6 user 3 critic

The Expert (1932)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | 5 March 1932 (USA)
An old yet spry man comes to Chicago to live with his son and daughter-in-law. Despite the old fellow's good intentions, he becomes a useless irritation to the couple. However, Grandpa ... See full summary »



(adapted from the play: "Minick" by), (adapted from the play: "Minick" by) | 2 more credits »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A woman tricks a playboy into marrying her and then tries to make him legitimately fall in love with her.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Ann Harding, William Powell, Lucile Browne
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An escaped convict tries to hide out at his former lover's house, but she has since married and is reluctant to help him.

Director: Robert Hamer
Stars: Googie Withers, Jack Warner, John McCallum
Illicit (1931)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young couple lives together out of wedlock, but they find that they're ahead of their time.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, James Rennie, Ricardo Cortez
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Kay Francis, Roland Young, Alan Dinehart
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A woman who owns a boarding house winds up being the "mother hen" to the assorted mobsters and racketeers who live there. When her foster son decides to take the blame for a murder that was... See full summary »

Director: John Francis Dillon
Stars: Billie Dove, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Helen Ware
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Unable to repay a substantial gambling debt to mob boss North, Alan Beckwith concocts a last-ditch scheme. Allowing North to take out a $100,000 insurance policy on his life, Alan agrees to... See full summary »

Director: Fred Niblo
Stars: William Boyd, James Gleason, Warner Oland
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A poor seamstress girl sours on her engagement to a grocery deliveryman after seeing her sister's abusive marriage. Trying to help her sister pay for a divorce lawyer, she turns to a rich playboy she met at work.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Marian Marsh, Anita Page, Regis Toomey
Le Plaisir (1952)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Three stories about the pleasure. The first one is about a man hiding his age behind a mask to keep going to balls and fancying women - pleasure and youth. Then comes the long tale of Mme ... See full summary »

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: Jean Gabin, Danielle Darrieux, Simone Simon
Gambling Lady (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Lady Lee, gambler's daughter, plies her trade while pondering the proposal of a social-register suitor.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Pat O'Brien
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A talented young actress seems to be under the spell of her unscrupulous, avaricious, and totally unprincipled husband.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Mary Astor, Ricardo Cortez
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Thomas Crimmins is a new warder, or guard, in an Irish prison. He is young, naive, and idealistic, determined to serve his country by his part in meting out justice to criminals. His ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Dreifuss
Stars: Patrick McGoohan, Sylvia Syms, Walter Macken
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Balkan Prince Henry has two wishes, to meet Lauren Bacall and see the "real" America. He befriends cabbie Buzz Williams and, without knowing the microphone is live, the two stage a debate ... See full summary »

Director: David Butler
Stars: Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson, Joan Leslie


Complete credited cast:
Charles 'Chic' Sale ...
Nettie Minick
Jim Crowley (as Ralf Harold)
Sadie Crowley
Earle Foxe ...
Fred Minick
Miss Crackenwald
Dorothea Wolbert ...
Annie (as Dorothy Wolbert)
Charles E. Evans ...
Hard of Hearing Grant Resident (as Charles Evans)


An old yet spry man comes to Chicago to live with his son and daughter-in-law. Despite the old fellow's good intentions, he becomes a useless irritation to the couple. However, Grandpa befriends a young orphan boy, whom he helps to set upon the straight and narrow path. He finds solace in this relationship and also in the company of elderly men who live in a home nearby. But the orphan boy's step-father hatches an evil plan that will soon upset the apple cart . . . Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 March 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Old Man Minick  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

See  »

Did You Know?


The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 24 September 1924 and closed in January 1925 after 141 performances. The opening night cast included O.P. Heggie as "Old Man Minick." See more »


Version of Welcome Home (1925) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Played in the score twice
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Weak drama, one good comedy scene
16 March 2004 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'The Expert' is based on a play titled 'Minick', and the name change is probably down to the fact that Chic Sale plays the leading role. For many years, Sale was a vaudeville monologist who did rural material about hicks and hillbillies. More importantly, Sale was also the author of a book called 'The Specialist', consisting entirely of cornpone jokes about outhouses. This book was a tremendous best-seller in the 1920s and '30s, to such an extent that its success eclipsed Chic Sale's career as a performer, and - in an era when many Americans still used outhouses - it became fairly prevalent to refer to an outhouse as a 'Chic Sale' ... in much the same way that, a few years later when Don Ameche starred in a film about Alexander Graham Bell, people thought it was funny to call a telephone an 'Ameche'.

Warner Brothers must have named this movie 'The Expert' so that its title would evoke Chic Sale's best-seller 'The Specialist', misleading audiences to believe that this film is a comedy. It's not; it's a sensitive character study.

John Minick (Sale) is a small-town man who's getting on in years. His son Fred and daughter-in-law Nettie prevail on Minick to live with them in Chicago. But there really isn't much room for him, what with Nettie's baby, and there isn't much money either. Minick has his life's savings: not much money, but he's able to keep his pride so long as his finances don't require him to live off Fred's meagre salary. Down the street there's a residence for old men who have nowhere else to live. Minick finds himself spending most of his time there, to socialise with men his own age and to give Fred and Nettie some privacy. It's clear that, if Minick outlives his life's savings, his only real option is the old-men's home. This being 1932, a year when many banks failed, it's quite understandable that Minick keeps his life's savings at home.

Next-door over to Fred and Nettie live the Crowleys, a married couple who have adopted a boy named Dickie Foster. (Why did the orphan's name have to be Foster? I kept expecting jokes about him being a 'Foster' son.) The Crowleys are a couple of Fagins, who are raising Dickie to share their criminal ways. Old Minick befriends young Dickie, and tries to be a good influence on him.

Then, one day, Minick discovers that his life's savings have vanished. Has young Dickie betrayed the old man? If not, who stole the money? Either way: with Minick's savings gone, the old-men's home beckons...

This is an engrossing story and a serious one, not at all the sort of material we expect from playwright George S. Kaufman. Apart from some wisecracking dialogue, the comedy in 'The Expert' is largely confined to one set-piece scene, in which Minick antagonises the stuffy women of a civic organisation with his views on child-rearing.

Chic Sale acquits himself well in both the dramatic and comedic aspects of his role. There are good performances from Elizabeth Patterson and Walter Catlett, and an unfortunate 'yassuh' performance from black actress Louise Beavers, who was typecast in such roles. In the important role of Dickie Foster, child actor Dickie Moore is in over his depth. I once interviewed Dick (formerly Dickie) Moore well into his adult years, when he was running a public-relations firm in New York City. He spoke to me in detail about his many experiences as a child actor working with some of Hollywood's biggest directors and actors. Much as I'm grateful for his kindness, I was never impressed with Moore's performances on screen ... and 'The Expert' features Dickie Moore at his twee worst. I can't rate this movie higher than 5 out of 10.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: