Tag Archives: pre code

Discarded Lovers (1933)


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Discarded Lovers (1932)

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Discarded Lovers is a 1932 American Pre-Code mystery film directed by Fred C. Newmeyer.

Plot summary

Discarded Lovers is a murder mystery. Early in the film a blonde bombshell movie star is murdered and her body is found in a car.

She had just finished doing the last and final scenes in a film. Irma Gladden was a sexy blonde bombshell who was having many tangled romantic affairs. She was loose and easy. In solving the murder there are the usual friends, police, reporters and employees who administer their help to the police captain and the police sergeant.

In this whodunit suspects abound and include Irma’s husband, a jealous wife, a boy friend and an ex-husband.

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Cast

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Once in A Lifetime (1932)


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Once In A Lifetime (1932)

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Director: Russell Mack

Cast: Jack Oakie, Sidney Fox, Aline MacMahon, Russell Hopton, Louise Fazenda, Zasu Pitts, Gregory Ratoff, Jobyna Howland, Onslow Stevens, Gregory Gaye, Frank LaRue, Walter Brennan, Alan Ladd

91 min

Once in a Lifetime is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy film based on Once in a Lifetime by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.[1] The film was produced and distributed by Universal Pictures, directed by Russell Mack and stars Jack OakieSidney Fox and Aline MacMahon.[2]

It is preserved at the Library of Congress.[3]

Plot

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The immense success of The Jazz Singer, the first all-talking picture, results in the cancellation of a booking for three song-and-dance vaudeville performers: Jerry Hyland, May Daniels and George Lewis. Jerry, convinced that talkies are the future, decides they will head to Hollywood to break into the fledgling movie industry before others get the same notion.

May comes up with the idea to open a school of elocution to teach actors how to speak on film. On the train there, May encounters an old friend, Helen Hobart, an influential, nationally syndicated columnist. She offers to put them in touch with Herman Glogauer, the head of a major movie studio. George is smitten with another passenger, aspiring young actress Susan Walker.

They discover the movie world to be an eccentric place. George is unexpectedly appointed by Glogauer as supervisor of production, allowing him to promote Susan’s career. Despite his incompetence (or rather because of it), his first picture turns out to be a critical and commercial smash hit, and Susan becomes a star.

Later, a very persuasive salesman gets George to buy 2000 airplanes, which causes Glogauer to fire him. However, air movies become very popular, and George has inadvertently cornered the market. The other studios are desperate to get airplanes from Glogauer at any price, and George is once again considered a genius.

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Cast

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Reception

Mordaunt Hall, film critic of The New York Times, gave the film a favorable review, calling it a “merry diversion”.[1] He praised all the main performers, as well as ZaSu Pitts as the studio’s obtuse receptionist.[1]

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c Mordaunt Hall (October 29, 1932). “Jack Oakie, Aline MacMahon and Others in a Film of the Hart-Kaufman Satire on Hollywood.”The New York Times.
  2. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 by The American Film Institute, c.1993
  3. Jump up^ Catalog of Feature Films The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress by The American Film Institute, c.1978

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Big News (1929)


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Big News (1929)

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Director: Gregory La Cava

Cast: Robert Armstrong, Carole Lombard, Louis Payne, Wade Boteler, Charles Sellon, Sam Hardy, Tom Kennedy, Warner Richmond,  Helen Ainsworth, Herbert Clark, George Gabby Hayes, Vernon Steele, Lew Ayres, Lynton Brent

75 min

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Big News is a 1929 American pre-Code film directed by Gregory La Cava, released by Pathé Exchange, and starring Robert Armstrong and Carole Lombard, billed as “Carol Lombard”.

Cast

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Plot

Steve Banks (Armstrong) is a hard-drinking newspaper reporter. His wife Margaret (Lombard), a reporter for a rival paper, threatens to divorce him if he doesn’t quit the drinking that is compromising his career. Steve pursues a story about drug dealers even when his editor fires him. When the editor is murdered, Steve is accused of the killing.

Preservation status

The film exists in a 16mm reduction print.[1]

References

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High Voltage (1929)


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High Voltage (1929)

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Director: Howard Higgin

Cast: Carole Lombard, William Boyd, Diane Ellis, Owen Moore, Phillips Smalley, Billy Bevan

63 min

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High Voltage (1929) is an American pre-Code film produced by Pathé Exchange and directed by Howard Higgin.[1][2]The film stars William BoydDiane EllisOwen MoorePhillips SmalleyBilly Bevan, and Carole Lombard in her feature-length “talkie” debut, billed as “Carol Lombard.”

This film is in the public domain.[3]

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Plot

The film begins with a bus driving along a snow-covered roadway in the Sierra Nevada between Nevada City, California, and Reno, Nevada.[4][5] Soon the vehicle gets hopelessly stuck in deep snow forty miles from the nearest town.

Needing shelter, the driver “Gus” (Billy Bevan) and his four passengers find refuge in an isolated one-room log church. The passengers include “Billie” (Carole Lombard), who is an escaped criminal being escorted back to jail in New York by a deputy sheriff, “Dan Egan” (Owen Moore); a young woman, “The Kid,” (Diane Ellis) on her way to Chicago to meet her boyfriend; and “Hickerson,” a pompous, ill-tempered banker. In the church the group finds “Bill” (William Boyd), a self-described “hobo,” who had found shelter there earlier. Tensions quickly arise in the group over their general plight, petty jealousies, and concerns about how six people are going to share the small supply of food that Bill had brought with him.

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Tensions quickly arise in the group over their general plight, petty jealousies, and concerns about how six people are going to share the small supply of food that Bill had brought with him.

After a few days being stranded, the group sees a passing mail plane high in the sky. They try to attract the pilot’s attention, but he is too far away to see them. More days pass, and the group continues to ration their dwindling supplies and battle the subfreezing temperatures. To keep warm they begin to break up the church’s pews and other furnishings to use as firewood in the room’s potbelly stove.

The group’s desperation intensifies, as does a romance between Bill and Billie. Soon Bill confides to her that he too is a wanted criminal, a fugitive from Saint Paul, Minnesota. As conditions worsen, The Kid collapses from hunger and become delirious; and the church’s interior becomes almost bare as more furnishings–even the church’s pulpit and pump organ–are consigned to the stove. Bill and Billie finally commit to leaving to avoid being imprisoned if the group is somehow rescued. They quietly depart during the night, hoping to reach a ranger station ten miles away.

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Everyone else is sleeping except Dan, the deputy sheriff, who sees the two leaving; but he does nothing to stop them. After walking a short distance through snowdrifts, Bill and Billie hear and then see a search plane slowly circling overhead at low altitude. Realizing that the others inside the church will not hear the plane’s engine, they rush back and awaken them. The group hurriedly builds a signal fire, which the plane’s pilot sees. He parachutes a box of provisions to them with a note saying that help will be sent immediately.

The next day the group sees a rescue party heading toward the church. While awaiting their rescuers, Dan observes Bill and Billie sitting together on the floor. From his coat pocket Dan pulls out Billie’s extradition papers and a “wanted” notice that includes a photograph of Bill and information about his being a fugitive from Saint Paul. Dan walks over to the stove, now cold from no fires, and tosses both papers into it. Bill and Billie see him discard the papers, and they look at one another. Bill then gets up, retrieves the papers from the stove, gives them back to Dan, and asks him to drop him off in Saint Paul on his way back to New York with Billie.

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Cast

William Boyd as “The Boy” (Bill)

“Carol” Lombard as “The Girl” (Billie Davis)

Owen Moore as “The Detective” (Dan Egan)

Phillips Smalley as “The Banker” (J. Milton Hendrickson)

Billy Bevan as “The Driver” (Gus)

Diane Ellis as “The Kid”

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Cast notes

  • The opening credits of High Voltage give Carole Lombard’s first name as “Carol,” her preferred spelling for her name up until that time. However, the year after the release of High Voltage she performed in Paramount Pictures‘ production Fast and Loose. In her credits for that film, the studio mistakenly added an “e” to Carol. Lombard liked the spelling, so she decided to keep “Carole” permanently as her screen name.[6]
  • In the screen credits of High Voltage, Owen Moore’s character “Dan Egan” is identified as “The Detective”; but early in the film Dan shows Bill his badge, which actually identifies him as a New York deputy sheriff.[8]
  • Diane Ellis, who portrays “The Kid” in High Voltage, would die tragically the year after her performance in this film. In October 1930, she married Stephen C. Millett, a fellow American, in Paris, France. While on their extended honeymoon in India, she contracted an infection and died a week later in Chennai (then Madras) on December 15, 1930, just five days before her twenty-first birthday.[9][10]

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References

  1. Jump up^ “High Voltage”The New York Times.
  2. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: High Voltage
  3. Jump up^ High Voltage, “Free Public Domain Movies” listing; May 23, 2008. iMovies. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  4. Jump up^ Several full 63-minute copies of High Voltage are available for viewing on YouTube.
  5. Jump up^ In the opening minutes of the film, the exterior signage and route destinations displayed on the bus identify the storyline’s setting as the Sierra Nevada.
  6. Jump up^ Gehring, Wes D. (2003). Carole Lombard: The Hoosier Tornado. Indianapolis, Indiana Historical Society Press, 78-79. ISBN 978-0-87195-167-0.
  7. Jump up^ “William Boyd,”, Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  8. Jump up^ The full 63-minute film High Voltage is available for viewing on YouTube.
  9. Jump up^ “Diane Ellis,” IMDb. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  10. Jump up^ “Diane Ellis,” Redirectify. Retrieved March 10, 2017.

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Little Cafe, The (1930)


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Little Cafe, The (1930)

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The Little Cafe (French:Le petit café) is a 1931 French-language American Pre-Code musical film directed by Ludwig Berger and starring Maurice ChevalierYvonne Vallée and Tania Fédor. The film is a foreign-language version of the 1930 film Playboy of Paris, which was based on the play The Little Cafe by Tristan Bernard. Multiple-language versions were common in the years following the introduction of sound film, before the practice of dubbing became widespread.

The film received a better reception from critics than the English-language version had.[1]

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Synopsis

Albert Loriflan, a waiter in a Paris cafe, unexpectedly inherits a large sum of money from a wealthy relative. His unscrupulous boss, Philibert, refuses to release him from his long-term contract in the hope that Albert will buy him off with a large payment. But Albert refuses, and continues to work at the cafe even though he is now very rich. Before long he falls in love with Philibert’s daughter Yvonne.

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Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ Bradley p.119

Bibliography

  • Bradley, Edwin M. The First Hollywood Musicals: A Critical Filmography Of 171 Features, 1927 Through 1932. McFarland, 2004.

