6.8/10
155
17 user 2 critic

The Guilty Generation (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 19 November 1931 (USA)
A Romeo and Juliet love story between the son of a brutal Italian bootlegger and the daughter of his bitter ex-partner, who is engaged in a blood feud with his one-time friend.

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(from the play by), (from the play by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Leo Carrillo ...
Constance Cummings ...
Maria Palmero
...
Marco Ricca
Leslie Fenton ...
Joe Palmero
...
Tony Ricca
Emma Dunn ...
Nina Palmero
James Wilcox ...
Don Morley (as Jimmy Wilcox)
Elliott Rothe ...
Benedicto Ricca
Phil Tead ...
Skid
Fred Howard ...
Bradley (as Frederick Howard)
Eddie Boland ...
Willie
William H. O'Brien ...
Victor - Mike's Butler
Ruth Warren ...
Nellie Weaver
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Storyline

John Smith is a young architect who changed his name from Marco Ricca when he realized that being a notorious bootlegger's son was not likely to help his career. Maria Palmiero's father is also a bootlegger, and she's finding that the high society circles she wants to move in are not very welcoming to her. Naturally, John and Maria's fathers are waging a brutal gang war back in New York, and naturally John and Maria fall in love. The premise mirrors that of "Romeo and Juliet," but the plot doesn't, although the bodies do pile up. Written by Cameron Majidi <cmaj@prolifics.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

19 November 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Culpa dos Pais  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play was copyrighted as "The Windy City" on 24 September 1928. No major performances are known. See more »

Quotes

Mike Palmero: What these other girls got that Maria hasn't got?
Nellie Weaver: Respectable fathers. You think you can put Maria over like... tooth paste or chewing gum. You know, being your daughter is no cinch. I wouldn't want the job.
Mike Palmero: I don't wanta be your father either.
Nellie Weaver: Having me around is giving you a sense of humor, Mike.
Mike Palmero: Oh, yeah?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Pop Goes the Weasel
English nursery rhyme/folk song
[Played by party band]
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User Reviews

 
Underrated look behind the scenes of Prohibition's death throes
21 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Having looked at a few of the other reviews here, some of which predictably say this is a "pale imitation of Warner Bros. gangster pictures," I have to chime in with a dissenting opinion. Those more famous films, such as "Little Caesar" and "Public Enemy," with their iconic Edward G. Robinson and Jimmy Cagney, respectively, are a whole different type of animal; you're comparing apples and oranges. Those are the seminal action films, bad guy as antihero, cautionary tales about the ultimate end of reckless lawlessness.

"The Guilty Generation" focuses instead on the offspring of two of the biggest crime families involved in bootlegging. While a gang war whirls around the shoulders of Robert Young & Constance Cummings's characters they are trying to get away from the business, while each has a brother who's trying to follow in father's footsteps. Apt comparisons to "Romeo & Juliet" are made, and the similarities extend to the fact that both began life as a play before being made into films.

And that's probably part of the problem movie purists have with TGG. While the aforementioned WB pics are more action-oriented, with lots of shootouts and chases, TGG is more about the internal and intergang politics and the romance. They are also more "talky," which some people have a real problem with. In this case it works, IMO.

Leo Carillo & Boris Karloff play the heads of the families; in keeping with the early '30s, their accents are not accurate (see Jimmy Stewart as a Hungarian in "The Little Shop on the Corner" for one of thousands of examples of worse casting in this regard), but they do well personality-wise in their roles.

Don't overlook the secondary characters, such as Ms. Cummings's excellent Italian grandma and her father's press agent, who provide terrific support and comic relief.

Maybe it's just the fact that this one took me completely by surprise, but I'd rather see it again than any of the aforementioned films or even the more-similar "Godfather" pictures. It avoids the bloody shootouts of the latter, yet has more to do with the human beings affected by the action than the former, and it ultimately shows a prime example of when it's most correct for children to rebel against their parents. An interesting story, well acted, perfectly paced, and with even a couple of nice plot twists. I think it holds up quite well.


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