Young Morris Goldfish follows his immigrant father into business. His ruthless business practices cause him to become a big success, and he moves the family to Park Avenue. They go, but were happier back on the East Side. Morris is ashamed of this parents and his humble origins, but learns in the end that there is more to life than money. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Early Capra melodrama has poor Jewish family taken out of the ghetto by their youngest son (Ricardo Cortez) who strikes it big. He moves his father (Jean Hersholt), mother (Rosa Rosanova) and sister (Lina Basquette) into a large house and expects them to do what he says and stay away from the "filth" they grew up around. Soon the three start to realize that money can't buy happiness but will the son learn this before it's too late? At this point in time Columbia was still a very small studio so they couldn't afford to go all in in terms of sound movies so this is another example of a silent with a few sound segments scattered throughout the film. I've always found this to be incredibly distracting but I think Capra does a great job at when to use the sound and I also think the quality of the recorded words is among the best I've heard from this era. Considering how poor the studio was it's rather shocking that some of the other studios early talkies didn't come off sounding better. With that said, there are some major problems with the film but for the most part it's a nice time filler that fans of the director will want to check out. The biggest problem is that even in 1929 this material was way too predictable. There's really not a single thing that happens in the film that you won't see coming from a mile away. The format pretty much follows every morality film that came before it and I just wish at some point Capra would have shaken things up just to keep us off guard or at least in some drama. It should come as no shock that Capra does a great job with what's here and manages to keep the film moving quite fast and he keeps it as entertaining as the screenplay will allow. The cast also keeps things moving nicely with their fine performances. Cortez would play this type of role countless times in his career and he always managed to do good with it. Hersholt clearly steals the film as the tortured father. In the end, this isn't the greatest film ever made but I think Capra did the most he could considering what he had to work with. I think those who like to search out these early talkies will find the quality here to be above average and will make one wonder why some of the bigger studios didn't have their stuff sounding as good.
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