6.8/10
358
18 user 5 critic

An American Tragedy (1931)

Approved | | Romance, Drama | 22 August 1931 (USA)
A poor factory worker, employed by a wealthy uncle, falls in love with a beautiful heiress but his happiness and promising future are jeopardized by a previous affair with a coworker he impregnated.

Director:

(as Josef Von Sternberg)
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dishonored (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Austrian Secret Service sends its most seductive agent to spy on the Russians.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen, Gustav von Seyffertitz
Underworld (1927)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend.

Directors: Josef von Sternberg, Arthur Rosson
Stars: George Bancroft, Clive Brook, Evelyn Brent
Street Scene (1931)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Twenty-four hours elapse on the stoop of a Hell's Kitchen tenement as a microcosm of the American melting pot interacts with each other during a summer heatwave.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, William Collier Jr., Estelle Taylor
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Man is haunted by a murder he's committed.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Edward Arnold, Peter Lorre, Marian Marsh
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
Thunderbolt (1929)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Moran, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl. ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Fay Wray, Richard Arlen
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A loose woman rediscovers a former lover during a dangerous train ride to Shanghai.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong
It (1927)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A salesgirl with plenty of "it" (sex appeal) pursues a handsome playboy.

Directors: Clarence G. Badger, Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Clara Bow, Antonio Moreno, William Austin
City Streets (1931)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Man joins a gang to free his girlfriend from prison.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Gary Cooper, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Lukas
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova
Easy Living (1937)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker throws away his wife's expensive fur coat; it lands on the head of a stenographer, leading to everyone assuming she is his mistress and has access to his millions.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold, Ray Milland
Blonde Venus (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cabaret singer takes up with a millionaire to pay for her gravely ill husband's operation.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Herbert Marshall
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
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)
...
Titus Alden (as Albert Hart)
Fanny Midgley ...
Mrs. Titus Alden
...
Judge
Russ Powell ...
Coroner Fred Heit (as Russell Powell)
Edit

Storyline

A poor factory worker, employed by a wealthy uncle, falls in love with a beautiful heiress but his happiness and promising future are jeopardized by a previous affair with a coworker he impregnated.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sergei M. Eisenstein was originally in talks to direct this film. He even wrote an early script, several hundred pages long. Eisenstein hoped to make his English-speaking directorial debut with this film, and Paramount wanted him to as well, but nothing came of it. See more »

Connections

Version of Hi no ataru basho (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
surprisingly powerful adaptation of the Dreiser classic
17 March 2006 | by (south Texas USA) – See all my reviews

The first and best film adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's classic novel of pointless crime and arbitrary punishment, the 1931 version of AN American TRAGEDY was directed by Josef Von Sternberg, who had just had great success with THE BLUE ANGEL (and who made a total of eight films with star Marlene Dietrich) and who captures the emptiness and isolation and desperate qualities of the characters well. Phillips Holmes, perhaps best known today for GENERAL SPANKY (the strange Our Gang feature film) is a revelation as the heartless, social-climbing Clyde Griffiths, and the young Sylvia Sidney makes a strong impression as the working girl killed in the "accident" that leads to the long trial sequence at the film's end, which is itself a classic of courtroom melodrama. Clyde is represented in court by Charles Middleton (who later played Emperor Ming in the FLASH GORDON films) as a cynical, grandstanding attorney. AN American TRAGEDY still packs a punch today and has a rawness and power and biting commentary on the class structure of society entirely lacking in A PLACE IN THE SUN, the 1951 film adaptation of the same novel.


17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?