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Tess of the Storm Country (1932)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  20 November 1932 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 30 users  
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When Captain Howland decides that his daughter Tess is getting a bit to old to continue to go to sea with him, they move into a small cottage on the coast of Maine, but not for long. A ... See full summary »



(novel), (play), 4 more credits »
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Title: Tess of the Storm Country (1932)

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Complete credited cast:
Frederick Garfield Jr
Dudley Digges ...
Captain Howland
June Clyde ...
Teola Garfield
Claude Gillingwater ...
Frederick Garfield Sr
George Meeker ...
Dan Taylor
Sarah Padden ...
Old Martha
Edward Pawley ...
Ben Letts
Professor Peppy ...
Peppy the Monkey


When Captain Howland decides that his daughter Tess is getting a bit to old to continue to go to sea with him, they move into a small cottage on the coast of Maine, but not for long. A local millionaire, Frederick Garfield, lays a false claim to the property and has them evicted. Later, when Tess saves a young man about her age from drowning, she is a bit dismayed to learn that he is Garfield's son. But when her father is jailed on a false-accusation charge of murder, the younger Garfield comes to their aid and proves he his not a like-father like-son edition of his curmudgeon father. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Their Sweetest Romantic Triumph! (original poster)






Release Date:

20 November 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Borrasca  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Version of Tess of the Storm Country (1960) See more »


Blow the Man Down
Special Lyrics by Val Burton and Will Jason
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User Reviews

Choppy Production
2 July 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

There are a number of problems with this production: first is the way that Claude Gillingwater's role is written: an expert for twenty years in playing a range of grouches, here he is just out-and-out mean for no good reason. He starts mean, he gets meaner and it ends with him protesting at a baby's being baptized Perhaps as the plot-activating villain of the piece, reducing him to a purely melodramatic villain might be considered an option. Gillingwater is too subtle an actor to pull this off -- yes, it sounds like a paradox, but it's true. The other problem is some unnecessary idiot plotting. At one stage, Tess takes an oath on the Bible to keep a secret. When she is asked to reveal it, she remains silent, instead of stating that she had sworn to keep it a secret. Surely this could have been fixed?

Now that I've gotten the weak points out of the way, let me mention the two real strong points: first and foremost is Janet Gaynor's performance. Miss Gaynor, by this stage, was able to read the most googly lines with a simplicity that showed her conviction; and she could move on the screen only as someone who had learned how to do so in silent movies could do so; yet in her talkies even the large movements of silent movies are toned down and simplified in a way that shows you exactly how the character thinks and, more importantly, feels. Miss Gaynor is worth the whole show by herself; true, she is teamed with long-time co-star Charles Farrell, but, while he is adequate, the movie focuses on Tess and her relationship with her father, played wonderfully by Dudley Digges, a skilled actor who rarely got a chance to strut his stuff.

The other thing that lifts that movie out of the ordinary is Hal Mohr's beautiful keylighted cinematography. Happily, the recent (2006) restoration of this movie by UCLA has located excellent elements to work from. To be appreciated, it should be seen in a theater. Check your local film museums.

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