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A Successful Calamity (1932)

Henry Wilton is an elderly millionaire saddled with his selfish young second wife Emmy 'Sweetie' Wilton and a pair of spoiled grown children (Peggy and Eddie). To test his family's mettle, ... See full summary »

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(play), (adaptation) (as Maude Howell) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Peggy Wilton
...
Connors, Wilton's Butler
...
George Struthers, Peggy's Beau
William Janney ...
Eddie Wilton
...
Partington
...
Larry Rivers, the Polo Coach
Hale Hamilton ...
John Belde -\sWilton's Business Associate
...
Pietro Rafaelo, the Pianist
Oscar Apfel ...
President of the United States
Murray Kinnell ...
Alfred Curtis, The Broker
Harold Minjir ...
Watson, Eddie's Valet (as Harold Minjur)
Barbara Leonard ...
Pauline, The French Maid
Eula Guy ...
Jane, the Cook's Helper
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Storyline

Henry Wilton is an elderly millionaire saddled with his selfish young second wife Emmy 'Sweetie' Wilton and a pair of spoiled grown children (Peggy and Eddie). To test his family's mettle, Henry pretends to have gone broke. Just as he suspected they would, his children rally to their father's side and change their ways: Peggy forsakes the fortune hunter George Struthers for the nice young man she's really in love with, the polo coach Larry Rivers; while Eddie applies for a demanding job and performs admirably. Only Sweetie seems to desert Henry. Written by Robert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 September 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Calamidad con suerte  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play by Clare Kummer originally opened on Broadway at the Booth Theatre on 5 February 1917, and ran for 144 performances before closing for the summer (there was no air conditioning in those days). It then reopened on 10 October 1917 at the Plymouth Theatre. The opening night cast included Katharine Alexander, 'William Gillette', Estelle Winwood and Roland Young. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Arliss plays Rich Man, Poor Man
29 August 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

George Arliss is marvelous as a successful financial agent (Henry) who suffers "A Successful Calamity" of his own creation. He has two children, Evalyn Knapp (Peggy) and William Janney (Eddie). As his character states, he wisely picked younger Mary Astor for his second wife (Emmy), after becoming a widower. You can spot Randolph Scott as polo coach, wearing a "bull's-eye" striped cap.

When this film begins, Arliss is returning home from a successful business venture; he ls looking forward to catching up with the family. However, his wife and children are caught up in polo matches and socials. Then, he announces he is financially "Ruined!" How will the family take their imminent poverty?

Mr. Arliss commands the screen in a way few actors do (Greta Garbo may be a good comparison). He uses both big and slight glances and twitches of face and body. He uses intonation of voice and is obviously aware of camera positions and continuity. Arliss is magnificent at a stuffy piano recital (watch every movement!), and delightful simply drinking tea. Also, watch how he changes his acting ever-so slightly when he tells Ms. Astor they are penniless.

"The poor don't get to go very often." is a line to watch for - first as uttered in a conversation with loyal Butler Connors (Grant Mitchell, in perhaps the best of the film's supporting performances); the scene triggers Arliss' plan. With "A Successful Calamity", Arliss has selected a role which enables a commanding performance.

********* A Successful Calamity (1932) John G. Adolfi ~ George Arliss, Mary Astor, Grant Mitchell, Evalyn Knapp


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