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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)
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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)
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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 »
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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's novel was based on the actual 1906 murder case of Chester Gillette, convicted of drowning his girlfriend Grace Brown in Big Moose Lake in upstate New York. Gillette was executed in the electric chair on 30 March 1908. See more »

Connections

Version of Americká tragédia (1976) 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 »

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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.


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