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The Idle Rich (1929)

Passed | | Comedy | 15 June 1929 (USA)
Millionaire William van Luyn falls in love with his secretary Joan Thayer and marries her. Her family, part of "the great middle class" (as blowhard nephew Henry keeps reminding us), is ... See full summary »


(play), (adapted from the story: "Regular People" by) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Helen Thayer
Joan Thayer
Henry Thayer
Mr. Thayer
Mrs. Thayer
Tom Gibney
Kenneth Gibson ...
Frank Thayer


Millionaire William van Luyn falls in love with his secretary Joan Thayer and marries her. Her family, part of "the great middle class" (as blowhard nephew Henry keeps reminding us), is happy for Joan, but reluctant to take charity from Will. He moves in with them, and they keep resisting, until one day he takes drastic action. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Wealth and position clash with poverty in a sterling talking feature drama made from the stage success, "White Collars" (Print Ad- Auckland Star,((Auckland, NZ)) 7 September 1929)




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 June 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

White Collars  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This title was included among the 700+ features packaged for television broadcast by MGM in 1956, but, because of its age and obscurity, it was seldom taken out of the can. Among its handful of documented telecasts, alert viewers could have caught it in Portland, Oregon Friday 8 August 1958 on KGW-TV (Channel 8) and in Johnstown, Pennsylvania Saturday 21 July 1962 on the Late Show on WJAC (Channel 6). Totay's vintage film enthusiasts have it easier. It's owned by Turner Classic Movies and occasionally let out for an airing on TCM. See more »


Version of Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Stagy But Effective
13 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Bessie Love steals the show as the kid sister in this comedy about money and snobbishness.

Leila Hyams plays a working secretary who falls for her rich boss (Conrad Nagel) but agrees to marry him only if he moves in with her middle-class family. After the honeymoon poor Nagel moves in with the family in their hot and overcrowded New York apartment. The family is pretty stereotypical, especially the workhorse mom (Edythe Chapman) and the raving cousin (Robert Ober).

But Bessie Love saves the day in a loose and funny performance as the kid sister who WANTS the money while the rest of the family pretends not to be interested in Nagel's millions. Nagel also has fun as the displaced millionaire forced to live in a small apartment and listen to the neighbor's jazz records at all hours. Hyams is pretty and earnest in a one-note role.

Love has a great scene of hysteria when she learns that Nagel is giving away all his money to become "middle class." It's similar to her great scenes in THE Broadway MELODY and CHASING RAINBOWS.

Co-stars included Kenneth Gibson as Frank, Paul Kruger as the boy friend, and James Neill as the father.

Sound is quite good for a 1929 talkie, but it's funny when the actors muff their lines. The editing is lousy.

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