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Gentleman's Fate (1931)

Approved | | Drama | 7 March 1931 (USA)
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 »



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Complete credited cast:
Giacomo Tomasulo / Jack Thomas
Frank Tomasulo
Marjorie Channing
Ruth Corrigan
George Cooper ...
Ferike Boros ...
Angela (as Ferike Beros)
Papa Francesco Tomasulo
Papa Mario Giovanni


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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

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Release Date:

7 March 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Destino de um Cavalheiro  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film received its first (and probably only) telecast in New York City Monday 16 September 1957 on the Late, Late Show on WCBS (Channel 2); in Philadelphia it was first shown 21 October 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6) and in San Francisco it was finally telecast 5 September 1963 on KGO (Channel 7). There is no reliable documentation that it was ever televised in Los Angeles. It's infrequent television showings at that time were limited to the less predominant markets such as Wednesday 22 January 1958 on CBET (Channel 9). (Windsor, Ontario/Detroit, Michigan,) and Friday 28 March 1958 on KYW (Channel 3) (Cleveland, Ohio). Today, film enthusiasts have it easier and are happy to see it's occasionally given an airing by Turner Classic Movies because of renewed interest in the career of John Gilbert. See more »

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User Reviews

Another Nail In John Gilbert's Cinematic Coffin
31 January 2001 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A dying gangster reveals himself as the true father of a young society man, thus turning that GENTLEMAN'S FATE completely upside down...

According to cinematic legend, all the talkie MGM films starring John Gilbert were dreadful - the result of a bitter hatred between Gilbert (the highest paid star in Hollywood, with a $1.5 million contract) & studio boss Louis B. Mayer. A determination on Gilbert's part to fulfill the contract, and a campaign instituted by Mayer to destroy Gilbert's career - including spreading the rumor that Gilbert's voice was 'high & feminine', culminated in several unwatchable movies.

Not entirely true. The Studio had a huge financial investment in Jack Gilbert and was not going to completely cut its own throat by showcasing him in nothing but dreck. However, of the 8 MGM talkies in which he appeared as solo star (1929 - HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT; 1930 - REDEMPTION; WAY FOR A SAILOR; 1931 - GENTLEMAN'S FATE; THE PHANTOM OF Paris; WEST OF Broadway; 1932 - DOWNSTAIRS; 1933 - FAST WORKERS) most, including GENTLEMAN'S FATE, were rather ghastly.

Poor editing, a tawdry story line about unpleasant people, unattractive sets and a depressing climax all work together to sink the film. Poor Gilbert seems deflated, obviously embarrassed by appearing in such a poor film. His rather cold appearance & demeanor make it hard to sympathize with his character. What makes matters worse is that he is continually upstaged by Louis Wolheim, who actually gives a noteworthy performance as Gilbert's older, plug-ugly brother. (That these two could actually be siblings is one of the script's most unbelievable contrivances.)

Two lovely ladies, Leila Hyams & Anita Page, grace the film with their presence, but they are sadly wasted. Their romantic tribulations are meaningless to the audience because it is so difficult to warm up to Gilbert, the object of their affections. Paul Porcasi, Frank Reicher & John Miljan all strive to make their small roles meaningful, but they are largely defeated by the unforgiving script.

Marie Prevost has some good moments as a slatternly moll, but it is very sad to see her scenes with Gilbert. One is inevitably reminded that both their lives would be cut short by acute alcoholism, her final circumstances being especially atrocious.

Finally, about The Voice. There was nothing at all strange or unnaturally high about Gilbert's voice. As a matter of fact, it was of medium range & rather cultured & refined. That was the crux of the problem, of course. While it is possible that no voice could have ever matched the perfect one viewers heard in their minds while watching his strong, virile silent roles, the reality was very different from what they wanted to hear (imagine Robert Montgomery's voice coming out of Clark Gable's mouth.) Gilbert was doomed from his first scene in his debut talkie; his war with Mayer only intensified the agony. He would die in 1936, forgotten by most of his former fans, at the age of only 36.

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