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Prestige (1932)

Passed  -  Adventure | Drama  -  22 January 1932 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 146 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

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Title: Prestige (1932)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ann Harding ...
Therese Du Flos
...
Capt. Remy Bandoin
...
Capt. Andre Verlaine
Ian Maclaren ...
Colonel Du Flos (as Ian MacLaren)
Guy Bates Post ...
Major
Rollo Lloyd ...
Capt. Emil de Fontenac
...
Nham
Tetsu Komai ...
Sergeant
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Storyline

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 January 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prestigio  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Local girl Eunice Coleman was hired as Ann Harding's photo double, leading to much coverage in the local press. Coleman, who had training as a circus performer, did some stunt work with elephants for the film. See more »

Quotes

Therese Du Flos Verlaine: [as Therese prepares to leave for French Indochina, she says goodbye to her father, the Colonel] Aren't you going to let me forget just for five minutes that I'm a soldier's daughter?
Col. Du Flos: From now on, you'll have to remember it more than ever. You're going out to marry André, but that is not enough. You'll live in a place where it is impossible to live; you'll make your home where no home can be. Have you sufficient strength for that?
Therese Du Flos Verlaine: I hope so, sir.
Col. Du Flos: I believe you have, but so has the jungle. Don't ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Etude in E Op.10 No.3
(1832) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Played on piano by Ann Harding
See more »

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User Reviews

 
when racism was acceptable
9 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For those interested in prevailing (or at least socially acceptable) American attitudes toward Third World colonial territories and non-white races in 1932, this film is a potent educational tool. Melvyn Douglas plays a French army officer who is assigned to supervise a prison camp in the boonies of Indochina, the inmates of which seem to spend half their time drinking and gambling and the other half lying on their backs in a barracks with their feet manacled. Douglas, whose character disintegrates into alcoholism from the relentless heat, humidity, isolation and boredom of his post, leaps from one emotional state to the next; he hits each note with power and gusto, but there is no gradation between the notes, giving his behavior an unstable, almost schizophrenic effect; one wonders if this was the fault of the script, the director, the editor or Douglas himself. Ann Harding as the sweetheart who follows him to Indochina and Adolphe Menjou as a rival French officer deliver their standard performances. Director Tay Garnett indulges in frequent tracking shots and almost constant dollying and wobbling around furniture, doorways, mirrors or whatever is available. Yet somehow the film has a sluggish feel. The soundtrack of the print I saw on TCM has deteriorated so that some dialogue exchanges are difficult to understand.

Early on Ian MacLaren as Harding's father (also an army officer) explains to her that the most important thing to remember while in Indochina is the "prestige" of the white race. This concept echoes throughout the film as Harding repeatedly reminds Douglas to keep his head up, i.e., physically embody his racial prestige. Indochina itself, as represented on what must be the RKO-Pathe back lot, is populated mostly by not only Asians but also by other non-white races. Douglas's personal servant (Charles Muse) is black. Perhaps the French, for their own reasons, shuffled their non-white subjects from one colony to another or the filmmakers ran out of Asian extras and thought any other non-Caucasians would do as "natives." For tropical atmosphere, there is the inevitable brief shot of crocodiles plopping into a river as well as a shot of a swarm of ants on a table where Harding has left an open box of chocolates (why the candy hadn't melted to syrup in the umpteen hours/days she has been traveling upriver in the tropics is not explained). Toward the end, during a mutiny, Douglas manages to intimidate an armed, seething mob by holding his head up, removing his gun and marching through them, swiping various menacing individuals on the face with his whip, causing them to draw back. For some reason never made clear, there are repeated shots of natives operating a huge water wheel; it's picturesque. All of the characters except Harding and Menjou are seen sweating profusely in every shot. Strange, because these two actors are the most overdressed for the climate.


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