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Skyscraper Souls (1932)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 16 July 1932 (USA)
An entrepreneur will let nothing stand in his way of acquiring a 100-story office building.



(novel), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Gregory Ratoff ...
Verree Teasdale ...
George Barbier ...
Ella Dwight
Helen Coburn ...
John Marston ...


Aspirations and the lives of several people working at the gigantic Seacoast National Bank Building interweave in various plots. The most notable character is David Dwight, the womanizing bank owner who keeps his estranged wife happy by paying for her extravagant globetrotting. Dwight's long time secretary Sarah yearns for them to divorce so her affair with him can be legitimized. Sarah shows her good side by playing mother to the young innocent Lynn Harding, who she employs as an assistant. Beautiful Miss Harding is relentlessly pursued by extroverted bank teller Tom Sheppard, but he is frustrated when Dwight lures her away with power and wealth. Then Dwight ruins everyone's finances in a successful bid to get full control of his skyscraper by manipulating the company's stock price. Now there doesn't appear to be anyone who can prevent the power monger from taking advantage of the ingenue Harding-or is there? Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 July 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Skyscraper  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During filming of "The Mask of Fu Manchu," Boris Karloff took time off to contribute a cameo to this film, seen at the 20 minute mark approaching a ticket counter as Norman Foster takes his leave. The camera immediately cuts away once the actor appears, so the purpose behind his cameo seems to have been deleted. See more »


'Ham' Hamilton: I'll come to your funeral.
David 'Dave' Dwight: Be sure I'm in the casket before you bring any lilies.
'Ham' Hamilton: I'll bring thistles.
See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: The Wolverine (2013) See more »


Metropolitan March
Music by Hugo Frey
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User Reviews

One of Maureen O'Sullivan's best films
12 June 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Back in the early 30's, Maureen O'Sullivan was the quintessential "good girl who wants to be bad", which is to say, she seemed prim and proper on the surface, but a powerfully sexy woman lay right underneath that surface, who would only come out for the right guy--or sometimes the wrong guy.

Though she is not exactly the star of this movie, she did get second billing after Warren William, in spite of being so new to the motion picture biz. This was probably in response to her having appeared as Jane in the first Weissmuller Tarzan film, not long before. That remains her best role--she is essentially the protagonist in the first two Tarzan movies--she's the one who is changing, casting aside the sexual mores of her society, and joining Tarzan in his idyllic state of noble savagery.

In the urban jungle of "Skyscraper Souls", she plays a less idyllic character, wanting to enjoy both sexual passion and social respectability, along with a decent income. Nobody can offer her everything she wants, so she's left with two imperfect choices--the poor young clerk she likes, who will offer marriage. And the sexy ruthless tycoon she REALLY likes, who will take her as his "ward" (that is to say, his mistress) and possibly cast her aside in a decade or so, assuming he isn't too old to care by that point. Of course, she'd be set for life, even if that happened. But by the point in the film where she gives into him, she almost seems past caring about that. She's tried to follow the rules, and society has only penalized her for it. The man who supposedly loves her doesn't trust her, and she's feeling powerfully drawn to David Dwight, who understands her perfectly, and doesn't stand in judgment of anybody--least of all himself. He's a bastard, who destroys people to get what he wants--but he doesn't pretend to be anything else. He doesn't care about respectability or morality. Very few rich men truly do, but most like to at least pretend.

This pre-code film has it both ways, regarding the denouement of this particular sub-plot--you can, if you wish, believe that Lynn is saved from the proverbial Fate Worse Than Death, by the not entirely selfless intervention of her friend, Dwight's former mistress. But in truth, a number of days have passed since Lynn gave in to Dwight's advances, she seems awfully comfortable in his embrace, she's wearing clothes he bought for her, and is obviously living in his penthouse. Dwight is not the kind of man who is going to wait until he gets her on the yacht to have his pleasure. He's already gotten what he--and she--wanted. Even in the pre-code era, this is a bit too subversive, which is why the movie deftly clouds the issue of whether they've had sex or not. But there can be no doubt of her eagerness--by this point, she wouldn't leave Dwight for the bank clerk, even if the clerk could offer her everything she asked for.

With Dwight gone, she'll marry her bank clerk, and raise a family, and perhaps count herself lucky to have gotten to experience a bit of the high life before settling down. But one wonders if the bank clerk will end up wondering why their first kid doesn't look like him. I'm reading a great deal into this, of course. I really hated the bank clerk, btw.


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