Jack lives the high life and wants to make Marjorie his one and only. He then learns that his deceased father is alive but dying of lead poisoning. His father sent him away, twenty years ... See full summary »
Jack lives the high life and wants to make Marjorie his one and only. He then learns that his deceased father is alive but dying of lead poisoning. His father sent him away, twenty years before, to keep him out of the rackets. But now that he is dying, he wants to split the business between Giacomo (Jack) and Frank, his other son. The business includes running booze down from Canada. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wealthy New York City gentleman John Gilbert (as Jack Thomas) gets out of bed in a sprightly mood; he is looking forward to marrying pretty blonde socialite Leila Hyams (as Marjorie Channing). After the couple contemplate a European honeymoon plans, Mr. Gilbert receives startling news - guardian Paul Porcasi (as "Papa" Mario) tells Gilbert, who grew up believing he was an orphan, he is actually part of an Italian gangster family operating out of Jersey City. Moreover, Gilbert's mob boss father is dying from a gunshot wound, and wants to see his son...
Gilbert is told where to meet rough-looking older brother Louis Wolheim (as Frank Tomasulo), who will lead him to daddy's deathbed. Unfortunately, Gilbert is also lured into the family's bootlegging business. Exactly why this happens should have you scratching your head. Before dying, Frank Reicher (as "Papa" Francesco) gives Gilbert an emerald necklace for his fiancée. Later, Ms. Channing is embarrassed when the emeralds' owner sees her wearing them at a society function. Channing, told the gift was "a family heirloom," leaves Gilbert...
"Gentleman's Fate" was another questionable vehicle for fading "silent" star Gilbert. The story idea wasn't bad, and the MGM cast and crew were certainly not culled from the bottom of the barrel. Unfortunately, the foundationally good production values do not appear polished. Apparently, nobody noticed a fly crawling on Gilbert in the opening scene; this should have been taken care of in a re-take session (or later edit). The morose picture crawls along at a pace slower than the opening fly. Perhaps MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer was indeed sabotaging Gilbert's career.
He has some moments, but Gilbert's characterization is most often unsure. In his penultimate performance, popular pug-faced Wolheim (suffering from cancer) fares a little better - but, neither actor adds much to their repertoire. The three featured women are better. Note how well eventual leading lady Anita Page (as Ruth Corrigan) does in her role. And, watch for a valiant supporting performance from Marie Prevost (as Mabel). Like Gilbert, Ms. Prevost was a high-pitched "silent" film player lost in primitive sound recording equipment, and soon drowned in alcohol.
**** Gentleman's Fate (3/7/31) Mervyn LeRoy ~ John Gilbert, Louis Wolheim, Anita Page, Marie Prevost
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