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Four Frightened People (1934)


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Four Frightened People (1934)

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Director: Cecil B DeMille

Cast: Claudette Colbert, Herbert Marshall, Mary Boland, William Gargan, Leo Carillo, Nella Walker, Tetsu Komai, Delmar Costello

78 min

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Four Frightened People is a 1934 American Pre-Code adventure film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Claudette ColbertHerbert MarshallMary Boland, and William Gargan. It is based on the novel by E. Arnot Robertson.

Plot

The film tells the story of two men (Marshall and Gargan) and two women (Colbert and Boland), who leave from a plague-ridden ship and reach the Malayan jungle. The relationships between the four people before they enter the jungle are examined and are transformed as they interact with natural phenomena and the natives who populate the jungle. The film also relates how each of the four people carried on in life after they emerged from the jungle.

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Cast

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Filming locations

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Production crew

  • Executive producer (uncredited) – Emanuel Cohen
  • Art Direction – Roland Anderson
  • Production Manager (uncredited) – Roy Burns
  • Assistant Director (uncredited) – Cullen Tate, James Dugan
  • Sound Mixer (uncredited) – Harry Lindgren
  • Double (uncredited) – Mildred Mernie as Claudette Colbert, Bruce Warren as Herbert Marshall, Leota Lorraine as Mary Boland, Carl Mudge as William Gargan, Curley Dresden as Leo Carrillo

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Reception

The film was a box office disappointment for Paramount.[1]

Home Video Release

This film, along with The Sign of the CrossCleopatraThe Crusades and Union Pacific, was released on DVD in 2006 by Universal Studios as part of The Cecil B. DeMille Collection.

References

  1. Jump up^ By, D. W. (1934, Nov 25). TAKING A LOOK AT THE RECORD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/101193306?accountid=13902

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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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Plot

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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Cast

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Production

Screenplay

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]

Filming

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

Soundtrack

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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Remakes

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

See also

References[edit]

  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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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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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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Plot

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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Cast

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References

  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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White Woman 8

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White Woman 14

White Woman 7

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Lena Rivers (1932)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Lena Rivers AKA The Sin Of Lena Rivers (1932)

Lena Rivers 1

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

Lena Rivers 2 

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]

Plot

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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Cast

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References

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

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Lena Rivers 3

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Topaze (1933)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Topaze (1933)

Topaze 1

Director: Harry D’Abbadie D’Arrast

Cast: John Barrymore, Myrna Loy, Reginald Mason, Jobyna Howland, Jackie Searl, Albert Conti, Frank Reicher, Luis Alberini, Lowden Adams

78 min

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Topaze is a 1933 American Pre-Code film based on the French play of the same name by Marcel Pagnol. Another film version of Topaze, this one made in the original French was also released that year, starring Louis Jouvet in the title role. Subsequently Pagnol himself directed a 1936 adaptation.

Plot

Prof. Auguste A. Topaze (John Barrymore), an honest, naive chemist and schoolteacher at the –  Stegg Academy in Paris, loses his job when he refuses to accede to a demand by the Baroness de La Tour-La Tour to alter the grades of her bratty son, Charlemagne.

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On the same day, Friday the 13th, Topaze calls on the Baron de La Tour-La Tour’s mistress, Coco (Myrna Loy), who is looking for a tutor for her sister’s son, Alphonse, and had gotten Topaze’s name from La Tour. Upon meeting and listening to the sincere remarks of Topaze, the baron, head of the La Tour Chemical Works, decides to employ him as a scientific front for his phony curative water.

After an encounter at a cafe, where the Baron narrowly avoids a scene with his wife by calling Coco “Madame Topaze”, Coco reveals the true nature of her relation to the Baron to the naive Professor. When they arrive late back to Coco’s apartment, the Baron is jealous, but soon realizes Topaze is entirely innocent.

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Unaware that the water, “Sparkling Topaze,” which is being sold all over Paris, does not contain the medicinal formula he invented for it, Topaze is shocked when Dr. Bomb (who had turned down the “honor” of having the fradulent water named for him) shows up, demanding 100,000 francs from the Baron or he will expose the fradulent product. But the Baron blackmails him in return with information about his previous identity, and Bomb is dragged out.

After confirming for himself, in the lab and in a local restaurant, that “Sparkling Topaze” is in fact phony, a dazed Topaze returns to Coco’s apartment the next morning, where Coco fusses over him. At first, he is ready to be arrested, but the men who are shown in are instead a delegation from the Bureau of Awards and Merits, who award him the Academic Palms. All are friends and business associates of the Baron, and the scales begin to fall from Professor Topaze’s eyes.

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His naivete thoroughly destroyed, declaring “Topaze lies dead in an alley”, Topaze decides to fight back by becoming more corrupt than his mentors. He remakes his image and, with Bomb as his assistant, he opens his own office, where he makes dignitaries wait to see him. One is Dr. Stegg, who now wants Topaze to preside at the graduation at the school. Topaze succeeds in blackmailing the Baron into a partnership in his company with a complete account of his relationship with Coco, which he threatens to show to the Baroness, whose name the shares in the company are in.

At the Stegg Academy graduation, Topaze, who has also garnered the romantic attention of Coco, is to distribute the prize, which he is told is to go to his former nemesis, Charlemagne de La Tour-La Tour. He gives a little speech about his experiences in the great world, that honesty isn’t always rewarded and that villainy often receives more applause than virtue. Declaring that he will not reward wrongdoers, he shows up Charlemagne’s ignorance relative to all his classmates, then awards the prize to them instead.

