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The Cheat (1931) More at IMDbPro »


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Harry Hervey
Hector Turnbull (silent film script)
View company contact information for The Cheat on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 November 1931 (USA) See more »
Love, lust, possession, money, social standing, and addiction. Elsa Carlyle is impulsive and a gambler; though loved by her husband Jeff... See more » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
young Tallulah in a precode film See more (12 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Tallulah Bankhead ... Elsa Carlyle
Harvey Stephens ... Jeffrey Carlyle

Irving Pichel ... Hardy Livingstone
Jay Fassett ... Terrell
Ann Andrews ... Mrs. Albright
William Ingersoll ... Croupier
Hanaki Yoshiwara ... Japanese Servant
Willard Dashiell ... Judge
Edward Keane ... Defense Attorney
Robert Strange ... District Attorney
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jimmy Granato ... Orchestra Musician (uncredited)
Porter Hall ... Leslie (uncredited)
Arthur Hohl ... Defense Attorney (uncredited)

Millard Mitchell ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Henry Warwick ... Butler (uncredited)

Directed by
George Abbott 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Harry Hervey 
Hector Turnbull  silent film script

Cinematography by
George J. Folsey  (as George Folsey)
Film Editing by
Emma Hill (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Frank Heath .... assistant director (uncredited)
Fred Scheld .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Ernest Zatorsky .... sound recording engineer (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Edward Hyland .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Joseph Ruttenberg .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Charles Salerno Jr. .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Frank Serjack .... still photographer (uncredited)
Other crew
Ruth St. Denis .... choreographer (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
74 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Did You Know?

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.See more »
Jeffrey Carlyle:I love you. I didn't marry you because I thought you could spell or add, but because of who you are.See more »
Movie Connections:
Remake of The Cheat (1915)See more »


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
young Tallulah in a precode film, 5 January 2015
Author: blanche-2 from United States

Tallulah Bankhead was 29 when she made "The Cheat," in 1931, and she came to film after a successful theatrical career. Thirteen years later, she made Lifeboat and looked as if she had aged 30 years in 13.

Bankhead plays Elsa, the adored wife of Jeffrey (Harvey Stephens). She's a compulsive gambler and winds up owing $10,000 (the equivalent of $140,000 in today's money). A man who is obviously after her, Hardy Livingstone (Irving Pichel) gets her the money, but of course he wants payment -- the only kind of payment acceptable from a woman in precode! This is kind of a wild movie which could have been wilder with better casting. Tallulah's supporting cast just didn't cut it. To play the sadistic Livingstone, I would have preferred someone who had a little more bite to him, and Harvey Stephens is plain vanilla. Someone suggested Robert Montgomery for the husband and Charles Laughton for the lecher. I'm not sure she would have gone as far as she did with someone like Charles Laughton. Maybe Cyril Ritchard? Warren William? Tallulah's acting and glamor makes the film interesting to watch, and you'll love the Chinese costume Livingstone gives her to wear for a benefit.

This film was directed by the great Broadway director, George Abbott, who died in 1995 at the age of 107. He's the reason, I think, that this film moves so well, unlike many films of this era where people tend to talk more slowly and the action seems to drag as people get used to sound.

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