Lewis and Greyson, Jerry convinces the police that he is Werrenden and that Colton is suffering a nervous breakdown.

Unable to expose Colton to the police because of his own criminal activities, Jerry nonetheless satisfies Chloe by forcing Colton to agree to leave immediately for South America. Chloe then convinces a reformed Jerry not to run away, but to stay with her indefinitely.

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Lady Refuses, The (1931)

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The Lady Refuses (1931)

Lady Refuses The 1

Lady Refuses The 2

Director: George Archainbaud

Cast: Betty Compson, John Darrow, Gilbert Emery, Margaret Livingston, Ivan Lebedeff, Edgar Norton, Daphne Pollard

72 min

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The Lady Refuses is a 1931 American pre-Code melodrama film, directed by George Archainbaud, from a screenplay by Wallace Smith, based on an original story by Guy Bolton and Robert Milton. It stars Betty Compson as a destitute young woman on the verge of becoming a prostitute, who is hired by a wealthy man to woo his never-do-well son away from the clutches of a gold-digger (Margaret Livingston). The plot is regarded as risqué enough to appear in at least one collection of pre-Code Hollywood films.[3]

Lady Refuses The 13


Sir Gerald Courtney (Gilbert Emery) is an aristocrat whose son, Russell (John Darrow), prefers to spend his time partying with young women rather than focusing on the promising career he has in architecture. When Russell leaves one evening to revel with the gold-digging Berthine Waller (Margaret Livingston) rather than spending it dining with his father, Sir Gerald is a bit despondent. As he ponders what to do about his wayward son, providence takes a hand.

A beautiful destitute young woman, June (Betty Compson), on the verge of entering into the oldest of professions due to her desperation, is being pursued by the London police. Sir Gerald, who was at the window in the first floor watching his son leaving with Berthine Waller, observes how June leaves a taxi on the other side of the street, and is being cornered by the police.

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As she comes over to his house to knock, he opens the door and welcomes her as an old friend he was expecting, reassuring the Policemen that she is a respectable citizen. After they leave, Sir Gerald invites her to dinner, after she told him her situation. Then he proposes to hire June for a 1000 Pounds to prevent his son to fall into the clutches of Berthine.

June does her job beautifully, as Russell leaves Berthine and begins to concentrate on his architectural career, much to his father’s delight. There’s a slight hitch however: June has fallen in love with Sir Gerald, rather than Russell. Devastated, Russell calls Berthine to meet him at his apartment (which is upstairs in the same building where June lives). Seeing all of her work being unwound in a single evening, June lures Russell down to her apartment, where she gets him so drunk that he passes out and spends the night.

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When Berthine arrives at Russel’s apartment, she has been followed by an ex-lover, Nikolai Rabinoff (Ivan Lebedeff). In a jealous rage, Nikolai kills Berthine. The following morning Russell awakes to find June gone, having vowed to not come between the son and the father. He is also the main suspect in Berthine’s murder. Seeking shelter from his father, Russell refuses to invoke June as his alibi. In order to save him, June steps forward and admits that Russell spent the night in her apartment. Sir Gerald, thinking the worst, renounces his devotion for June, which devastates her, but confirmed what she always feared: that he would never rely on her. June leaves his house, but when Sir Gerald discovers the innocence of Russell’s night spent in her apartment short after, he understands his own mistake and vows to track her down and spend the rest of his life with her.

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(cast list as per AFI database)[3]


In 1959, the film entered the public domain in the United States due to the copyright claimants’ failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[5]

During production, this film was known by several titles, including Children of the StreetsLadies for HireA Lady for Hire and Forgotten Women.[6] According to several sources at the time, the noted screenwriter, Jane Murfin was supposed to have done work in the adaptation of the Milton/Bolton story for the screen, however, no sources give her credit for any writing work on the film.[3]

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  1. Jump up^ “The Lady Refuses”. New York Times. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “The Lady Refuses: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h “The Lady Refuses: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  4. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 34. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  5. Jump up^ Pierce, David (June 2007). “Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain”. Film History: An International Journal19 (2): 125–43. ISSN 0892-2160JSTOR 25165419OCLC 15122313doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. See Note 60, pg. 143.
  6. Jump up^ “The Lady Refuses, Notes”. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.

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Kept Husbands (1931)

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Kept Husbands (1931)

Kept Husbands 3

Director: Lloyd Bacon

Cast: Dorothy Mackaill, Joel McCrea, Ned Sparks, Mary Carr, Clara Kimball Young, Robert McWade, Bryant Washburn, Florence Roberts, Freeman Wood, Lita Chevret

76 min

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Kept Husbands is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by Lloyd Bacon, starring Dorothy Mackaill and Joel McCrea, with major supporting roles filled by Robert McWadeFlorence Roberts and Mary Carr.

The original story was written by the film’s associate producer, Louis Sarecky, and adapted for the screen by Forrest Halsey and Alfred Jackson. Although primarily a drama, the film has many comedic touches to it.

The film centers around the class struggles and stereotypes between the working class and the wealthy, which was particularly striking during the Depression era when this film was made. The film also points out the stereotypical gender roles which were prevalent at that time.

Kept Husbands 2

Plot summary

Arthur Parker (Robert McWade) is a wealthy steel magnate who is relating the story to his snobbish wife and spoiled daughter of one of his plant supervisors who fearlessly rushed in and saved the lives of two of his fellow co-workers.

When his wife, Henrietta (Florence Roberts), asks if he rewarded the young man, Parker shows his astonishment by saying that the hero had refused the thousand dollars he had offered.

Kept Husbands 4

When the daughter, Dot (Dorothy Mackaill), remarks that she would like to meet a man like that, the father tells her not to worry, she will, for he is coming to dinner that very evening. Henrietta is aghast at having to socialize with someone not of their class, but Parker, who is a better judge of character, assures her that all will be well.

During dinner, Dot is smitten with the young man, Dick Brunton (Joel McCrea). So smitten she makes a bet with her father that she can get him to marry her within four weeks, by December 20. The father takes that bet, and lo and behold she wins Dick’s heart and gets him to accept her proposal of marriage by the deadline, despite his fears of their different social circumstances.

After the wedding, Parker sends the newlyweds on an expensive honeymoon to Europe, after which they return to their lavish home, also supplied by Parker. Parker also promotes Dick, but within six months, his new lifestyle threatens to emasculate Dick, who loses interest in his career and finds himself dominated by Dot’s vapid, social whirl of bridge games, cocktail parties and passive acceptance of life as a “kept husband”.

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This does not sit well with the proud husband, and when Parker offers him a chance to prove himself with a new position in St. Louis, he jumps at the chance. When told of the opportunity however, Dot is less than enthusiastic, not wanting to leave her friends and social circle. She refuses to agree to accompany Dick.

Dick decides to go to St. Louis, with or without Dot, making her incredibly upset. Not knowing what to do, he goes to ask advice from his mother (Mary Carr), who tells him that he needs to reconcile with Dot before he leaves for St. Louis. Meanwhile, Dot has agreed to meet with a former beau, Charles Bates (Bryant Washburn), who attempts to seduce her.

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When she returns to their house the following morning, Dick questions her regarding her whereabouts. She lies to him, and he knows it, since he had seen her with Washburn the prior evening. Furious, he storms out, saying their marriage is over, and intending to resign from Parker’s company.

Realizing her love for him, Dot eventually finds Dick at the rail station, about to leave for St. Louis. He has decided to take Parker’s position after all. The husband and wife reconcile, with Dot agreeing to live within the means that Dick’s salary can provide.

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(Cast list as per AFI database)[2]


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In 1959, the film entered the public domain in the USA due to the copyright claimants failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[5]

The tag line for the film was “Every Inch a Man – Bought Body and Soul by His Wife”.[6]

This film marked the debut in sound films of Clara Kimball Young, who had been a major star during the silent film era. She came back after a six-year hiatus from making films.[7]

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  1. Jump up to:a b “Kept Husband: Details”New York Times. Archived from the original on August 16, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d Kept Husbands: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 6, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  3. Jump up^ “Max Steiner: Film Scores”. Songwriter Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  4. Jump up to:a b c “Kept Husbands, Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 16, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  5. Jump up^ Pierce, David (June 2007). “Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain”. Film History: An International Journal19 (2): 125–43. ISSN 0892-2160JSTOR 25165419OCLC 15122313doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. See Note #60, p. 143.
  6. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 34. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  7. Jump up^ “Kept Husbands, Notes”. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on August 16, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.