He is last seen escorting Coco into the cinema.

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Cast

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Reception

Topaze won the 1933 National Board of Review Award for Best Film.

Mordaunt Hall said “[I]t is an agreeable and effective film, and Mr. Barrymore lends no little artistry to the rôle of the benign Professor Auguste Topaze, a part played with rare skill on the stage by Frank Morgan.”[1]

In 1935, a planned reissue was rejected by Joseph Breen as the Production Code was now being strictly enforced and the relationship between Coco and Philippe lacked compensating moral values.[2]

 

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References

  1. Jump up^ New York Times review by Mordaunt Hall
  2. Jump up^ The Dame in the Kimono by Leonard Leff and Jerold Simmons (Weidenfeld and Nicolson: 1990)

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Topaze 10

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Borrowed Wives (1930)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Borrowed Wives (1930)

Borrowed Wives 1

Borrowed Wives 2

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

Borrowed Wives 3

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

Borrowed Wives 10

Borrowed Wives 11

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Trouble in Paradise (1932)


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Trouble in Paradise (1931)

Trouble in Paradise  1.jpg

Trouble in Paradise 2

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Cast: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall, Charles Ruggles, Edward Everett Horton, C Aubrey Smith, Robert Greig, Luis Alberini

83 min

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Kay Francis & Miriam Hopkins-The Trouble in Paradise 1932

Trouble in Paradise is a 1932 American Pre-Code romantic comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Miriam HopkinsKay Francis, and Herbert Marshall and featuring Charles Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton.

Based on the 1931 play The Honest Finder (A Becsületes Megtaláló) by Hungarian playwright László Aladár,[2] the film is about a gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket who join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner.

In 1991, Trouble in Paradise was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.[3]

Trouble in Paradise 4

Plot

In Venice, Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall), a master thief masquerading as a baron, meets Lily (Miriam Hopkins), a beautiful thief and pickpocket also pretending to be of the nobility, and the two fall in love and decide to team up.

They leave Venice for Paris, and go to work for the famous perfume manufacturer Madame Mariette Colet (Kay Francis), with the intention of stealing a great sum of money from her safe, which Monescu, as her secretary, arranges to be diverted there. In the course of things, Colet begins to flirt with Monescu, and he begins to have feelings for her.

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Unfortunately, the plan develops a hitch when François Filiba (Edward Everett Horton), one of Colet’s suitors, sees Monescu at a garden party. He is unable to remember where he knows him from, but when another of Colet’s suitors, The Major (Charles Ruggles), tells Filiba that he once mistook Monescu for a doctor, Filiba suddenly remembers that he knows Monescu from Venice, where the thief robbed him, pretending to be a doctor. Monescu and Lily plan an immediate getaway that night, after they take all the money in the safe.

Colet prepares to leave for a dinner party given by the Major, but cannot decide whether to go or to stay and have sex with Monescu. Eventually she goes, but not before Lily catches on that Monescu has fallen for her rival, and wants to back out of the plan – so she robs the safe herself after confronting her partner.

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At the Major’s, Filiba tells Colet about Monescu, but she refuses to believe it’s true. She returns home and suggestively probes Monescu, who admits that the safe has been cleaned out, but claims that he himself took the cash. He also tells her that the manager of her business, Adolph J. Giron (C. Aubrey Smith), who has been suspicious of Monescu all along, has stolen millions of dollars from the firm over the years.

Lily then confronts Colet and Monescu, reporting that it was she who stole the money from the safe. An argument ensues, in which, eventually, Colet allows the two thieves to leave together. As a parting shot, Monescu steals a necklace from Colet that Lily had her eye on, and, in turn, Lily steals it from him, displaying it to him as the taxi takes them away, hugging each other.

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Cast

Trouble in Paradise 9

Production

Working titles for Trouble in Paradise included “The Honest Finder,” “Thieves and Lovers,” and “The Golden Widow”; the latter was publicly announced to be the intended release title.[4] As with all the Lubitsch-Raphaelson collaborations, Lubitsch contributed to the writing and Raphaelson contributed ideas to the directing.[5]

Lubitsch did not receive screen credit for his writing, and Grover Jones, who was credited with the adaptation, did not contribute significantly:[5] although he was in the room, his credit was based on a contractual obligation, and he did little more than tell stories.[5][6]

Further, although supposedly based on László Aladár’s 1931 play The Honest Finder, Lubitsch suggested that Raphaelson not read the play, and instead the main character, Herbert Marshall’s master thief, was based on the exploits of a real person, George Manolescu, a Romanian con man whose memoir was published in 1905, and became the basis for two silent films.[5]

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Made before effective enforcement of the Production Code, the film is an example of pre-code cinema containing adult themes and sexual innuendo that was not permitted under the Code. In 1935, when the Production Code was being enforced, the film was not approved for reissue[4] and was not seen again until 1968.[7]Paramount was again rejected in 1943, when the studio wanted to make a musical version of the film.[4]

The Art Deco sets for Trouble in Paradise were designed by the head of Paramount’s art department, Hans Dreier, and the gowns were designed by Travis Banton.[5]

Trouble in Paradise 11

Reception

Trouble in Paradise was the film that first had people talking about “the Lubitsch touch,” and it was, in fact, one of the director’s favorites.[5] Critic Dwight Macdonaldsaid of the film that it was “as close to perfection as anything I have ever seen in the movies.”[5]

