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William A. Wellman
Helen Jerome Eddy
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William A. Wellman
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William A. Wellman
Edward G. Robinson,
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 <email@example.com>
"Skyscraper Souls" is something of a poor man's "Grand Hotel." Instead of the Barrymore brothers, Greta Garbo, Wallace Beery, and Joan Crawford, we get Warren William, Jean Hersholt, Hedda Hopper, and Maureen O'Sullivan, but as was often the case in the 30s, MGM's second team plays as well as their first.
For all its stars, "Grand Hotel" now seems pretty creaky and its characters generally not very engaging. The Weimar Berlin setting doesn't help matters; you can almost feel the sense of decay and resignation. "Skyscraper" is it's polar opposite. Although New York is in the grip of the Great Depression, you can't help but be swept up in the picture's vitality. The market may be crashing, but people haven't lost their spunk, especially William's ruthless tycoon, who's just thrown up a 100 story building - try finding one of those in Berlin.
"Skyscraper" moves at a fast pace and its multiple plot lines mesh together quite well. Although it was made 70 years ago, both the financial and romantic entanglements seem very modern. Dave Dwight certainly would be at home in today's board room and most of the women come across as surprisingly contemporary. They aren't exactly feminists, but these girls don't take things lying down.
Highly recommended to film buffs, students of the Depression era, and anyone who enjoys modern melodrama.
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