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Reckoning, The (1932)

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The Reckoning (1932)

Reckoning The 1

Director: Harry L Fraser

Cast: Sally Blane, James Murray, Edmund Breese, Bryant Washburn, Pat O’Malley, Thomas E Jackson,  Mildred Golden, Douglas Scott

63 min

The Reckoning (also known as Crooked Streets) is a 1932 Pre-code talking film crime-drama directed by Harry L. Fraser and starring Sally Blane and James Murray. It was released on state rights and through a company called Peerless.[1]

Preserved by the Library of Congress.[2]

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  1. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:..The Reckoning
  2. Jump up^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, (<-book title) p.150 c.1978 the American Film Institute

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Flaming Signal, The (1933)

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The Flaming Signal (1933)

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Director: George Jeske, Charles E Roberts

Cast: Marceline Day, John David Horsley, Noah Beery, Henry B Walthall, Carmelita Geraghty, Mischa Auer, Francisco Alonso, Anya Gramina

64 min

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A pilot and his dog crash-land on an island run by a psycho who owns a motel–and most of the locals. With Marceline Day and John David Horsley.


While aviator Lieutenant James Robbins signs his autograph on the leg of an attractive, admiring French girl at a crowded airfield as he prepares to fly from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Flash, his German shepherd, grabs a parachute and sneaks into the plane.

Thirty hours later, Jim survives a fierce lightning storm, but afterward his engine catches fire. Flash parachutes to Tabu Island, just south of Hawaii, and Jim crashes in the ocean. The dog finds Jim unconscious hanging onto a broken wing and pushes him to shore.

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After Flash finds Sally James, daughter of a missionary, swimming nude in a lake, she and her father take Jim and Flash to the trading post and bar run by drunken Otto Von Krantz, who exploits the natives and, with his blonde barmaid Molly, encourages them to drink and spend the money that he pays them for the pearls they find. Jim and Flash wait for the weekly boat to come, and three days later, while Sally and Jim hold hands and watch the natives dance, Von Krantz rapes chief Manu’s daughter Rari.

When Manu orders Von Krantz to leave the island, Von Krantz shoots him. The natives hold a ritual to bring Manu back to life and keep the white people captive in Von Krantz’s bar, but Flash sneaks out with a torch and lights a pyre to signal search planes. Manu rises and Reverend James goes to speak with him, but Von Krantz shoots Manu and a native knifes the reverend.

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After Jim knocks out Von Krantz and escapes from the bar with Sally, Flash bites Von Krantz to death as Molly watches. After Jim and Sally bury her father, Flash attacks a native about to spear them from above and falls with the native over a cliff. A plane lands in the water, and as natives approach, Jim, Sally and a limping Flash escape to the plane.

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Flash the Dog Flash the Dog
Flash (as Flash)
John David Horsley John David Horsley
Lt. Jim Robbins (as John Horsley)
Marceline Day Marceline Day
Molly James
Noah Beery Noah Beery
Otto Von Krantz
Henry B. Walthall Henry B. Walthall
Rev. Mr. James
Carmelita Geraghty Carmelita Geraghty
Mischa Auer Mischa Auer
Manu–High Priest
Francisco Alonso Francisco Alonso
Jane'e Olmes Jane’e Olmes
Anya Gramina Anya Gramina
French Girl

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Flaming Signal The 13

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Ladies in Love (1930)

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Ladies in Love (1930)

Ladies in Love 1

Ladies in Love is a 1930 Pre-code talking film romance drama directed by Edgar Lewis and starring Alice Day and Johnnie Walker. A B-movie, it was produced independently by Hollywood Pictures and distributed by Chesterfield Motion Pictures Corporation.[1]


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Constant Woman,The (1933)

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The Constant Woman AKA Hell In a Circus (1933)

Constant Woman The 2

Director: Victor Scherzinger

Cast: Conrad Nagel, Leila Hyams, Tommy Conlon, Claire Windsor, Stanley Fields, Fred Kohler, Alexander Carr, Robert Ellis, Lionel Belmore, Ruth Clifford, Mickey Daniels

76 min


Constant Woman The 1

The Constant Woman (1933), also known as Auction in Souls and Hell in a Circus, is an American Pre-Code film directed by Victor Schertzinger. It is based on an early Eugene O’Neill play called Recklessness.


