Tag Archives: early sound films

Sunnyside Up (1929)


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Sunnyside Up (1929)

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Director: David Butler

Cast: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Marjorie White, El Brendel, Mary Forbes, Peter Gawthorne, Sharon Lynn, Frank Richardson, Joe Brown, Henry Armetta, Sherwood Bailey, Jay Berger 

121 min

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Sunny Side Up is a 1929 American Pre-Code Fox Movietone musical film starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, with original songs, story, and dialogue by B. G. DeSylvaLew Brown and Ray Henderson. The romantic comedy/musical premiered on October 3, 1929 at the Gaiety Theatre in New York City.[3] The film was directed by David Butler, had (now-lost) Multicolor sequences, and a running time of 121 minutes.

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Plot

The film centres around a Will-they won’t-they romance. Wealthy Jack Cromwell from Long Island runs off to New York City on account of his fiancee‘s relentless flirting. He attends an Independence Dayblock party where Molly Carr, from Yorkville, Manhattan, falls in love with him.
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Comic relief is provided by grocer Eric Swenson (El Brendel), above whose shop Molly and her flatmate, Bea Nichols (Marjorie White), live.[3][4] Gaynor performs a charming singing and dancing version of the song “(Keep Your) Sunny Side Up” for a crowd of her neighbors, complete with top hat and cane. Later in the film, a lavish pre-Code dance sequence for the song “Turn on the Heat,” including scantily clad and gyrating island women enticing bananas on trees to abruptly grow and stiffen, with the graphic metaphor lost on no one, occurs without Gaynor’s participation.

Gaynor and Farrell made almost a dozen films together, including Frank Borzage‘s classics Seventh Heaven (1927), Street Angel (1928), and Lucky Star (1929). Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress for the first two and F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise.

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Cast

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Reception

The Times and The New York Times both express the opinion that the film, and the singing voices of Gaynor and Farrell, are all tolerable if not exactly worthy of praise. Despite the sugary sentimentality, the film is engaging, while the cinematography and special effects are impressive.[3][4]

Footage from Sunny Side Up was included in the comedy film It Came from Hollywood, which parodied B movies.[5]

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The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Music

I’m A Dreamer, Aren’t We All?

Several times throughout the film Gaynor sings the tune “I’m a Dreamer, Aren’t We All?” and, on one occasion, sings it impressively, according to the New York Times.[3] The credits are: words, De Sylva & Brown; music, Ray Henderson.

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The song was punned by the Marx Brothers in the film Animal Crackers (1930). Groucho asks his brother to “play the song about Montreal“. Chico asks, “Montreal?, and Groucho replies, “I’m a dreamer, Montreal.” The pun has been much-recycled [7] not least in Stewart Parker‘s award-winning play I’m a Dreamer, Montreal.

An early popular recording was by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra on October 16, 1929 with a vocal group including Bing Crosby[8] and this reached the charts in 1929.[9] The tune was also recorded by John Coltrane in 1958 [10] and included on his album Bahia (1964).

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Turn on the Heat

Another song in the film. This one would be used in the Pooch the Pup cartoon Hot and Cold (1933).[11]

(Keep Your) Sunny Side Up

Another song in the film that would later be used as the theme song to the 1988 British sitcom Clarence.

In the 1950s, the song was used as the theme song for Sunnyside Up, a variety program produced by HSV-7 (a television station in Melbourne, Australia_. The song’s melody was later adapted by the Essendon Football Club for its club song, “See the Bombers Fly Up”, written by Kevin Andrews in 1959.[12]

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See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Quigley Publishing Company “The All Time Best Sellers”, International Motion Picture Almanac 1937-38 (1938) p 942 accessed April 19, 2014
  2. Jump up^ “WHICH CINEMA FILMS HAVE EARNED THE MOST MONEY SINCE 1914?”The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1956). Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. March 4, 1944. p. 3 Supplement: The Argus Weekend magazine. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d NY Times October 4, 1929 Movie Review
  4. Jump up to:a b The Times, December 30, 1929, New Gallery Cinema “Sunny Side Up”
  5. Jump up^ “Collage of 10 worst films now a movie of its own”, Lodi News-Sentinel, November 25, 1982. (p.8).
  6. Jump up^ “AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees” (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  7. Jump up^ Glenn Mitchell, The Marx Brothers encyclopedia (Reynolds & Hearn, 2003) ISBN 1-903111-49-8
  8. Jump up^ “A Bing Crosby Discography”BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  9. Jump up^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 452. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  10. Jump up^ The Complete Prestige Recordings
  11. Jump up^ “The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia: 1933”. The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
  12. Jump up^ History behind every AFl club theme song

