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An American Tragedy (1931)

 -  Romance | Drama  -  22 August 1931 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 286 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 5 critic

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(as Josef Von Sternberg)
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Leonard Nimoy: 1931-2015

Best known for his work on "Star Trek," actor and director Leonard Nimoy died on Friday in Los Angeles. Read our full story on his varied career, and view our memorial photo gallery.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Phillips Holmes ...
...
Frances Dee ...
Sondra Finchley
...
District Attorney Orville Mason
Frederick Burton ...
Samuel Griffiths
...
Mrs. Samuel Griffiths
Wallace Middleton ...
Gilbert Griffiths
Emmett Corrigan ...
Belknap (Clyde's attorney)
...
Mrs. Asa Griffiths
...
Jephson (Clyde's second attorney) (as Charles B. Middleton)
Al Hart ...
Titus Alden (as Albert Hart)
Fanny Midgley ...
Mrs. Titus Alden
Arnold Korff ...
Judge
Russ Powell ...
Coroner Fred Heit (as Russell Powell)
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Storyline

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Taglines:

Drama that happens around you everyday - when the wild life of impetuous youth burns away age-old barriers!

Genres:

Romance | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 August 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eine amerikanische Tragödie  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theodore Dreiser sued Paramount for misrepresenting his novel by transforming it into an ordinary murder story. The judge ruled in favor of Paramount; Dreiser's motion to prevent release of the film was denied. See more »

Connections

Version of Nakaw na pag-ibig (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Nearer My God to Thee
(1856) (uncredited)
Music by Lowell Mason
Played on an organ at the mission
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent Phillips Holmes
25 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This seems much closer to the facts of Theodore Dreiser's great novel than the soapy 50s version, good in its own way, with Montgomery Clift.

Even with florid Josef von Sternberg directing, the film follows the basic plot of the novel although there seem to be a few holes. Still, the courtroom scene is electric and makes this all worth it. I also like the casting of Phillips Holmes as Clyde. Holmes is able to capture the bizarre passions and inability to really care that embody Clyde. His subtle performance in the courtroom scenes, as he slowly breaks down and loses any sense of truth under the barrage of lawyers, is quite excellent. His voice goes higher and thinner as he becomes just a frightened boy answering the stupid questions posed by the sadistic and ambitious lawyers.

Sylvia Sidney is quite good as the tragic Roberta, and Frances Dee captures the haughty attitudes of the wealthy of that era. Charles Middleton and Irving Pichel play the lawyers. And Lucille LaVerne plays Clyde's mother.

This was a big hit in its day and helped establish Holmes and Sidney as stars. Holmes had a relatively short starring career and died in WW II but he made several memorable films with Nancy Carroll.


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