A German immigrant to a small American town is a widower with four children and a barber. He has saved enough money to invest in a partnership in a savings-and-loan company with a friend. ... See full summary »
A German immigrant to a small American town is a widower with four children and a barber. He has saved enough money to invest in a partnership in a savings-and-loan company with a friend. But a son has been stricken with tuberculosis, and the investment money goes to pay for the son's treatment in Arizona. The man continues to be a barber. Twenty years later, the wastrel son of the now-rich man who was to have been his partner, falls in love with the barber's daughter. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I decided to comment on this movie, primarily, for one reason - Louis Mann. He plays the hard working patriarch of a loving family whose children constantly disappoint him. He scrapes together enough money from his barber shop to send his older son Ludwig to college, only to have him renounce his immigrant German family and change his name once he becomes a doctor. The son marries a social climber and turns into a spineless worm. The old man mortgages the barber shop to rescue his younger son when he embezzles money from his company to play the horses. When the old man is unable to repay the loan, he asks his son, the doctor, for help. The wife promptly turns him out with a peck on the cheek. His beautiful young daughter sacrifices her virtue to the town bankers weakling son (well played by Robert Montgomery). Well, you get the picture.
But back to Louis Mann. Until I caught this flick on TCM, I never heard of him. Apparently for good reason. I was so impressed with his performance that I did some research. He has virtually no history. I just can't understand it. His performance in this movie was so genuine, poignant, natural, and sympathetic I would have sworn he had an extensive, well rounded career in the business. I don't know anything about his ethnic background, but his German accent was very authentic. I grew up in a 1st generation German home and his delivery reminded me very much of those times. The lapses into German, the emotion, the unintentional humor. He reminded me, at times, of Albert Basserman.
The story has been done many times, the ending is way too pat, and the performances of the actors was mediocre, but this movie is still worth seeing. It will probably be your only chance to see Louis Mann perform, and you need to put everything else aside and watch. I am sorry he never got the recognition I think he deserves and I'm grateful that I got the chance to see him and honor his performance.
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