7.9/10
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17 user 12 critic

Downstairs (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 8 May 1933 (Denmark)
An amoral chauffeur seeks to seduce a young bride.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(story), (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

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Airs Sat. Jul. 09, 10:00 PM on TCM

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Albert, the Baron's Butler
...
Anna, Albert's Wife
...
Countess De Marnac
...
Baron 'Nicky' von Burgen
...
Baroness Eloise von Burgen
Bodil Rosing ...
Sophie, the Cook
Otto Hoffman ...
Otto, the Wine Cellar Caretaker
Lucien Littlefield ...
Françoise, a Drunken Servant
Marion Lessing ...
Antoinette, Maid to the Countess
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Storyline

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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 May 1933 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Der schöne Karl  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Karl Schneider: They do tickle, don't they?
Anna, Albert's Wife: What does?
Karl Schneider: Albert's sideburns!
[both laugh giddily]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Du, Du Liegst Mir im Herzen
Traditional German folksong
Played in a cafe
Also sung a cappella by Bodil Rosing while bathing
See more »

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User Reviews

entertaining drama of below stairs
30 April 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Downstairs' is a curio; rarely seen, bombing at the time - possibly because of the change of image of John Gilbert, known as one of the silent screen's great romantic heroes and desperately trying to make good after the disaster of the previous year's 'His Glorious Night'. Here, Karl is an amoral and coarse creation, unfeeling and a louse - and Gilbert plays him brilliantly. A pity then that this film is all but forgotten.

Alongside him in the cast are Paul Lukas (slightly wooden as Albert the butler) and Gilbert's future wife, Virginia Bruce (an excellent performance as Albert's young bride, Anna, who lets her guard down and find she likes it), along with Reginald Owen (still going strong and as effective years later, and pretty good here) and Olga Baclanova (nicely judged as the guilty mistress of the house; this was her first movie after the controversial 'Freaks'), Hedda Hopper (a brief but entertaining appearance as Karl's previous employer), and Bodil Rosing (memorable as the daft ageing cook, Sophie).

'Downstairs', developed into a film from John Gilbert's original story, is a fairly run-of-the-mill story of masters and servants for the most part, but the scenes between Karl and Anna have a raw power that makes the film stand out from others of the period. There's no romance in this servants' hall; everyone is really out for what they can get.




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