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Release Date:
10 June 1932 (USA) See more »
In her innocence she expected days and nights of tender love. What she got was a Bitter Shock!
A drunken newspaperman is rescued from his alcoholic haze by an heiress whose love sobers him up and encourages him to write a play, but he lapses back into dipsomania. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(2 articles)
DVD Playhouse: April 2009
 (From The Hollywood Interview. 11 April 2009, 11:58 AM, PDT)

The Art of Trash: An Interview with Viva filmmaker Anna Biller
 (From Fangoria. 22 February 2009, 12:18 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
Precode directed by Dorothy Arzner See more (9 total) »


  (in credits order)

Sylvia Sidney ... Joan Prentice

Fredric March ... Jerry Corbett
Adrianne Allen ... Claire Hempstead
Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... Buck (as Skeets Gallagher)

George Irving ... Mr. Prentice
Esther Howard ... Vi
Florence Britton ... Charlcie
Charles Coleman ... Richard Damery

Cary Grant ... Charlie Baxter / 'DeBrion' in play
Kent Taylor ... Gregory 'Greg' Boleslavsky
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adrienne Ames ... Minor Role (unconfirmed)
Ernie Adams ... Reporter (uncredited)
Mildred Boyd ... June (uncredited)
Leonard Carey ... Prentice's Butler (uncredited)
Harry Cording ... Fred - Bartender (uncredited)
Milla Davenport ... Prentice's Housekeeper (uncredited)
Neal Dodd ... Minister (uncredited)
Jay Eaton ... Friend (uncredited)
Bill Elliott ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Robert Greig ... Baritone Bartender (uncredited)
Theresa Harris ... Powder Room Attendant (uncredited)
LeRoy Mason ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Edwin Maxwell ... Jake Symonds (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Waiter (uncredited)
Dennis O'Keefe ... Wedding Usher (uncredited)
Tom Ricketts ... Wedding Spectator (uncredited)
Pat Somerset ... Friend (uncredited)
Harry Strang ... Taxicab Driver (uncredited)
Gordon Westcott ... Party Boy (uncredited)

Directed by
Dorothy Arzner 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Cleo Lucas  novel "I Jerry Take Thee, Joan"
Edwin Justus Mayer 

Original Music by
Rudolph G. Kopp (uncredited)
John Leipold (uncredited)
Cinematography by
David Abel 
Film Editing by
Jane Loring (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
78 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Did You Know?

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.See more »
Jerry Corbett:[Drunkenly] At the moment we're looking for a baritone.
Fred - Bartender:[Taking offense] I don't allow them in the place!
Jerry Corbett:[In unison with Buck and Claire] You don't?
[They leave]
See more »
On the banks of the Wabash Far AwaySee more »


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Precode directed by Dorothy Arzner, 13 January 2015
Author: blanche-2 from United States

Frederick March and Sylvia Sidney star in "Merrily We Go to Hell," from 1932.

For those of us who only remember Sylvia Sidney as an older character actress -- and usually a pretty mouthy one at that -- seeing her as an ingénue is always a revelation.

Jerry Corbett (March) is a reporter and a drunk, still pining for the woman who broke his heart, Claire (Adrienne Allen). When he meets the lovely Joan Prentice (Sidney) from a wealthy family, the two fall for one another and marry.

Jerry wants to write plays, and he eventually is able to have one produced, early in the marriage. Unfortunately, one of the stars is Claire, and she's perfectly willing to take up where they left off. Jerry starts drinking again. Joan is heartbroken as well as hurt and starts drinking and partying herself. Finally, though, she returns to her father's home.

Nothing too surprising in the plot, but good performances all around. Sidney is pretty and vulnerable, taking a chance on a man her father disapproves of but whom she loves. March shows that Jerry is a weak man who in his heart doesn't believe he deserves the happiness he's had with Joan. Can these two find their way back to one another? Just guess.

Dorothy Arzner had a good sense of pacing, so the film doesn't drag or slow down. Worth seeing for the actors, not necessarily the story.

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