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Weary River (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 10 February 1929 (USA)
A gangster is put in prison, but finds salvation through music while serving his time. Again on the outside, he finds success elusive and temptations abound.



(story) (as Courtney Riley Cooper), (screen version) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Jerry Larrabee
Alice Gray
William Holden ...
Prison Warden
Louis Natheaux ...
Blackie (as George Stone)
Ray Turner ...
Elevator Boy (as Raymond Turner)
Jerry's Manager


Jerry Larabee (Richard Barthelmess)is a gangster who can play piano and sing, mostly to entertain his girl Alice (Betty Compson), who is quite visibly thrilled by his crooning. But as the result of a gangland shootout he had with rival mobster Spadoni (Louis Natheaux), Larabee must do a stretch in prison. The kindly warden (William Holden) sees a potential for redemption in him, and talks Mary into giving him up, so he will break all contact with his previous life. Through his musical talents, Jerry is soon doing radio broadcasts with the prison orchestra, and one of his own compositions, "Weary River" is a smash hit with listeners. In no time, he's released, with a concert tour lined up. unfortunately, hecklers cause the overly sensitive ex-gunman to lose his confidence and he's a flop. Down on his luck, he drifts back to his old gang buddies and Mary, who's never stopped loving him. After learning that his stint up the river was a frame-up by Spadoni, a showdown is arranged at their... Written by WesternOne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 February 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bag Fængslets Port  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System) (Western Electric Apparatus) (sound effects, music and talking sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When it came time for Richard Barthelmess to sing the title song (not once but four times in the course of the film), the Vitaphone technicians performed a bit of audio-visual sleight-of-hand. While Barthelmess moves his lips, the voice we hear is that of Johnny Murray. A Photoplay article of July 1929 reported that Murray had also been retained to provide Barthelmess' voice in the future, in the event that he starred in any other musicals. See more »


Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore Morse and Arthur Sullivan
In the score when Jerry meets his pals in a bar
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting film
19 October 2003 | by (Santiago de Chile.) – See all my reviews

Frank Lloyd was Oscar nominated for this film & two others, in 1929, about a gangster imprisoned, who becomes a singer...singing endlessly throughout the film the title song.

It's part silent-part talkie...which makes me think that this had been originally shot as a silent and then some portions of it where re-shot with dialogue, a usual thing to be done back in 1929.

A rare chance to watch William Holden, the elderly character actor (no relation to the star of Sunset Boulevard) of late silents and early talkies, who's very, very fine as the warden of the prison, in which gangster Richard Barthelmess is locked up. Barthelmess is good as Jerry Larrabee and Betty Compson (although her voice sounds a little bit high-pitched-maybe due to technical shortcomings)is fine too, as her girlfriend.

Thanks again to TCM, for the opportunity of watching another "rarity", not seen for a long time (completely restored, as best as possible).

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