MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 5,597 this week

An American Tragedy (1931)

Approved  |   |  Romance, Drama  |  22 August 1931 (USA)
6.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 294 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 5 critic

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)
0Check in
0Share...

IMDb Picks: June

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in June, brought to you by Swiffer.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 3942 titles
created 08 Nov 2011
 
list image
a list of 145 titles
created 13 Jul 2013
 
a list of 24 titles
created 9 months ago
 
list image
a list of 1320 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: An American Tragedy (1931)

An American Tragedy (1931) on IMDb 6.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of An American Tragedy.

User Polls

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Morocco (1930)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A cabaret singer and a Legionnaire fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the results of his womanizing and due to the appearance of a rich man who wants her for himself.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou
Crime | Drama | Romance
    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
Ana-ta-han (1953)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Josef von Sternberg directed, photographed, provides the voice-over narration and wrote the screenplay (from a based-on-actual event novel by Michiro Maruyana translated by Younghill Kang) ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Akemi Negishi, Tadashi Suganuma, Kisaburo Sawamura
Blonde Venus (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Many passengers on the Shanghai Express are more concerned that the notorious Shanghai Lil is on board than the fact that a civil war is going on that may make the trip take more than three... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by "Mother" Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Victor Mature
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Film told in flashbacks of an older man's obsession for a woman who can belong to no-one but can frustrate everyone. The backdrop is SternbergÍs surreal and fantastic Carnaval in Spain. In ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Atwill, Edward Everett Horton
Underworld (1927)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 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
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
The Dragnet (1928)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Joan and Magdalen are the daughters of a fisherman. Magdalen leaves her fiancé, Peter, to run off to the big city. Joan and Peter marry. Magdalen's return years later causes trouble for the... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Edna Purviance, Raymond Bloomer, Charles K. French
Edit

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)
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

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 Hi no ataru basho (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Some of These Days
(1910) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Shelton Brooks
Variations played over opening credits
Sung by boys and girls at the lake
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
not von Sternberg's best
4 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Clyde, a poor boy whose mother runs a home for the needy, attains a job as a bell hop. From the very first he wants more; he's trying to break a date to see a ritzy dame who has taken a shine to him carrying her bags. Ma don't approve of his new friends though – "Boys and girls like that are the only friends I've got" – and after he's involved in a drink driving accident he sets out for New York (Mum's praying here is ludicrous. A sentimental note out of keeping with von Sternberg films.)

Now Clyde has risen to foreman of the stamping department in his uncle's Samuel Griffiths collar and shirt factory. These are the best scenes of the film – the depth in the composition of the shots is incredible – with the girls squeaking away on their stampers and flicking their hair as Clyde walks passed.

Sylvia Sydney catches his eye and is very Dietrich like in her mockingly wry approach to Clyde with "I hope you like the collar business" and "You really seem happy Mr. Griffiths" as he pulls a sulk when she won't let him come to her room. If it's not the sensual sound of the water – the film is divided into chapters with dream-like, ominous shots of the water – it's the sound of the girls stamping away, all examples of von Sternberg recording sound in an artificial manner. Listen to the bit where the newsboy is chanting "bad results of accident."

Most of which von Sternberg directs in a perfunctory manner. He isn't interested in the effect that social conditions have on people's motivations/ actions (surely the theme of the book). In his films, people are only roused from their world weary inertia because of their own feelings.

In short, von Sternberg is unsuited to the material. With such an unwieldy novel to film there are too many scenes where he simply points the camera at the actors (like almost every other director does) in boring scenes necessary for plot advancement. Compare this with the contemporaneous Shanghai Express, a film conceived and written by von Sternberg which never fails to be visually compelling, and the Scarlett Empress whose visual quality is unprecedented, perhaps in the whole of cinema.


3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Where on earth is this film? ParaGreen
question on the book offthewall898
Discuss An American Tragedy (1931) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?