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Rich Man's Folly (1931)

The dream of Paul Dombey, the wealthy owner of the shipping company, is to have a son to continue his business. Tragically, Dombey's wife dies shortly after giving birth to their son.



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Credited cast:
Brock Trumbull
Ann Trumbull
Joe Warren
Paula Norcross
Brock Junior
Dorothy Peterson ...
Katherine Trumbull
Harry Allen ...
Anne, as a child (as Dawn O'Day)
George MacFarlane ...
William Arnold
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


The dream of Paul Dombey, the wealthy owner of the shipping company, is to have a son to continue his business. Tragically, Dombey's wife dies shortly after giving birth to their son.

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based on novel | See All (1) »







Release Date:

14 November 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Audácia  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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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 »


Version of Dombey and Son (1919) See more »

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User Reviews

"One day Father, you'll have nothing to smash but yourself"!!
17 November 2015 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

George Bancroft's larger than life personality made him a perfect silent gangster and when talkies revealed his beautiful speaking voice his career thrived. But along the way he had developed a massive ego (one story went that in a shooting scene he refused to lie down, shouting "It takes more than one bullet to kill Bancroft"!!), he came to believe his screen persona. So even though he had a few more outstanding performances in him, the film offers were just not there after 1931. "Rich Man's Folly" was based on Charles Dicken's forgotten novel "Dombey and Son" and George had a tailor made role as a ruthless ship builder who fails to see the worth in his young daughter until it is almost too late!!

Brock Trumbull (Bancroft) finally gets his longed for wish of a son but at such a cost. His wife's (Dorothy Peterson) dying words puts her feelings into perspective - she thinks that no-one has been considered in Brock's relentless quest for a son. They already have a lovely daughter Anne (first Dawn O'Day, then Frances Dee) who he completely ignores and whose secret wish "I think my brother will love me" comes true with a vengeance. Brock Jnr. (David Durand) is sickly and sensitive and turns to the gentle Anne as a kindred spirit. It is obvious he is not going to be a formidable "And Son" that the father is hoping. As in the book there is the prophetic "what is money" conversation - just before Brock Jnr has to give a speech in the rain and of course he doesn't survive!!

"Dombey and Son" was a huge, rambling novel. In the book, the quirky Paul touches many people who, in their turn, are enchanted by Frances. In the movie the love Anne finds with Joe Warren (Robert Ames) a ship-building competitor, allows her to blossom in confidence and her explosive speech about the faults of her father prove a real eye-opener to Paula (Juliette Compton), Brock Snr's tarty new wife. This was a superb role for Bancroft - he got many emotion packed scenes, maybe the best one happened at the cemetery where he hears Anne's heartfelt reply to Joe's apology for reducing her to poverty. She may be poor materially but not in love which is the first time she has ever experienced it - her father is hiding among the bushes and it is a revelation to him!!

Frances Dee was a real find, both pictorially and talent wise. She married Joel McCrea a couple of years later and suddenly her career didn't seem so important anymore but in quite a few of her early films she was given chances to show there was a lot of talent within her and she always came through. Robert Ames had the very supporting role of Joe Warner. He had been a stage actor, appearing opposite Ruth Chatterton in "Come Out of the Kitchen" but this was almost his last film. He was an alcoholic (he look haggard in this one) and had died by the end of the year.

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