Marlene Underwood is a star circus performer, whose husband Walt buys the circus while their son Jimmie worships everything his mother does. Marlene leaves them both to go join a larger show, then is killed in a fire, resulting in Walt going into a downward spiral of alcohol and sorrow.

A woman called Lou helps restore Walt’s faith in human nature, but she is resented by young Jimmie, who feels she is trying to take his mother’s place. Walt gets back on his feet, but now must try to stop Jimmie from joining the circus himself.

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Flirtation (1934)

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Flirtation (1934)

Flirtation 1

Flirtation 2

Director: Leo Birinsky

Cast: Jeanette Loff, Ben Alexander, Arthur Tracy, Emma Dunn, Franklin Pangborn, Al K Hall, Cissy Fitzgerald, Helen McKellar, William Pawley, Corky

58 min

Flirtation 3


When Dudley, a young man from the country, comes to the city with his dog “Corky,” he falls in love with an actress named Nancy.

Dudley loses Corky, but when the dog shows up and causes a disruption while Nancy is singing onstage, she is fired. A short time later, Nancy discovers that her mother, who has been led to believe that Nancy is happily married with a baby, is coming to town. To maintain the deception, Nancy convinces Dudley to pretend to be her husband and “borrows” a baby.

The ruse is soon discovered, but by then Nancy and Dudley have fallen in love. Nancy then marries Dudley and they move to his home in the country.

Flirtation 4

Jeanette Loff Jeanette Loff
Ben Alexander Ben Alexander
Arthur Tracy Arthur Tracy
Emma Dunn Emma Dunn
Franklin Pangborn Franklin Pangborn
Al K. Hall Al K. Hall
Cissy Fitzgerald Cissy Fitzgerald
Helen MacKellar Helen MacKellar
Mrs. Smith – the Baby’s Mother
William Pawley William Pawley
Corky Corky
Dudley’s Dog
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ernie Adams Ernie Adams
The Crook (uncredited)
Tommy Bupp Tommy Bupp
The Baby (uncredited)
Billy Franey Billy Franey
Minor Role (uncredited)
Mary Gordon Mary Gordon
Woman on a Window (uncredited)
Kit Guard Kit Guard
Man Outside Theatre (uncredited)
Fay Holderness Fay Holderness
Woman on a Window (uncredited)
Hattie McDaniel Hattie McDaniel
Minor Role (uncredited)
Lee Moran Lee Moran
Stage Manager (uncredited)
Tempe Pigott Tempe Pigott
Flower Woman (uncredited)

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Gigolettes of Paris (1933)

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Gigolettes of Paris (1933)

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Director: Alphonse Martell

Cast: Madge Bellamy, Gilbert Roland, Natalie Moorhead, Theodore Von Eltz, Molly O’Day, Henry Kolker, Paul Porcasi, Robert Bolder, Ellinor Vanderveer

64 min

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Suzanne Ricord, the prettiest salesgirl at the Parfumerie Parisienne, attracts the attention of wealthy Albert Valraine, who purchases all the expensive perfumes that she recommends.

After work, Suzanne and her roommate Paulette find Valraine waiting. He insists on giving the demure Suzanne a ride home and puts Paulette in the rear outdoor seat, where she still manages to hear Valraine offer Suzanne both the perfumes that he bought and to be her “fairy godfather.”

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Suzanne refuses, but after she finds no mail from her lover, Paulette talks her into accepting Valraine’s offer. She removes the ring that her lover gave her, and it is soon replaced by Valraine’s. Suzanne and Paulette now live in a nicely-furnished apartment paid for by Valraine, and Suzanne is his mistress.

However, when she begins to talk about their planned honeymoon, Valraine takes back his ring and, accusing her of not having learned the rules of the game, says that everything has to end sometime.

Suzanne cries in disappointment. Valraine then promises his fiancée Diane that he is finished with his mistress and gives her the ring he took back from Suzanne.

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Sometime later, Suzanne sings at a cabaret and accepts gifts from the many wealthy men who come to see her. Her friend, Antoine “Tony” Ferand, a gigolo, dances with Diane, now Valraine’s wife, and Suzanne notices the ring on her finger. When Tony tells Suzanne that Diane is Mrs. Albert Valraine, Suzanne reveals that the ring was her engagement ring and says she wants it back.

Diane gives the ring to Tony supposedly to help finance his business, and when Tony, who really loves Suzanne, gives her the ring, she reveals that her plan is to show Valraine how it feels to be at the losing end of the game. When Tony says that he is sick of their life and has no self-respect, Suzanne refuses to listen.

Valraine, who has just returned from a trip, accompanies his wife to the cabaret, and he notices that her ring is gone. Seeing the ring on a hand holding the curtain leading to the telephone, Valraine grabs it only to find Suzanne waiting for his approach.

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When he questions her about the ring, she obliquely threatens to reveal their affair if his inquiries go too far. Back at the table with his wife, after Valraine, noticing Tony staring at Diane, accuses her of humiliating him with a common gigolo, Diane leaves with Tony, who is frustrated with Suzanne’s schemes. In their cab, Tony reveals to Diane that Suzanne had been engaged to Valraine and apologizes.

Although disappointed, Diane refuses his offer to return the ring. Tony goes to Monte Carlo, where he is arrested after he leaves a watch that had been given to Suzanne by a man at the cabaret, at a repair shop. The watch turns out to be stolen property.

The next night, Suzanne, upset that Tony has not come to the club, rebukes Valraine when he apologetically asks if she could ever care for him again. In front of Valraine, she gives the ring as a present to Louie, her waiter.

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Meanwhile, Tony, in jail, refuses to say who gave him the watch. Realizing that she really loves Tony, Suzanne goes with Paulette to Monte Carlo to get away. She sees Diane at a table but her fears at finding her with Tony are relieved when her new husband joins her.

After Paulette shows her a newspaper article about the stolen watch, she tells her story to the police. Tony is released and the man who gave her the watch is picked up in Marseilles. Tony and Suzanne plan to marry, and he plans to return to his father’s textile producing business. To their surprise, they find that with the ring, Louie has married Paulette.

Tony is released and the man who gave her the watch is picked up in Marseilles. Tony and Suzanne plan to marry, and he plans to return to his father’s textile producing business. To their surprise, they find that with the ring, Louie has married Paulette.

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Madge Bellamy Madge Bellamy
Suzanne Ricord
Gilbert Roland Gilbert Roland
Antoine ‘Tony’ Ferrand
Natalie Moorhead Natalie Moorhead
Diane Valraine
Theodore von Eltz Theodore von Eltz
Albert Valraine
Molly O'Day Molly O’Day
Henry Kolker Henry Kolker
Police Interrogator
Paul Porcasi Paul Porcasi
Albert Conti Albert Conti
Ferdinand Schumann-Heink Ferdinand Schumann-Heink
(as F. Schumann-Heink)
Maude Truax Maude Truax
Lester New Lester New
Robert Bolder Robert Bolder
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ellinor Vanderveer Ellinor Vanderveer
Diane’s Friend (uncredited)

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Interference (1928)

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Interference (1928)

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Director: Lothar Mendes (silent version), Roy Pomeroy ( sound version)

Cast: Evelyn Brent, Clive Brook, William Powell, Doris Kenyon, Brandon Hurst, Tom Ricketts, Louis Payne, Wilfred Noy, Donald Stuart, Raymond Lawrence, Clyde Cook

84 min

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Interference is an early sound film drama released in 1928 and starring William Powell and Evelyn Brent.

This was Paramount Pictures‘ first ever full talking movie. It was also simultaneously filmed as a silent.

The film was based on the play Interference, a Play in Three Acts by Roland Pertwee and Howard Dearden. When a first husband turns out not to be dead, blackmail leads to murder.[1]

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  1. Jump up^ Interference at silentera.com database (released in silent and sound versions)

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Film Collectors Corner

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Not released on DVD


Shadow of the Law (1930)

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Shadow of the Law (1930)

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Director: Louis J Gasnier

Cast: William Powell, Marion Shilling, Natalie Moorhead, Regis Toomey, Paul Hurst, George Irving, Frederick Burt, James Durkin, Richard Tucker, Walter James, Broderick O Farrell

69 min

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Shadow of the Law is a 1930 film directed by Louis Gasnier and starring William Powell.


A woman being pursued by an intoxicated man breaks into John Nelson’s apartment, imploring his help. Nelson, a young engineer, confronts the man, who accidentally topples through a window to his death.