The New York Times named the film as one of the ten best films of 1932. In 1998, Roger Ebert added it to his Great Movies collection.[8] Wes Anderson and Ralph Fiennes both said the movie was an inspiration for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes reports 91% approval based on 23 critics.[9]

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Awards and honors

Trouble in Paradise was named by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 1932.[3][10]

References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Trouble in Paradise” at Kay Francis Films. Accessed 16 March 2014
  2. Jump up^ “Screenplay info” on TCM.com. Accessed=August 24, 2012
  3. Jump up to:a b “Awards”Allmovie.com. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  4. Jump up to:a b c “Notes”TCM.com. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f g Nixon, Rob. “Trouble in Paradise (article)”TCM.com. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  6. Jump up^ Raphaelson, Samson. Three Screen Comedies Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983. ISBN 0-299-08780-8
  7. Jump up^ Osborne, Robert. Outro to the Turner Classic Movies showing of Trouble in Paradise (March 31, 2011)
  8. Jump up^ Ebert, Roger“Trouble in Paradise”. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  9. Jump up^ Trouble in Paradise (1932)”. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  10. Jump up^ “Awards”Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 24, 2012.

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Trouble in Paradise 21

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Tangled Destinies (1932)


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Tangled Destinies AKA Who Killed Harry Forbes? (1932)

Tangled Destinies 2

Director: Frank R Strayer

Cast: Gene Morgan, Doris Hill, Glen Tryon, Vera Reynolds, Ethel Wales, Moanei Lindley, Syd Saylor, Sidney Bracey

Tangled Destinies 1 

Tangled Destinies is a 1932 American film directed by Frank R. Strayer.

The film is also known as Who Killed Harvey Forbes? in the United Kingdom.

Plot summary

When a transcontinental airplane is forced to land in the desert in a thick fog, the crew and ten passengers find refuge in a deserted house, where they start up an electric generator and turn on the lights.

After the lights go out unexpectedly, one of the passengers is killed. Another passenger, a detective, claims he was guarding the deceased, who was carrying valuable diamonds, which are then discovered to be paste. Later, another person is murdered. Eventually, the murderer is found in the guise of a clergyman.

Tangled Destinies 3

Cast

Tangled Destinies 6

Tangled Destinies 7

Tangled Destinies 4

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Money Means Nothing (1934)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Money Means Nothing (1934)

Money Means Nothing 1

Director: Christy Cabanne

Cast: Wallace Ford, Edgar Kennedy, Gloria Shea, Vivien Oakland, Maidel Turner, Betty Blythe, Eddie Tamblyn, Richard Tucker, Tenen Holtz, Ann Brody

70 min

Money Means Nothing 2

Plot

When Julie Ferris, a wealthy young woman searching for excitement, goes slumming at Joe’s Roadside Inn, she notices a group of shady men and follows them in her car. After trailing them for a distance, Julie crashes into their car as they are hijacking two trucks carrying tires. In the ensuing scuffle, the thieves shoot one of the trucks’ drivers, Red Miller, and threaten Julie. Ken McKay, the other driver, protects and rescues Julie, and she immediately falls in love with him. Although her sister Helen and rich brother-in-law George disapprove, Julie marries Ken and moves to Brooklyn.

While determined to make the marriage work, Julie is nonetheless unprepared for her new neighbors, the boorish, nosy Greens. After the Greens crash Julie’s birthday dinner, Herbert Green, who is Ken’s boss at the auto parts store, is told by his overbearing wife that Julie’s snobbish family insulted him. As revenge, Herbert lies to his district manager that Ken has been tipping off the still active hijackers.

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Fired, Ken has no luck in finding another job and contemplates making the now pregnant but devoted Julie return to her family when Red Miller, who has opened his own tire store, hires him. In cahoots with the hijackers, Red forces an unsuspecting Ken to help him steal more tire shipments, but Herbert, on a tip from Julie, figures out the plan and calls the police. In the end, the thieves are caught, and a repentant Herbert promises Ken a new job. Thus saved, the newlyweds reaffirm their belief that money means nothing.

Money Means Nothing 4

Cast 

Wallace Ford Wallace Ford
Gloria Shea Gloria Shea
Julie Ferris McKay
Edgar Kennedy Edgar Kennedy
Herbert Green
Vivien Oakland Vivien Oakland
Helen Whitney (as Vivian Oakland)
Maidel Turner Maidel Turner
Mrs. Kerry Green
Betty Blythe Betty Blythe
Mrs. Ferris
Eddie Tamblyn Eddie Tamblyn
Robert ‘Robby’ Ferris (as Edward Tamblyn)
Richard Tucker Richard Tucker
George Whitney
Tenen Holtz Tenen Holtz
Mr. Silverman
Ann Brody Ann Brody
Mrs. Silverman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Irving Bacon Irving Bacon
Navy Secretary (scenes deleted)
Ernie Adams Ernie Adams
Lead Hijacker (uncredited)
Sam Flint Sam Flint
Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Douglas Fowley Douglas Fowley
Red Miller (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten Olaf Hytten
Parsons – the Butler (uncredited)
Jack Kenney Jack Kenney
Hijacker-Driver (uncredited)
Jack Norton Jack Norton
Jack – Hijacker (uncredited)
Lee Phelps Lee Phelps
Chauffeur (uncredited)
Harry Semels Harry Semels
Toy Vendor (uncredited)
Bert Young Bert Young
Jim – Driver Shot in Leg (uncredited)

