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The Right of Way (1931)

TV-G | | Drama, Romance | 7 February 1931 (USA)
Snobbish attorney Charles 'Beauty' Steele loses his wife due to his drinking and his heirs at the same time that his brother-in-law absconds with funds belonging to one of Steele's clients.... See full summary »




(based on the novel by) (as Sir Gilbert Parker), (screen adaptation)


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Complete credited cast:
Rosalie Evantural
Joseph Portugais
Billy Wantage
Snitz Edwards ...
Luis Trudel
The Cure (as George Pearce)
The Siegneur (as Holliwell Hobbes)
Crown Attorney


Snobbish attorney Charles 'Beauty' Steele loses his wife due to his drinking and his heirs at the same time that his brother-in-law absconds with funds belonging to one of Steele's clients. In search of the thief, Steele is attacked and left for dead. He is rescued by a kindly couple, but suffers from amnesia. He starts life afresh and is happy, until the return of his memory sends him back to resolve his old involvements. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Drama | Romance






Release Date:

7 February 1931 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Apparatus)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reels #4221-4228 and #4138 (trailer) See more »


Yola d'Avrils character name onscreen is "Suzette," but she is called only 'Suzanne." See more »


Version of The Right of Way (1920) See more »


Nocturne No. 2 in E-Flat Minor, Op. 9 No.2
(1830-1) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Played on piano by Olive Tell
See more »

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User Reviews

I guess no one's read the book
31 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

To look at a movie from 1931 and say that it has over-the-top acting would be similar to some uncomplicated creature from the past looking at a modern movie and proclaiming too much sex and/or confusing action sequences. I'll place myself among the creatures of the past. Gilbert Parker's "The Right of Way" was performed on stage seven years before any of the movie releases. It comes off a little stagy, but didn't most of the early talkies?

The movie took the usual liberties with a novel, changing a few things here and there - then squeezing it into sixty-five minutes. However, the feel of the book is intact. Nagel's handsome looks and seemingly over-the-top acting personify "Beauty" Steele.

Though I cannot claim someone could have done this better, some of Nagel's best moments kept me riveted to the screen.

Loretta Young played her part well, but I was more impressed with Fred Kohler's performance, next to Conrad Nagel's. I think that had it been a longer movie it would have been very fitting to dwell more on the friendship of this former snob and this lowly, almost hermit-like man (Jo in the movie). There were a few sub-plots that came together very nicely, and I would have liked to have seen a little more of the aftermath that the book explains nicely.

There is much in here that is relevant to our modern society, as well as our very soul. There is much more in the book as well. The book is available freely online, but watch out for typos. I thought enough of the movie to buy a copy of the book, so that speaks for something.

It's easy to see why people feel the acting is a little much, but hey! I like Calamity Jane.

One nice thing about old movies is that you don't have scripts that play to the actors. Were a Tom Cruise (God forbid!) to be in this movie, I could imagine all sorts of personal asides and thinly veiled messages.

Lastly, this movie made me a fan of Nagel, though most of the rest of his serious work was already behind him.

Try to see a little more deeply into the monocle of Charles "Beauty" Steele and check out a wonderful romance book!

2 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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