Unable to prove the circumstances, Nelson is convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. With the aid of his cellmate, he escapes and under an assumed name becomes manager of a textile mill in North Carolina.

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Later, his former cellmate, Pete, is commissioned to find Ethel Barry, the woman who can clear him so that he may marry Edith, the mill owner’s daughter; but Ethel forces his hand through blackmail.

Detective Mike Kearney tracks him down, but when Montgomery (Nelson) mutilates his hands in a machine to erase his fingerprint identity, Kearney decides to force Ethel to clear him.

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William Powell William Powell
Marion Shilling Marion Shilling
Edith Wentworth
Natalie Moorhead Natalie Moorhead
Ethel Barry aka Ethel George
Regis Toomey Regis Toomey
Tom Owens
Paul Hurst Paul Hurst
Pete Shore
George Irving George Irving
Colonel Wentworth
Frederick Burt Frederick Burt
Detective Lt. Mike Kearney
James Durkin James Durkin
Prison Warden
Richard Tucker Richard Tucker
Lew Durkin
Walter James Walter James
Captain of the Guards

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Film Collectors Corner

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Not released on DVD

Marriage Playground, The (1929)

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The Marriage Playground (1929)

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Director: Lothar Mendes

Cast: Mary Brian, Fredric March, Lilyan Tashman, Huntley Gordon, Kay Francis, William Austin, Seena Owen, Phillipe De Lacy, Anita Louise, Mitzi Green, Clive Brook (narrator)

70 min

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The Marriage Playground is a 1929 American Pre-Code drama film directed by Lothar Mendes and written by Doris Anderson, J. Walter Ruben and Edith Wharton. The film stars Mary Brian, Fredric March, Lilyan Tashman, Huntley Gordon, Kay Francis, William Austin, and Seena Owen.

The film was released on December 21, 1929, by Paramount Pictures.[1][2]

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Joyce and Cliffe Wheater, a much-divorced American couple, leave their seven children to fend for themselves as they tour the smart resorts of Europe. Judith, the eldest, takes care of the group. Martin Boyne, an American tourist, meets Judith and the children at the Lido and remembers that he knew their father in America; attracted to Judith, he is quick to sympathize with the problems of the children.

Although he is the way to Switzerland to meet Rose Sellers, his fiancée, Martin delays the trip to help the children through a crisis that threatens to separate them. When he leaves, Judith despairs, feeling that he regards her as only a child, and she decides to take the children to Switzerland; there Martin realizes he loves her, and when Wheater, repenting of his neglect, telephones him to bring the children back, Martin declares that he is marrying Judith and will himself care for the children.

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  1. Jump up^ “Movie Review – Lucky in Love – THE SCREEN; Fun and Romance”. nytimes.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  2. Jump up^ “The Marriage Playground”. afi.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.

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Film Collectors Corner

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Behind the Make Up (1930)

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Behind the Make Up (1930)

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Director: Robert Milton, Dorothy Arzner, Henry Hathaway

Cast: Hal Skelly, William Powell, Fay Wray, Kay Francis, Paul Lukas, E H Calvert, Torben Meyer, Bob Perry, Walter Huston

70 min

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Behind the Make-Up (1930) is an American Pre-Code drama film starring Hal Skelly, William Powell, Kay Francis, and Fay Wray, and based on the short story “The Feeder” by Mildred Cram.

This was the first of seven in which Powell and Francis co-starred, the others being Street of Chance (1930), Paramount on Parade (1930), For the Defense (1930), Ladies’ Man (1931), Jewel Robbery (1932), and One Way Passage (1932).

Plot Summary

Gardoni, a down-on-his-luck vaudeville performer, is taken in by a fellow performer, a clown who has a bicycle riding act. Gardoni shows his appreciation by stealing the clown’s act and his girlfriend, whom he marries.

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Critical reception

Mordaunt Hall, film critic of the New York Times, praised the performances of Powell (“excellent”), Wray (“pleasing”), Skelly (“goes about his part with earnestness and intelligence”), and Francis (“does nicely”), but noted “the story is rather limp and disappointing.”[1]

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  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Mordaunt Hall (January 18, 1930). “Behind the Makeup (1930)”. New York Times.

