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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 <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 »
"Downstairs" opens with the wedding of servants Albert (Paul Lukas) and his new wife Anna (Virginia Bruce). The story was written by, and stars, John Gilbert as Karl Schneider, the chauffeur who never stays at one plays too long. We learn at the wedding that he had been previously employed by "the Countess" (Hedda Hopper, in a small part). Throw in Reginald Owen as "the Baron" and you've got a story about the class differences, love, deceit, and intrigue, similar to the British series "Upstairs, Downstairs". Karl, the chauffeur, starts out as a suave, charming guy, but we quickly learn he isn't such a nice guy. There's also an interesting mix of accents here. Paul Lukas and "the Baroness" (Olga Baclanova) both have strong Hungarian accents. Reginald Owen is quite British, and both Gilbert and Bruce have pretty plain, flat American accents. Good story, good acting. Funny scene with Francoise, the drunk servant. Too bad Gilbert died so young - it all seemed to go downhill when he was dumped by Greta Garbo.
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