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Lady To Love, A (1930)


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A Lady To Love (1930)

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A Lady to Love is a 1930 American drama film directed by Victor Sjöström and written by Sidney Howard. The film stars Vilma BánkyEdward G. RobinsonRobert AmesRichard Carle and Lloyd Ingraham. The film was released on February 28, 1930, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[1][2]

Plot

Tony, a prosperous Italian vineyardist in California, advertises for a young wife, passing off a photograph of his handsome hired man, Buck, as himself. Lena, a San Francisco waitress, takes up the offer, and though she is disillusioned upon discovering the truth, she goes through with the marriage because of her desire to have a home and partially because of her weakness for Buck, whose efforts to take her away from Tony confirm her love for her husband.

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Cast

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References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ “A Lady to Love (1930) – Overview – TCM.com”Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “A Lady To Love”TV Guide. Retrieved 11 November 2014.

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Mexicali Rose (1929)


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Mexicali Rose AKA The Girl From Mexico (1929)

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Director: Erle C Kenton

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Sam Hardy, William Janney, Louis Nathaneux, Arthur Rankin, Harry J Vejar, Louis King, Julia Bejerano, Frankie Genardi, Greta Granstedt, Dorothy Gulliver, Jerry Miley

60 min

 

Mexicali Rose is a 1929 American pre-Code romantic drama film directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Sam Hardy.[1]

A silent and sound version are preserved at the Library of Congress.[2]

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Plot

“Happy” Manning returns early from a trip to his Mexican casino, the Mina de Oro (Gold Mine), and to his wife Rose, unaware that she has been unfaithful to him with Joe, the croupier. Happy soon finds out and divorces Rose, but he keeps Joe, as Joe is too valuable an employee to lose.

Afterward, he goes to visit his younger brother and ward, Bob, who is the quarterback of his college football team in California. Bob introduces him to his fiancee Marie (an uncredited Dorothy Gulliver). Bob, believing Happy owns a gold mine, promises to spend his honeymoon there.

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When Bob does get married, he sends Happy a telegram that he is coming. Happy’s friend Ortiz offers to exchange his real gold mine for Happy’s casino temporarily. Happy is shocked when Bob introduces his wife: Rose. Happy later tries to buy Rose off, but she turns him down, claiming she genuinely loves Bob. Happy is uncertain if she is lying or not and decides to not tell Bob the truth.

However, it soon becomes clear that she has not changed. Happy blocks her secret late-night rendezvous with an admirer and confronts her. She claims that she loves Happy and that she married Bob to get back at him. She then tells him she is going home. The next day, her body is found at the bottom of a cliff.

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Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ Brennan, Sandra. “Mexicali Rose”AllMovie. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress page 115 c.1978 published by The American Film Institute

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Safety In Numbers (1930)


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Safety In Numbers (1930)

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Director: Victor Schertzinger

Cast: Charles Buddy Rogers, Kathryn Crawford, Josephine Dunn, Carole Lombard, Roscoe Karns, Richard Tucker, Francis McDonald, Raoul Paoli, Virginia Bruce, Tom London

80 min

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Safety in Numbers is a 1930 American Pre-Code musical comedy film. Directed by Victor Schertzinger, it stars Buddy Rogers, and features Kathryn CrawfordJosephine Dunn, and Carole Lombard (in one of her early roles).

Plot

William Butler Reynolds, a 20-year-old San Franciscan with a penchant for dancing and song-writing, is about to inherit a sizable fortune.

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His guardian uncle decides to send him to New York to be educated in the “ways of the world” by three lady friends–Jacqueline, Maxine, and Pauline, Follies girls, who agree not to vamp him though he falls for Jacqueline and is jealous of her admirer, Phil Kempton.

Bill’s inept attempt to promote a song with a producer results in the firing of all three girls; and when Jacqueline then resists his advances, he picks up Alma, a telephone operator, and becomes attentive to Cleo, a Follies vamp, but the girls save him from her wiles. Luckily, the producer accepts the song and rehires the girls; Jacqueline, realizing the sincerity of the boy’s love for her, embarks for Europe with Phil; but Phil realizes the appropriateness of the match and sees to it that the lovers are united.

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Cast

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Reception

The reviewer for the Motion Picture Herald wrote, “Here’s that rare combination of intelligent direction, brilliant dialogue, and rich humor. The result is a picture that is entertainment plus.” Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times was less enthusiastic, but praised the musical numbers.[1]

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References

  1. Jump up to:a b Ott, Frederick W. (1972). The Films of Carole Lombard. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press. pp. 75–77. ISBN 978-0806502786.