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Film Collectors Corner

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Gentlemen of the Press (1929)

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Gentlemen of the Press (1929)


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Director: Millard Webb

Cast: Walter Huston, Kay Francis, Charles Ruggles, Betty Lawford, Norman Foster, Duncan Penwarden, Lawrence Leslie, Harry Lee, Brian Donlevy, Victor Killian

80 min

Gentlemen of the Press is a 1929 all-talking film starring Walter Huston in his first feature film role and Kay Francis in her first film role. The film still survives. This film’s copyright has expired and it is now in the public domain. It survives in a copy sold to MCA for television distribution.[1]

The film is based on Ward Morehouse’s 1928 Broadway play Gentlemen of the Press.[2]

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Not released on DVD


Parole Girl (1933)

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Parole Girl (1933)

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Director: Edward F Cline

Cast: Mae Clarke, Ralph Bellamy, Marie Prevost, Hale Hamilton, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Ernest Wood, Sam Godfrey, Lucille Browne, Frank Fanning, Raul Freeman

67 min

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Parole Girl is a 1933 American Pre-Code romantic drama film directed by Edward Cline. The film stars Mae Clarke and Ralph Bellamy.


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When Sylvia Day (Mae Clarke) is caught trying to pull a scam on the Taylor Department Store in New York City, she pleads with the store manager to let her go, but his boss, Joe Smith (Ralph Bellamy), insists on following store policy, and she is handed over to the police, convicted and sentenced to a year in prison. Sylvia is consumed with the idea of getting revenge on Joe.

She becomes friends with chatty fellow inmate Jeanie Vance (Marie Prevost), who offers to team up with her (and commit more crimes) once they have served their time. When Sylvia learns that Jeanie has a surprising connection to Joe, she decides to get out early. She sets a fire, then passes out from the smoke while trying to put it out. For her “heroism”, she is granted parole.

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Tony Gratton (Hale Hamilton), her partner in the failed con, tries to talk her into marrying him and going to Chicago to continue their life of crime, but she is determined to avenge herself. Besides, she knows that Tony is already married.

Sylvia stalks Joe, learning all she can about him. Then, she pretends to be an old acquaintance at a nightclub where Joe is celebrating his promotion to general manager by getting drunk. The next morning, Joe discovers her in his apartment. She informs him that they have gotten married. Joe laughs, then tells her that he already has a wife. She tells him she knows (it is Jeanie), then reveals her motives. Tony shows up, masquerading as the person who married them; he gives Joe the marriage license the couple supposedly left behind. Threatened with a charge of bigamy, Joe reluctantly agrees to support Sylvia for a year, the length of her parole.

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Tony tries again to get Sylvia to be his partner in crime. When she refuses, he slips a counterfeit $20 bill in her purse. Sylvia goes on a shopping spree and pays for some of her purchases with the bill. It is traced back to her, but when a policeman shows up to take her back to jail, Joe pretends that she took the money out of his pants pocket. As a store manager, he deals with counterfeit money all the time. The ploy works, and Jeanie sends back her extravagant purchases.

Later, Joe calls her from the office and asks her for a favor. Mr. Taylor (Ferdinand Gottschalk), the store’s somewhat eccentric owner, has found out that Joe is married, so he is coming to dinner at their apartment. While Sylvia is cooking, Jeanie shows up. Her friend has been released early and intends to blackmail her husband (whom she married long ago while he was in college and then lost track of), once she can locate him, before heading to Florida with Sylvia. Sylvia gets her to leave before Joe and Mr. Taylor show up (early) by promising to give her a decision the next day. Taylor insists on doing the cooking; he is fed up with being waited on by servants. He becomes very fond of the couple and hints at a promotion to vice president if they were to have a baby.

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The next day, Sylvia persuades Jeanie that it is too dangerous to try blackmail in New York because of her record and agrees to go with her to Florida. Sylvia leaves a letter for Joe explaining everything, ending with the admission “I love you”. On the train, however, Jeanie reveals that she divorced Joe without his knowledge. Sylvia gets off and rushes back to the apartment; Joe has already read the letter and takes her in his arms.


“The Players” as listed in the opening credits of Parole Girl:[1]

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Cast notes

  • Mae Clarke is the same actress who two years before the release of Parole Girl had a grapefruit shoved into her face by James Cagney in the film The Public Enemy. That same year, in 1931, she also appeared in Universal Studios‘ horror classic Frankenstein, portraying the fiancee of the monster’s creator.

