11 user 3 critic

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 »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Big House (1930)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A convict falls in love with his new cellmate's sister, only to become embroiled in a planned break-out which is certain to have lethal consequences.

Directors: George W. Hill, Ward Wing
Stars: Chester Morris, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A flapper who's secretly a good girl and a gold digging floozy masquerading as an ingénue both vie for the hand of a millionaire.

Director: Harry Beaumont
Stars: Joan Crawford, Johnny Mack Brown, Nils Asther
The Divorcee (1930)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a woman discovers that her husband has been unfaithful to her, she decides to respond to his infidelities in kind.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Chester Morris
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The story of the romance between Emma, Lady Hamilton, and British war hero Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Corinne Griffith, Victor Varconi, H.B. Warner
Madame X (1929)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A young lawyer unknowingly defends his mother who abandoned him when he was three.

Director: Lionel Barrymore
Stars: Lewis Stone, Ruth Chatterton, Raymond Hackett
Dynamite (1929)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Wealthy Cynthia is in love with not-so-wealthy Roger, who is married to Marcia. The threesome is terribly modern about the situation, and Marcia will gladly divorce Roger if Cynthia agrees ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Conrad Nagel, Kay Johnson, Charles Bickford
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A pair of sisters from the vaudeville circuit try to make it big time on Broadway, but matters of the heart complicate the attempt.

Director: Harry Beaumont
Stars: Bessie Love, Anita Page, Charles King
The Letter (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Jeanne Eagels plays the bored and restless Leslie Crosbie who turns to another man, Geoffrey Hammond (Herbert Marshall) for attention when neglected by her husband Robert (Reginald Owen). ... See full summary »

Director: Jean de Limur
Stars: Jeanne Eagels, Reginald Owen, Herbert Marshall
Thunderbolt (1929)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Moran, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl. ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Fay Wray, Richard Arlen
Bad Girl (1931)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A man and woman, skeptical about romance, nonetheless fall in love and are wed, but their lack of confidence in the opposite sex haunts their marriage.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: James Dunn, Sally Eilers, Minna Gombell
Drag (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Richard Barthelmess, Lucien Littlefield, Kathrin Clare Ward
The Valiant (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After accidentally killing the key witness to a crime, a mysterious drifter turns himself to the law, under a false name intending to protect his own family. But when the news of his ... See full summary »

Director: William K. Howard
Stars: Paul Muni, Marguerite Churchill, Johnny Mack Brown


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?


In a separately filmed trailer, Vitaphone production reel #2909, Richard Barthelmess talks to the audience about the film. See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Up the Weary River
24 February 2015 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Singing gangster Richard Barthelmess (as Jerry Larrabee) is sent "up the river" after an innocent bystander is killed in one of his orchestrated shoot 'em ups. In prison, Mr. Barthelmess (#46039) has more time for singing and less time for racketeering. He becomes a hit in the big house and decides to go straight on the outside. But, after serving his time, Barthelmess receives a rocky reception. While a wonderful singer, he's derided as an ex-con. Through it all, Barthelmess is encouraged by beautiful blonde Betty Compson (as Alice Gray). She and warden William Holden would like Barthelmess to keep trying, but he is tempted by his criminal past...

"Weary River" is a part-talking, part-silent film. It begins as a silent, with oddly primitive background music (for 1929), and turns "talkie" early in the running time. You're thinking it will remain there, but the silent style occasionally returns. Perhaps the soundtrack on these scenes was inferior and re-takes unsatisfactory. While mostly a sound film, the spirit is silent; this may be why the technology appears superior to many other early talkies. The possibly better all-silent version should be restored, if possible...

Then a very big star, Barthelmess maintained his standing during the transition from silent to sound. His voice was fine, but Barthelmess is obviously better in the older style. Barthelmess also mouths his songs for a vocal double. Taken from this film, the song "Weary River" was a big hit for the popular new singer Rudy Vallee. Randolph Scott and Sally Eilers are extras and elevator "boy" Raymond Turner looks frightened. Director Frank Lloyd's artful prison sequences require no dialogue, and photographer Ernie Haller is an obvious asset. Their assistant Alvin Knechtel was killed in a plane crash, sadly, on the verge of a promising career.

***** Weary River (2/10/29) Frank Lloyd ~ Richard Barthelmess, Betty Compson, William Holden, Louis Natheaux

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Novelty atlasmb
Randolph Scott?????? donwc1996
A very sexy vamp. vaneyck
Discuss Weary River (1929) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: