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Weary River (1929)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  10 February 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 260 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 3 critic

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), 2 more credits »
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Title: Weary River (1929)

Weary River (1929) on IMDb 6.8/10

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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)
Gladden James ...
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?


Vitaphone production reels #3021-3029 See more »


The Prisoner's Song
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by Guy Massey
In the score when Jerry gets his prison clothes
See more »

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User Reviews

Very endearing
30 March 2007 | by (Florida) – See all my reviews

Weary River (1929), restored by UCLA and TCM, is a great chance to see two silent screen stars Richard Barthelmess and Betty Compson step into the talkie era together, warming your heart as they do so. Their characters are so obviously head over heels crazy about one another that you can't help but be endeared to them and their story.

Sure, we've seen prison films like this before, but there is still such a sweetness to this one because of the caliber of stars involved. Other silent stars like the first William Holden, who was a character actor of the era, and Gladden James, who got his start in silents in the 1910's, show up too and we get to hear their voices for the first time. Part silent - part talkie makes for an odd mix in most of these early sound films, but the very nice Vitaphone soundtrack helps to smooth over any rough spots.

I really loved the picture but then I'm very sentimental about these particular stars so please bear with me while I give this wonderful relic a 10 out of 10.

And my guess is that Richard Barthelmess is NOT singing here. The lip synching is off, and besides it doesn't sound like his voice at all. I wonder who the real singer was?

I've since researched the film on the TCM website and found the singer dubbing for Mr. Barthelmess was Johnny Murray.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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