At the wedding of Albert and Anna, Karl, the new chauffeur, arrives. Albert is the head butler, second generation to the Baron. Karl soon seems out of place as a servant, and Albert tells ... See full summary »
At the wedding of Albert and Anna, Karl, the new chauffeur, arrives. Albert is the head butler, second generation to the Baron. Karl soon seems out of place as a servant, and Albert tells him so. But Karl is a cad. Whenever he gets the chance, he will try to seduce Anna, who is not wise in the ways of the world. He lies without question if it is to his advantage and charms money out of Sophie, the old cook. He disrupts the household and then blackmails the Baroness to keep from being sacked. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Gilbert wanted to do this movie so badly he sold the story to MGM for $1.00. Ads for the movie proclaimed "starring Mr. and Mrs. John Gilbert" since the couple was married shortly after the production completed filming. See more »
John Gilbert was the highest paid actor in Hollywood in 1929, the year silent films breathed their last. By 1933 he was through with movies and by 1935 he was dead. Lots of people believe bad things about him, mainly that he had a high squeaky voice or that he was a ham who couldn't adjust to talkies. In "Downstairs" he proves that both of these myths are false. The film is a splendid little drama--"little" being the only kind of movie MGM would cast him in by then--about a scheming chauffeur who blackmails or steals from practically everybody at the mansion he works at. Paul Lukas, years from stardom, plays the head butler, and Virginia Bruce (who married Gilbert in real life) plays the butler's new bride. The script and story are flawless, and Gilbert, playing very much against type, shines as the amoral chauffeur. "Downstairs" is a sophisticated drama that could not have been made a few years later after the censors cracked down on Hollywood, but more importantly, it is a testament to John Gilbert, who might have had a successful career in the talkies if he had been given a chance.
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