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State's Attorney (1932)

Approved | | Drama | 20 May 1932 (USA)
Attorney Tom Cardigan is the discontented "mouthpiece" for Vanny Powers' mob. When Tom takes sweet June Perry as his mistress, she tries in vain to redeem him. But Powers decides Tom would ... See full summary »

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(story), | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
June Perry
...
Lillian Ulrich
...
Valentine 'Vanny' Powers (as William Boyd)
...
Nora Dean
...
Attorney Grey
...
Mr. Ulrich
...
Defense Attorney
Albert Conti ...
Mario
Frederick Burton ...
The Judge
...
Captain Morgan
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Storyline

Attorney Tom Cardigan is the discontented "mouthpiece" for Vanny Powers' mob. When Tom takes sweet June Perry as his mistress, she tries in vain to redeem him. But Powers decides Tom would be even more useful to him as District Attorney, which he arranges with surprising ease...despite Tom's warning that "if I go on the other side, I'll stay there." Soon, Tom's ambition leads him to ditch June for the daughter of political boss Ulric. The crisis arrives when Powers goes on trial for a killing...witnessed by June. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Invincible At Law... Irresistable At Love!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 May 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Última Acusação  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The story was supposedly based on the life of defense attorney William J. Fallon, who successfully defended 126 homicide cases. See more »

Goofs

Later in the movie, when June Perry is brought into Cardigan's office as Jane Doe, he calls her Joan, instead of June. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sidewalks of New York
(uncredited)
Music by Charles Lawlor (1894)
Strains played during opening credits
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User Reviews

 
John Barrymore is very good but the courtroom hysterics are downright embarrassing.
24 January 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

According to IMDb, John Barrymore's character in "State's Attorney" was based on a real attorney, dapper William J. Fallon. How close the character is to Fallon, I have no idea--though I strongly suspect that Fallon's story and this one are very, very different. This is because there are LOTS of hysterics in this one--so many that you just cannot believe the film has any semblance to real life.

The film begins with Barrymore playing Attorney Tom Cardigan. Cardigan seems to be perpetually inebriated--a role to which Barrymore was well suited. However, despite his drinking*, he is an expert attorney who always seems to win. So, he's a valuable asset to mobsters and other low-lifes who need him to help them beat the rap. In the process of doing his job, he meets a woman (Helen Twelvetrees) and they fall in love. While the film never comes out and says it, it's strongly implied that she becomes his mistress.

Surprisingly, his mobster friend has an idea--make Cardigan the State's Attorney where he can be even more helpful to the mob. However, it soon becomes apparent that Cardigan means to do this job well--and not use it as a revolving door for criminals. Cardigan now is interested more in becoming the next governor as opposed to becoming a rich, satisfied lawyer. What's next? See the film.

Because it's a film about lawyers, it's not surprising there are several courtroom scenes. However, to me this was the low point of the film as too often the proceedings became ridiculously melodramatic and shrill. Folks on the witness stand begin screaming their guilt, women break down and cry and, ultimately, Cardigan makes speeches instead of defends or prosecutes. It's a shame, as Barrymore was a fine actor but these scenes tend to bring down the overall quality of the movie. Fair but it sure should have been a lot better.


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