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Half Marriage (1929)


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Half Marriage (1929)

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Director: William J Cohen

Cast: Olive Borden, Morgan Farley, Ken Murray, Ann Greenway, Anderson Lawler, Sally Blane, Hedda Hopper, Richard Tucker, Randolph Scott

68 min

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Half Marriage is an American melodramatic Pre-Code film directed by William J. Cohen from a script by Jane Murfin, based on the short story of the same name by George Kibbe Turner.[4] The film starred Olive Borden and Morgan Farley, while the later-famed gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper played Borden’s mother.

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Plot

Judy Page is a young society girl who falls in love with an architect who works in her father’s architectural firm, Dick Carroll. She lives in Greenwich Village in New York City, and one night after a party at her apartment, she runs off with Dick to get married.

They are intercepted by Judy’s mother at the apartment, who, not realizing they have already been married, insists that Judy return with her to their estate in the country. Dick remains behind in Judy’s apartment.

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In the country, Judy is being courted by Tom Stribbling, who has insinuated himself to be close to Judy, at the expense of all other suitors. Dick learns that Judy’s parents are going to be away, and visits Judy at her parents’ estate.

He has words with Stribbling, after which he makes plans to meet with Judy in the coming days at her apartment. When Tom learns of the meeting, he sends a telegram to Dick, forging that it is from Judy, cancelling the rendezvous.

At the appointed time of the meeting, Stribbling shows up, instead of Dick. When Judy makes it clear she wants nothing to do with him, Stribbling attempts to force himself on her. In the ensuing struggle, Stribbling trips, falling out of Judy’s window to his death.

Just as Stribbling trips, Dick has arrived at the apartment, to witness his fall. Afraid that Judy will be blamed for Stribbling’s death, Dick takes the blame, but the truth comes out during the brief police investigation, and Judy is cleared of any wrongdoing. Also during the investigation it is revealed that Judy and Dick are already married, much to the astonishment of her parents. After their initial shock, they give their blessing to the couple.

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Cast

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Songs

  • “After the Clouds Roll By” – Sidney Clare and Oscar Levant — performed by Ann Greenway[5]
  • “You’re Marvelous” – Written by Sidney Clare and Oscar Levant Performed by Gus Arnheim and His Ambassadors, with Ken Murray[5]

Notes

The film was also released in the USA in a silent version (at 5883 feet) by Radio-Keith-Orpheum Corporation [RKO] in 1929.[3]

References

  1. “Half Marriage: Full Credits”. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Half Marriage: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d “Half Marriage”. Silent Era. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ “Half Marriage: Screenplay Info”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Half Marriage: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved April 2, 2014.

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Borrowed Wives (1930)


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Borrowed Wives (1930)

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Director:  Frank R Strayer

Cast: Rex Lease, Vera Reynolds, Nita Martan, Paul Hurst, Robert Livingston, Charles Sellon, Dorothea Wolbert, Sam Hardy, Harry Todd, Tom London

62 min

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Borrowed Wives is a 1930 American Pre-Code film directed by Frank R. Strayer.

Plot summary

Peter Foley (Rex Lease) is a beneficiary of his grandfather, who leaves him $800,000 in his will. The condition for Peter getting the money is that he gets married. Peter is very interested in getting the money, especially since he has debts, and plans to marry Alice Blake (Vera Reynolds) as soon as she arrives from Kansas City.

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He plans to take her to his Uncle Henry’s (Charles Sellon) home before midnight to actually get the inheritance. The uncle needs to see the girl whom Peter is about to marry before he releases the money.

Alice’s airplane is delayed, though. The man to whom Peter is in debt, Parker (Sam Hardy), insists that his own girl friend, Julia (Nita Martan), pose as Peter’s wife in the meantime. Alice is informed by Joe Blair (Robert Livingston), a man who is secretly interested in marrying Alice himself, that Peter is actually married to Julia. Alice agrees to marry Joe if this is true.

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Peter and Julia are pursued by Bull (Paul Hurst), a motorcycle policeman who loves Julia. Further complications arise at Uncle Henry’s, when Lawyer Winstead (Harry Todd), who is found bound and gagged, agrees to marry them. The uncle, revealed to be posing as a paralytic, is exposed as a villain, but Peter and Alice are ultimately married before the last hour appointed in the will.[1]

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Cast

  • Borrowed Wives 9

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Racketeer, The (1929)


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Racketeer, The (1929)

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Director: Howard Higgin

Cast: Robert Armstrong, Carole Lombard, Roland Drew, Paul Hurst, Kit Guard, Al Hill, Hedda Hopper, John Loder, Jeanette Loff, Winter Hall, Winifred Harris, Robert Parrish

68 min

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The Racketeer is a 1929 American Pre-Code drama film. Directed by Howard Higgin, the film is also known as Love’s Conquest in the United Kingdom.

