IMDb > Downstairs (1932)

Downstairs (1932) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   1,215 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
John Gilbert (story)
Lenore J. Coffee (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Downstairs on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 May 1933 (Denmark) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
At the wedding of Albert and Anna, Karl, the new chauffeur, arrives. Albert is the head butler, second generation to the Baron... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Terrific Pre-Code See more (16 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Gilbert ... Karl Schneider

Paul Lukas ... Albert, the Baron's Butler

Virginia Bruce ... Anna, Albert's Wife

Hedda Hopper ... Countess De Marnac

Reginald Owen ... Baron 'Nicky' von Burgen

Olga Baclanova ... 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
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Torben Meyer ... Cafe Waiter (uncredited)
Karen Morley ... Karl's New Employer (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Cafe Proprietor (uncredited)
Nicholas Soussanin ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Ellinor Vanderveer ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Michael Visaroff ... Servant (uncredited)

Directed by
Monta Bell (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
John Gilbert (story)

Lenore J. Coffee (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee) and
Melville Baker (screenplay)

Produced by
Monta Bell .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Harold Rosson 
 
Film Editing by
Conrad A. Nervig 
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry Sharrock .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
77 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:

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:
Sophie, the Cook:[to Karl] You've got flour on your whatchamacallit!See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Complicated Women (2003) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Lullaby (Cradle Song)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Terrific Pre-Code, 31 August 2010
Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY

Downstairs (1932)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Brutally honest and at times shocking Pre-Code about a chauffeur (John Gilbert) who gets one job after another only to blackmail both the rich as well as the poor servants. His latest job has him falling for a married woman (Virginia Bruce) who just happens to be married to the main servant (Paul Lukas). The con man begins to dig up dirt on the rich folks in the house so that he can swindle them and take off with the beautiful wife. Soon everyone in the house is being held hostage by the gossip and rumors started by the man. It's well known that Gilbert wrote the story to this thing and sold it to MGM for a single dollar so that they'd agree to make it. I've seen hundreds, if not thousands, of movies from this era and I must say that this here is without question one of the most unique, strange and downright bizarre of them all. While watching the movie it keeps you off guard as you never really know where it's going to go next but there's no question that it has one surprise after another and the story itself is brave enough to go in many directions no matter what the outcome. One example of this is an elderly cook who has pretty much given her life as a servant and managed to save up a lot of money, which of course Gilbert goes after. The Pre-Code material goes as far as having Gilbert seduce her and then verbally abuse her in such a way that you can't help but feel incredibly bad but at the same time shocked. What's even more shocking is that Gilbert allows his character to be even darker and meaner. There's no question that Gilbert's "power" was on its way down but it still took quite a bit of guts for someone of his stature to play a role like this. His performance here is incredibly good because he's so cold during the bad parts yet he's also so charming and warm during the scenes where he's taking advantage of people. One can't help but think this is exactly how this type of person would be and Gilbert nails it without any troubles. The performance is certainly the best I've seen from him and I'd say it's one of the most memorable villains from this era of Hollywood. Gilbert's then wife Bruce is terrific here as well as her abused character is so full and rich in detail that you can't help but feel as if you know her and feel the pain she's going through as she has to fight off the abuse from Gilbert but also the abuse she feels from her husband. Lukas is magnificent as the husband who has a strange loyalty to his employers who he feels more for than his actual wife. Bodil Rosing is terrific as the elderly woman who gets taken advantage of. I think a lot of people, even those familiar with Pre-Codes, will be shocked at how raw this movie is. The final fifteen-minutes contain some intense drama and an outrageous scenario but it works so incredibly well that you can't help but really respect the film. The movie is very adult in nature and the marvelous performances makes this a must-see for any film fan.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (16 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Downstairs (1932)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
last line cburbach-622-540619
"You've got flour on your whatchamacallit!" kelkyl
Available on Warner Archive Instant Streaming ekelks-2
DVD STUPOR
Being Screened in NYC July 20 charcas67
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Rules of the Game Ossessione Giant Cousin Bette Gone with the Wind
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.