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Phantom Broadcast, The (1933)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

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

Phantom Broadcast The 4

Plot

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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Cast

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
Nancy
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
Lefty
Mary MacLaren Mary MacLaren
Beth
George Nash George Nash
Artist
Althea Henley Althea Henley
Model
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)

Phantom Broadcast The 9

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X Marks The Spot (1931)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

X Marks The Spot (1931)

X Marks the Spot 1

X Marks the Spot 9

Director: Erle C Kenton

Cast: Lew Cody, Sally Blane, Wallace Ford, Mary Nolan, Fred Kohler, Charles Middleton, Virginial Lee Corbin, Joyce Coad, Richard Tucker, Hank Mann, Helen Parrish

72 minutes

X Marks the Spot 7

X Marks the Spot is a 1931 American pre-Code crime drama film, directed by Erle C. Kenton and released by Tiffany Pictures, which operated from 1921 to 1932.

The story concerns a newspaper reporter indebted to a gangster for raising the money to save his little girl’s life. The source material was remade into a 1942 film of the same name. Helen Parrish appeared in both versions.

Plot

Ted Lloyd, a reporter for a small-town newspaper, follows an ambulance to the scene of an accident where he discovers that his young sister Gloria is the victim. Gloria’s doctor tells Ted that if she is ever to walk again, Ted must find the money to send her to Germany for an operation.

Ted asks all his friends, including his editor George Howard, for help, but although they are sympathetic, none has the necessary money. Desperately, Ted approaches Riggs, a local gangster. At first, Riggs flatly refuses to make the loan. Ted then offers to exchange secret information about the District Attorney for the money. Riggs angrily denounces Ted as an informer, then unexpectedly decides to give him the money for the operation. Ted promises never to forget Riggs’ kindness.

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Eight years later, George has become the editor of the New York Gazette and Ted works as the Broadway gossip columnist. When Ted writes an item about showgirl Vivyan Parker, implying that she is being kept by a wealthy man, she sues the paper for libel. Eager to avoid the suit, George sends Ted to Vivyan’s apartment to obtain a release. Ted sneaks into her apartment with the help of the doorman, but Vivyan refuses to sign the release and orders him out of her apartment. When she is later found murdered, Ted is the primary suspect.

In order to clear his name, Ted, who believes that robbery was the motive for Vivyan’s murder, obtains a list of her jewelry from her lover, E. T. Barnes. He contacts several fences and, with the help of one of them, discovers that the murderer is Riggs. Remembering that Riggs once did him a favor, Ted does not reveal his name, but George, suspecting that Ted knows who committed the murder, follows him to his meeting with Riggs and Riggs is arrested.

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Believing that Ted betrayed him, Riggs swears vengeance. During the trial, one of Riggs’ cronies tapes a gun beneath the table where Riggs waits for sentencing. When a guilty verdict is returned, Riggs uses the gun to shoot a guard and abduct one of the jurors. Riggs holds the man hostage, insisting that he will release him in exchange for Ted. Ted agrees, entering the room where Riggs waits at the same time the police release a smoke bomb. In the following gun battle, Riggs is killed and Ted is wounded. While Ted is in the hospital, George takes over his column. His final effort announces Ted’s engagement to his secretary, Sue.

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Cast

X Marks the Spot 3

X Marks the Spot 8

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Vampire Bat, The (1933)


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The Vampire Bat (1933)

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The Vampire Bat is a 1933 American pre-Code horror film starring Lionel AtwillFay WrayMelvyn Douglas, and Dwight Frye.

Plot outline

When the villagers of Kleinschloss start dying of blood loss, the town fathers suspect a resurgence of vampirism, but police inspector Karl Breettschneider remains skeptical. Scientist Dr. Otto von Niemann, who cares for the victims, visits a patient who was attacked by a bat, Martha Mueller.

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Martha is visited by a mentally challenged man named Herman, who claims he likes bats because they are “soft like cat” and “nice”. On the doctor’s journey home, he meets Kringen, one of the townsfolk, who claims to have been attacked by the vampire in the form of a bat, but withheld his story from the town to not spread fear. Dr. von Niemann encourages Kringen to tell the townsfolk of his story.

Kringen becomes suspicious that Herman Glieb may be the vampire due to his obsession with bats. Herman lives with bats and collects them off the street.

Dr. von Niemann returns to his home, which also houses Breettschneider’s love Ruth Bertin, Ruth’s hypochondriac aunt Gussie Schnappmann, and servants Emil Borst and Gorgiana. Fear of the vampire and suspicion of Glieb quickly spread around the town, and people start fearing him.

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Ms Mueller is killed that night. The analyses of Dr. von Niemann and another doctor, Dr. Haupt, conclude that the death is the same as all of the previous deaths – blood loss, with two punctures in the neck caused by needle-sharp teeth. Gleib enters the examination, and upon seeing the dead body, runs away screaming.

Next morning, Glieb enters Dr. von Niemann’s garden, where Dr. von Niemann, Breettschneider, and Bertin are discussing vampires inside the house. The town fathers enter the house and announce that Kringen is dead and Gleib is missing. An angry mob hunts down Gleib and chases him through the countryside and into a cave, where he falls to his death.

That night, Dr. von Niemann is seen telepathically controlling Emil Borst, as he picks up sleeping Gorgiana and takes her down to Dr. von Niemann’s laboratory, where a strange organism is seen. They then drain her blood from her neck.