It tells the tale of some members of the criminal class in 1920s America, and in particular one man and one woman’s attempts to help him. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper appears in a minor role. The film is one of the early talkies, and as a result, dialogue is very sparse.

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Plot

New York City gangster Mahlon Keene (Robert Armstrong) melts when he meets down-on-her-luck beauty Rhoda (Carole Lombard), a society gal who’s in desperate need of dough to support herself and her boyfriend, Tony (Roland Drew), a brilliant violinist with a serious drinking problem.

Mahlon pulls some strings to help Tony get back on top; in return, Rhoda is to dump the musician and marry the mobster.

The already heated situation is further complicated when the cops decide to crack down on Mahlon.

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Cast

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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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Cast

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References

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

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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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Plot

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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Cast

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References

  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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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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Cast

uncredited

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References

 

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Night World (1932)


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Night World (1932)

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Director: Hobart Henley

Cast: Lew Ayres, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, Dorothy Revier, Russell Hopton, Hedda Hopper, Clarence Ruse, Bert Roach, George Raft, Arleta Duncan, Jack La Rue

58 min 

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Night World is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film featuring Lew Ayres, Mae Clarke, and Boris Karloff.[1] The supporting cast includes George Raft and Hedda Hopper (before she became a noted gossip columnist).

The movie was directed by Hobart Henley and features an early Busby Berkeley music number, “Who’s Your Little Who-Zis”.[2] Although Karloff is a villain, he plays a charming man, quite unlike most of the parts he was allowed to play at the time.

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Contents

1 – Plot

2 – Cast

3 – See also

4 – References

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Plot

On a cold winter’s night outside Happy’s Nightclub, Irish-American police officer Ryan (Robert Emmett O’Connor) chats with African-American doorman Tim Washington (Clarence Muse), who is worried about his critically ill wife.

Inside, club owner Happy (Boris Karloff) is arguing with his shrewish but glamorous wife Jill (Dorothy Revier) and welcoming frequent customers Ed Powell (George Raft), a crooked gambler, and Michael Rand (Lew Ayres). Rand is a wealthy college boy who watched his mother kill his father after catching him with another woman, a case widely covered by the tabloids. Rand is now drinking heavily to deaden his pain.

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Backstage, gambler Powell asks chorus girl Ruth Taylor (Mae Clarke) for a date and, after losing an impromptu bet, she agrees to go out with him. After the floor show, all the chorus girls are asked to stay late by their cruel dance master, Klauss (Russell Hopton), who is secretly having an affair with Happy’s wife Jill.

Edith Blair (Dorothy Petersen) spots a drunken Michael sitting alone at a table. Edith was the ‘other woman’ in the murder of Michael’s father. She tell Michael that she and his father were only good friends, and that his father loved him deeply.

She also tells Michael that his killer mother never loved his father, and cursed him as he was dying. An upset Michael creates an outburst and overturns a table at the nightclub. He passes out after being punched, and is taken to the back room of the club where Ruth cares for him.

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Happy leaves to discuss bootleg liquor purchases with another gangster, Jim. (Huntley Gordon.) As he exits, doorman Tim asks if he can leave early to visit is ailing wife, but Happy refuses.

When Michael wakes up from his liquor-related nap, he and Ruth have a warm chat. Gambler Powell interrupts them and insists Ruth to come to his apartment immediately. Michael punches Powell and Tim takes the fallen gambler out to a taxi. Suddenly, Michael’s mother (Hedda Hopper) arrives at the nightclub. Michael confronts her about the way she treated his father.

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The late-night dance rehearsal continues, but Klauss calls a break so he can spend more time with Jill. Happy returns, and Tim asks again if he can go see his wife in the hospital. Happy refuses. Happy catches Jill and Klauss together, and Klauss leaves in disgrace. Happy tells Jill that he will not divorce her, but remain married to her and do his best to make her miserable.

Michael and Ruth sit down for a meal together. Michael asks Ruth if she would be interested in running away to Bali with him, as his wife, even though they have only known each other for a few hours.

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Their happy moment is interrupted by Tim, who has just learned that his wife is dead. As he leaves the club to finally go to her bedside, he is fatally shot by gangster Jim and a comrade, who have come for Happy. They shoot Happy and then his wife Jill. When they turn their guns towards Michael and Ruth, they are suddenly shot dead by the returning police officer Ryan. Michael and Ruth get into the police wagon together, and Ruth agrees to go Bali with Michael.

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Cast

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See also

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References

  1. Jump up^ Night World, imdb.com; accessed August 9, 2015.
  2. Jump up^ Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 26

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