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Weary River (1929)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance  -  10 February 1929 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 197 users  
Reviews: 9 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.

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

Weary River (1929) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jerry Larrabee
...
Alice Gray
William Holden ...
Prison Warden
Louis Natheaux ...
Spadoni
...
Blackie (as George Stone)
Ray Turner ...
Elevator Boy (as Raymond Turner)
Gladden James ...
Jerry's Manager
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

warden | prison | shootout | gangster | police | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 February 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Lied des Sträflings  »

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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When it came time for Barthelmess to sing the title song of Weary River (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's voice in the future, in the event that he starred in any other musicals. See more »

Soundtracks

It's Up to You
(1929)
Music by Louis Silvers
Lyrics by Grant Clarke
Sung by Richard Barthelmess (dubbed by Johnny Murray)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Terrific Barthelmess and Compson
11 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Mostly talkie that's part silent (a goat gland), this film boasts solid performances by the stars: Richard Barthelmess and Betty Compson. He's a small-time gangster who gets framed by a rival and goes to prison. She's the moll with a heart of gold who waits for him.

This early talkie also boasts a few songs, including the wonderful title song sung by Barthelmess (but really Johnny Murray). Not just a gangster picture, this one shows how Barthelmess reforms and goes out into the world only to be called CONVICT at every turn. He almost goes bad again but a visit to the old warden (William Holden) sets him straight. Of course the rival gets bumped off anyway.

This film garnered a lot of bad publicity in 1929 because even though Barthlemss (a major star of his time) signed statements that the singing voice is his, rumor had it he was dubbed. It's obvious he's not singing live but whether the voice is actually his, we may never know. Still, Barthelmess gives a solid performance as does the beautiful Betty Compson (check out those close-ups!)as the loyal friend.

WEARY RIVER may be the first early talkie where there was a controversy over possible dubbing. It almost doesn't matter now, but Barthelmess got caught in a lie, stating he did his own singing when the songs were dubbed by Johnny Murray. Watch this one for Richard Barthelmess and Betty Compson--both early Oscar nominees--in solid performance in a very early talkie.


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