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Schnappmann then discovers Gorgiana’s body in her bed. Dr. von Niemann and Breettschneider investigate and find Ms Mueller’s crucifix, which Glieb handled the night Dr. von Niemann visited her. Breettschneider is becoming more convinced of the presence of vampires in the village as no other plausible explanations for the deaths can be found. As Glieb was seen in the garden that morning, the two conclude he is guilty.

Upon hearing of Glieb’s death, however, Breettschneider’s conviction is erased. Dr. von Niemann tells Breettschneider to go home and take sleeping pills, but gives him poison instead, intent on draining his blood. Bertin discovers Dr. von Niemann telepathically controlling Borst, who is at Breettschneider’s house.

It is revealed that Dr. von Niemann has created life, and is using the blood to fuel his organism. He ties Bertin up in his lab. Borst supposedly enters with Breettschneider’s body on a trolley. Dr. von Niemann walks over to Borst, who is revealed to be Breettschneider (who did not take the pills) in costume, with the real Borst on the trolley. Breettschneider pulls a gun on Dr. von Niemann, and walks over to untie Bertin. Dr. von Niemann then wrestles Breettschneider, who drops the gun. As the two fight, Borst picks up the gun and shoots Dr. von Niemann.

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Production

Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill had been in the successful film Doctor X the previous year, and had already wrapped up work on Mystery of the Wax Museum for Warner Bros. This was quite a large-scale release and would have a lengthy post-production process. Seeing a chance to exploit all the advance press, poverty row studio Majestic Pictures Inc. contracted Wray and Atwill for their own “quickie” horror film, rushing The Vampire Bat into production and releasing it in January 1933.

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Majestic Pictures had lower overheads than the larger studios, which were struggling at the time during the Great Depression. Part of the reason that The Vampire Batlooked almost as good as any Universal Pictures horror film is because Majestic leased James Whale‘s castoffs, the “German Village” backlot sets left over from Frankenstein (1931) and the interior sets from his film The Old Dark House (1932), plus some location shooting at Bronson Caves.

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Completing the illusion that this was a film from a much bigger studio, Majestic hired actor Dwight Frye to populate scenes with Wray and Atwill. A stock musical theme by Charles Dunworth, “Stealthy Footsteps”, was used to accompany the opening credits.[1]

The Vampire Bat ruse worked well for Majestic, which was able to rush the quickie film into theaters less than a month before Warner’s release of Mystery of the Wax Museum. According to The Film Daily (January 10, 1933), the film’s running time was 63 minutes, like most extant prints.

Cast

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See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Larson, Randall D. (1985). Musique fantastique: a survey of film music in the fantastic cinema. Scarecrow Press. p. 32; ISBN 0810817284.
  2. Jump up^ “Scientific Horror”. New York Times. January 23, 1933. Retrieved 2013-05-14

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Sin Takes a Holiday (1930)


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Sin Takes a Holiday (1930)

Sin Takes a Holiday 2

Director: Paul L Stein

Cast: Constance Bennett, Kenneth McKenna, Basil Rathbone, Rita La Roy, Louis John Bartels, John Roche, Zasu Pitts, Kendall Lee, Muriel Finley, Judith Wood

81 min

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Sin Takes a Holiday is a 1930 American pre-Code romantic comedy film, directed by Paul L. Stein, from a screenplay by Horace Jackson, based on a story by Robert Milton and Dorothy Cairns. It starred Constance BennettKenneth MacKenna, and Basil Rathbone. Originally produced by Pathé Exchange and released in 1930, it was part of the takeover package when RKO Pictures acquired Pathe that year; it was re-released by RKO in 1931.

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Plot

Basil Rathbone and Constance Bennett in a screen capture from the film

Sylvia Brenner (Constance Bennett) is a plain secretary sharing an apartment with two other girls, one of whom is her friend Annie (ZaSu Pitts). Her economic condition is meager, but she makes do with what she has.

She works for a womanizing divorce attorney, Gaylord Stanton (Kenneth MacKenna), who only dates married women; he has no intention of ever getting married and sees wives as safe, since they already have husbands. But Sylvia is secretly in love with Gaylord. When the woman he is fooling around with, Grace Lawrence (Rita La Roy), decides to leave her husband in order to marry Gaylord, he panics.

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In order to avoid having to deal with the matrimonial pursuits of any of his potential dalliances, he offers a business proposal to Sylvia whereby he will provide her with financial remuneration if she will marry him in name only. She agrees.

After the sham wedding, Sylvia is sent off to Paris by Gaylord, to get her out of the way so he can continue his nightly debauchery. In Paris, she uses her money to do a serious makeover of herself. While there, she also meets her boss’s old friend, Reggie Durant (Basil Rathbone), who falls in love with her. Reggie is a sophisticated European, who introduces Sylvia to the enticements of the European lifestyle, to which she is attracted. When Reggie asks Sylvia to divorce Gaylord so that she can marry him, she is tempted, but confused, and returns home. Returning to the States, everyone takes notice of the transformed Sylvia.

Although there is a brief hiccup, as Grace puts forth a full-court offensive to win over Gaylord, Gaylord and Sylvia end up realizing that they are in love with each other.

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Cast

(Cast list as per the AFI database)[1]

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Notes

On its original release, the movie recorded a loss of $40,000.[2]

In 1958, 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.[3]

The film was recorded using the RCA Photophone System.[4]

Tag line for the film, was, “Oh lady – what clothes!”[5]

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References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Sin Takes a Holiday: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b c Richard Jewel, ‘RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951’, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57
  3. 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
  4. Jump up^ “Theiapolis: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  5. Jump up^ “Sin Takes a Holiday, Articles”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 5, 2014.

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Twin Husbands (1933)


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Twin Husbands (1933)

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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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Cast

External links

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Gay Nighties, The (1933)


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The Gay Nighties (1933)

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Director: Mark Sandrich

Cast: Bobby Clark, Paul McCullough, James Finlayson, Dorothy Granger, John Sheehan, Monte Collins

20 min 

The Gay Nighties is a 1933 American Pre-Code comedy film featuring Clark & McCullough and directed by Mark Sandrich.

Plot summary

Clark & McCullough, as Hives and Blodgett, are campaign managers for political candidate Oliver Beezley. They plan to defeat Beezley’s political rival, Commodore Amos Pipp (James Finlayson), by exploiting his weakness for women.

Blodgett is to be disguised as a beautiful woman to entrap Pipp, but with his moustache he proves unconvincing in drag—Hives declares, “Even the Commodore wouldn’t fall for a buzzard like you!”—and Hives instead enlists the help of Mrs. Beezley (Dorothy Granger) to carry out the scheme.

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First, though, they have to stay out of the line of fire, and ahead of the police, the nearsighted house detective (Monte Collins), a sleepy man with a cot (Charles Williams), and a somnambulist Countess (Sandra Shaw) with her afghan hound.

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Cast

Gay Nighties The 1

External links

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Woman Between, The (1931)


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The Woman Between (1931)

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Director: Victor Schertzinger

Cast: Lilli Damita, Lester Vail, O P Heggie, Miriam Seegar, Anita Louise, Ruth Weston, Lincoln Steadman, Blanche Friderici, William Morris, Halliwell Hobbes, Ellinor Vanderveer

73 min 

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The Woman Between is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by Victor Schertzinger and written by Howard Estabrook. The film stars Lili DamitaLester VailO.P. HeggieMiriam Seegar and Anita Louise.[1][2] The film was released on August 8, 1931, by RKO Pictures.

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Plot

A young man returns from Europe after several years’ estrangement from his family caused by his disapproval of his father’s remarrying after his mother’s death. At the family reunion he learns that his stepmother is the woman with whom he had a shipboard romance on the voyage home.

Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ “The Woman Between (1931) – Overview”Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “Woman Between – Rotten Tomatoes”. Retrieved September 9, 2014.

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Lady Refuses, The (1931)


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The Lady Refuses (1931)

Lady Refuses The 1

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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]

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Plot

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

(cast list as per AFI database)[3]

Notes

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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References

  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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Hearts of Humanity (1932)


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Hearts of Humanity (1932)

Hearts of Humanity 1

Hearts of Humanity 2

Director: Christy Cabanne

Cast: Jean Hersholt, Jackie Searl, J Farrell Macdonald, Claudia Dell, Charles Delaney, Lucille LaVerne, Richard Vallace, George Humbert, Betty Jane Graham

56 min

Plot

Irish policeman Tom O’Hara is killed by a thief in Sol Bloom’s antique store, but before he dies, he asks widower Sol to take care of his son Shandy, who will be arriving soon from Europe.

Sol’s own son Joey is streetwise and uncontrollable, although Sol has reared him lovingly. Sol adopts Shandy and treats him like his own son, and Shandy reciprocates with love and helpfulness. Shandy looks after Joey, who is continually getting into trouble.

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When Joey steals a dollar from his father’s cash register, Shandy pawns the harp his mother gave him to replace the money so Joey will not get into trouble. When Joey breaks a neighbor’s window, Shandy offers to pay the owner ten dollars so he will not tell Sol, however he is unable to get his harp back because it has been sold.

Desperate, Shandy asks the new owner to lend it to him, and then steals it when the owner refuses. He wins a ten dollar prize performing in an amateur night contest, but is so guilt-ridden about having stolen the harp that he wanders aimlessly in the rain. Shandy takes ill and is brought home by a policeman. Joey reforms and prays for Shandy’s recovery. Joey’s improvement bolsters Shandy, who recovers, and the harp’s owner returns the harp to Shandy.

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Cast (in credits order)

Jean Hersholt Jean Hersholt
Jackie Searl Jackie Searl
Shandy O’Hara
J. Farrell MacDonald J. Farrell MacDonald
Tom O’Hara
Claudia Dell Claudia Dell
Ruth Sneider
Charles Delaney Charles Delaney
Tom Varney
Lucille La Verne Lucille La Verne
Mrs. Sneider
Richard Wallace Richard Wallace
Joey Bloom (as Dick Wallace)
George Humbert George Humbert
Tony
Betty Jane Graham Betty Jane Graham
Hilda
John Vosper John Vosper
Dave Haller (as John Vosburgh)
Tom McGuire Tom McGuire
Mr. Wells
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Suzanne Wood Suzanne Wood
(uncredited)

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Savage Girl, The (1932)


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The Savage Girl (1932)

Savage Girl The 1

Director: Harry L Fraser

Cast: Rochelle Hudson, Walter Byron, Harry Myers, Adolph Milar, Ted Adams, Floyd Shackelford, Herbert Evans

66 min

The Savage Girl is a 1932 American film directed by Harry L. Fraser.

Plot

A white jungle goddess is protected by a fierce killer gorilla.

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Cast

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