6.5/10
284
13 user 8 critic

The Wet Parade (1932)

Passed | | Drama, History, Romance | 26 March 1932 (USA)
The evils of alcohol before and during prohibition become evident as we see its effects on the rich Chilcote family.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(adapted by) (as John L. Mahin), (from the novel by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Roger Chilcote
...
Roger Chilcote, Jr.
...
Mrs. Chilcote
Frederick Burton ...
Major Randolph
Reginald Barlow ...
Judge Brandon
John Larkin ...
Moses
Gertrude Howard ...
Angelina
...
Kip Tarleton
...
Pow Tarleton
...
Abe Shilling
...
Jerry Tyler
...
Eileen Pinchon
...
Evelyn Fessenden
...
Major Doleshal

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Storyline

Sprawling story of Prohibition set against two families and how they are affected by booze. The stories come together when two young people (Robert Young, Dorothy Jordan) join in a common fight against liquor because it has destroyed their families. Both pros and cons are presented, but the screenplay definitely sides with the abstainers. The fathers destroyed by demon rum are played by Walter Huston and Lewis Stone, and look for Jimmy Durante as a bearded federal agent! Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 March 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alcohol prohibido  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Myrna Loy's character was based on Texas Guinan, she even utters Guinan's catchphrase "Give the little lady a big hand!" See more »

Goofs

The story begins in 1916, then moves to 1919, and the early 1920's, but Dorothy Jordan and Myrna Loy wear up to the minute 1932 fashions throughout. See more »

Quotes

Eileen Pinchon: So you are going to fix everything up by getting good and tight!
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Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Myrna Loy (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

My Old Kentucky Home
(1853) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played in the score
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User Reviews

 
More than just history--a dramatic, well made human story, as well.
7 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wet Parade (1932)

A heavy social message movie but really well made, with some touching, in fact moving scenes. There is the first layer of drinking and the damage heavy drinking does (with some dramatic examples!). Then there is a political level, with electioneering and a kind of lobbying by the characters—and the movie—regarding drinking.

The year it begins is 1916, more or less, and it's the cusp of the beginning of Prohibition, just a year before the U.S. enters WWI. (The war is a side issue—one character wisely says, "War has no good side.") The acting is quite realistic—this is a truly serious and large drama—and so the events take on poignant significance. Even if it might, sometimes, seem to preach (barely), it always puts it in human terms, and human costs.

"I never did take it up," says one main character, to explain his not drinking. It makes it seem like a drug ("I never did take up pot") and that's really the underlying attitude on both sides. Of course, there are lots of scenes of drunks and parties leading to good old drunkenness. One of the reasons for voting for Prohibitions is shown as economic—50 million bushels of wheat and rye were going to making drink, and in war time this was wrong.

Remember that the movie was made in 1932 just as Prohibition was being repealed. I don't think it was simply a reminder to the audience of the history of the whole 14 year experiment in teetotaling. Progressive (Democratic) President Wilson did not approve the idea, but the states went ahead and ratified the amendment (not including some notable hold outs like Kentucky, home of great Bourbon).

So, as a movie, there is a lot going on. Before the first hour is up we have one plot transform into another and then yet another. In a way it's quite remarkable. Director Victor Fleming is seven years away from his glory year (1939) and yet is showing a sustained intelligence and narrative savvy. And the camera keeps moving with engaging fluidity, the light varies greatly from night to day to night, and the editing is fast and intelligent. This is, technically, a superb movie.

Now you might object to a certain level of moralizing—the drinkers are often cads or losers—but there is enough complexity of message to make this work overall. There is a sense that everyone (nearly) admits that Prohibition is a hopeless, and maybe senseless cause. As the plot moves toward its dramatic mobster climax, it feels more about pure crime than a moral issue, which got lost along the way.

But that's perhaps what happened to the country, too, back in the long dry years of the 1920s. Which were not so dry after all, for many. Hypocrisy and irony abound. A truly interesting movie.


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