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John owns the largest chain of five and ten cent stores in the country. He moves his family to New York from Kansas City and their life, though grand, is falling apart due to his constant working. Wife and mother Jenny is lonely. Son Avery hates his job. Daughter Jennifer is snubbed by classmate Muriel and her friends. At a charity bazaar, Jennifer meets Berry and sparks are evident. However, he is engaged to Muriel and Muriel will make sure that she, and only she, marries Berry. After the marriage, Berry still thinks of Jennifer as Jennifer thinks of Berry. Avery laments about the state of his family since they were happy in Kansas City. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Ambitious John Rarick (Richard Bennet) is a shining example of the American Dream going from a "mom and pop" to mega chain store owner in the heady prosperous era of the Roaring Twenties. Moving from Kansas to New York he installs his once tight family into the lap of luxury and unintentionally off his radar screen. The attention starved wife (Irene Rich) begins to step out with other men while his son Avery (Kent Douglass) masking incestuous feelings begins to feel alienated and takes to self destruction. Sis Jenniffer ( Marion Davies) is upbeat but smitten with Berry (Leslie Howard) who is engaged to Muriel who seems to enjoy hurting Jen than being in love with Berry. It seems that success has brought with it its own set of problems.
There's an amoral attitude in Five and Ten that gives it a mature sophisticated feel. The wife has callers drop by the mansion, Jen shows little compunction about pursuing the spoken for Berry , Avery makes no bones about how he yearns for the days of when he was closer to mom and sis while pop meanwhile devotes his energies to profit margin. What could make for an absorbing depiction of a wealthy family in free fall ala Magnificent Ambersons (without the Welles touch of course) takes a back seat however to the the mawkishly stilted romance between Davies and Leslie Howard and the film suffers immeasurably as the two, especially Howard, chew scenery when they go to the clinches. Irene Rich and especially Kent Douglass contribute strong performances but it remains a Davies vehicle and with Howard as her driving partner they grind gears and mood most of the ride.
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