Henry Wilton is an elderly millionaire saddled with his selfish young second wife Emmy 'Sweetie' Wilton and a pair of spoiled grown children (Peggy and Eddie). To test his family's mettle, ... See full summary »
The police find the body of hostess Helen Howard (Wanda McKay), disposed of by petty racketeer Nick Mantee (Kane Richmond) after she was shot in his Bluejay night club by Benny Nordick (... See full summary »
An airplane carrying three Brits--Major Crespin, his wife Lucille, and Dr. Trahern--crash lands in the kingdom of Rukh. The Rajah holds them prisoner because the British are about to ... See full summary »
First and foremost, "The Man Who Played God" (1932) is not a Bette Davis vehicle. She was still a few years away from receiving top billing and graduating into 'A' pictures. However, the mere fact that she's in this overlooked and forgotten film will only push it into wider circulation and rapidly increase its number of viewers. So much has already been said about her, there's very little one can add to further compliment her. Personally, I think she gave some of her best performances in these early 1930s B programmers for Warner Bros. Sure, the material wasn't nearly as good, which only made her performances stand out all the more. But Bette Davis has little to do with what stands out about this movie.
After losing his hearing, a well-loved and respected piano player (George Arliss) becomes a recluse. He rejects most of his old friends and companions, and is cruel to the few he does see. He learns to read lips, but grows more and more depressed at the same time. And finally when he has hit rock bottom, he finds a purpose in his life,... philanthropy. Putting aside his own problems and selfishness, his salvation comes from helping others. This is a theme that would recur over and over again to varying degrees in the Depression era 30s (especially in Frank Capra's movies).
The other thing of interest here is the act of voyeurism. Through the aid of binoculars, he's able to read lips, and essentially, spy on everyday New Yorker's. One can't help but wonder if this little movie may have had some influence or have been the basis for the idea of Cornell Woolrich's short story "It Had to Be Murder", which would be eventually adapted into Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" (1954).
This movie, is, by no means a masterpiece, but its still an important one. With so many interesting ideas going on here, its well worth the watch.
10 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?