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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:
...
Henry Wilton
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Emmy 'Sweetie' Wilton
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Peggy Wilton
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Connors, Wilton's Butler
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George Struthers, Peggy's Beau
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Eddie Wilton
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Partington
...
Larry Rivers, the Polo Coach
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John Belde -\sWilton's Business Associate
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Pietro Rafaelo, the Pianist
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President of the United States
...
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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Release Date:

17 September 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Calamidad con suerte  »

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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

 
Good early film on wealth and families
6 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

George Arliss was a senior stage and movie actor by the time sound came to motion pictures. But in "A Successful Calamity", he shows why he was one of the leading actors of his time that included the first three decades of filmdom. He still has a touch of the hammy in this film, where he seems to pan for the camera with subtle glances or short stops. Those were trademarks of silent films. Actors had to emote more in facial expressions and physical gestures to convey the scene's story sans sound. That was true also, though less obviously, for stage plays. But his panning in "A Successful Calamity" isn't so serious that it detracts from the film. Instead, we begin to see the great actor who was a master at conveying moods, thoughts, and feelings by his expressions and facial movements.

Arliss was British. He made most of his silent films in England, but most of his films with sound in Hollywood. In this film, Arliss plays a prominent financier, Henry Wilton. He has a fine supporting cast that includes Mary Astor as his young wife, Emmy "Sweetie," Evalyn Knapp as daughter Peggy, and William Janney as son Eddie. Some other actors – a young Randolph Scott as a polo coach, Grant Mitchell as Wilton's butler, and others add nice flavor to the film. But the heart of this movie is Wilton and his family.

The plot is very good. Arliss and Astor are excellent in their roles, but the acting of the youngsters in this film is pretty amateurish. The production qualities suffer some. Still, it's a good family story that should delight most movie buffs. To paraphrase Wilton in a scene toward the end, one never had so much fun as when one had so little to distract himself or herself from the important things in life. This is a nice film with a nice tale. Because Arliss was already a senior (age 64 in 1932) at the time of this film, he would only be in movies a few more years.


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