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  • By the time of Parole Girl’s release in 1933, Ralph Bellamy had become a busy actor and a very popular one among American movie audiences. Bellamy appeared in eleven other films released that same year, including the Picture Snatcher, an action film in which he plays second-lead to James Cagney.[2]

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  • Sam Godfrey, who plays “Walsh” in Parole Girl, rarely received an on-screen credit like the one he has in this film. Godfrey’s career as a peripheral or supporting character lasted only a few years, from 1932 until his death at the age of forty-three in 1935. He managed, however, during that brief period to appear in forty-one films. Of that total he received a screen credit in only seven of those productions.[3]


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  1. Jump up^ A full copy (1:51) of Parole Girl is available for viewing on YouTube. Search by film title on YouTube’s homepage. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  2. Jump up^ “Ralph Bellamy,” Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  3. Jump up^ “Sam Godfrey,” IMDb. Retrieved March 14, 2017.

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Film Collectors Corner

This film has not been released on Blu Ray and DVD as yet

Andrei Tarkovsky Season on Film4 April/May 2017

Andrei Tarkovsky Season

On the 85th anniversary of his birth, Film4 begins a season of films by the legendary Russian director. All of Tarkovsky’s seven feature films will play (non-chronologically) throughout April and May. All films will be available to view on All4 after broadcast.


Tuesday 4th April, 12.10am – Andrei Rublev (1966)


A new, restored print of Andrei Tarkovsky’s disturbing portrait of a great icon painter in early 15th-century Russia, a war-torn period that saw the country in upheaval.

Wednesday 12th, 1.25am – Ivan’s Childhood (1962)


Andrei Tarkovsky’s feature debut blends impressionism and stark realism to tell the tale of a quest for vengeance during the Second World War.

Thursday 20th, 12.40am – Solaris (1972)


Andrei Tarkovsky’s transcendent sci-fi classic, a moving and unsettling vision of memory and humanity.

Monday 24th, 12.40am – Stalker (1979)


Following Solaris, Tarkovsky’s second foray into the sci-fi genre: a surreal and disturbing vision of the future, in which a scientist, a writer and a Stalker attempt to navigate the bleak and devastated terrain of the Zone.

Date & time tbc – Mirror (1975)


Andrei Tarkovsky’s most autobiographical work, in which he reflects upon his own childhood and the destiny of the Russian people.

Date & time tbc – Nostalgia (1983)


Tarkovsky’s first film to be made outside of Russia explores the melancholy of the expatriate, as a Russian poet in a Tuscan village is haunted by memories of his wife, children and homeland.

Date & time tbc – The Sacrifice (1986)


Tarkovsky’s Cannes prize-winning final film: a mystical and enigmatic parable that unfolds in the hours before a nuclear holocaust.


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Alps (15)

Release Date: 09/11/2012

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Alps (15)

Alps (Greek: Άλπεις, translit. Alpeis) is a 2011 Greek drama film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos.[1] It stars Aggeliki Papoulia and Ariane Labed, and was co-written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou. It premiered in competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival where it won Osella for Best Screenplay. It also won the Official Competition Prize for New Directions in Cinema at the Sydney Film Festival in 2012.

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Aggeliki Papoulia, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Vekris, Ariane Labed

Distributor: Artificial Eye

Locations: Key Cities

Format: 2D Subtitled

Film Website: N/A

Film Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alps_(film)

Film IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1859446/

Film Trailer

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Master, The (15)

Release Date: 02/11/2012

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Master, The (15)

The Master is a 2012 American psychological drama film written, directed, and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. It tells the story of Freddie Quell (Phoenix), a World War II veteran struggling to adjust to a post-war society, who meets Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), a leader of a religious movement known as “The Cause”. Dodd sees something in Quell and accepts him into the movement. Freddie takes a liking to “The Cause” and begins traveling with Dodd along the East Coast to spread the teachings.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons, David Warshofsky, Laura Dern

Distributor: Entertainment Film Distributors

Locations: Nationwide

Format: 2D/35 mm

Film Website: N/A

Film Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_(2012_film)

Film IMDB Page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1560747/

Film Trailer

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