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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
This is John Gilbert's best talkie--a scathing drama about a man who'll use anyone to get ahead. Aside from being a tight drama, the film is important as the best of Gilbert's dozen or so talkies and also because it proves for anyone who has seen it, that the advent of talkies did not kill his film career because his voice was effeminate. Hollywood legend, never very accurate, has it that Gilbert's blazing film carrer was doused by his first talkie (His Romantic Night). Not true. The rude technology may have hurt his performance--as it did with many crossover stars--but his voice was not the problem. In Downstairs, Gilbert took a big chance in playing a non-romantic part, a part that shows off his acting chops. While the cook pleads with him not to throw her over, Gilbert casually picks his nose and wipes it on his pants--astounding for 1932. The film did not save John Gilbert's career, but it stands as proof of his talent. What a shame other forces were at work to ruin him. (drednm)
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