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Counsellor at Law (1933)

 -  Drama  -  25 December 1933 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 722 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 11 critic

Successful attorney has his Jewish heritage and poverty-stricken background brought home to him when he learns his wife has been unfaithful.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Onslow Stevens ...
...
Clara Langsner ...
John Hammond Dailey ...
Charlie McFadden (as J. Hammond Dailey)
...
Robert Gordon ...
Henry Susskind (as Bobby Gordon)
Malka Kornstein ...
Vincent Sherman ...
Marvin Kline ...
T.H. Manning ...
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Storyline

Crackerjack lawyer George Simon is a workaholic, and a successful one, at that. Having just gotten a woman acquited of a murder charge, he is juggling cases ranging from breaking a will to quashing the disorderly conduct charges against the son of a woman he knew in the old neighborhood, before he became a hot shot counsellor. He adores his wife Cora, who feels she married a bit below her station. His step-children think so, too. His secretary Rexy adores him, although he is oblivious to the fact. Threatened with losing his practice due to a discretion in a case seven years earlier, his wife leaves for Europe until the scandal blows over, and he comes to realize (just in time) who his true friends are. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 December 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Staranwalt von Manhattan  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although this film is frank about some matters, the Production Code of the Hays Office - i.e., censorship - was still in effect. In one 16mm print there is a curious moment of dead air at the end of Lillian Larue's parting speech to George Simon. She says (approximately), "Well, for God's sake, what do they expect for fifteen thousand dollars?" John Barrymore keeps looking at Larue (Thelma Todd as if she is still speaking, and she must be, but there is no sound. Her last words in the text of the play are, "A virgin?" See more »

Quotes

Bessie Green: [answering a call] I thought you were dead and buried. Well sure I missed you, like Booth missed Lincoln. What do you think I've been doing, sitting around the house embroidering doilies?
See more »

Connections

Featured in American Masters: Directed by William Wyler (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of my secret favorites!
17 December 2004 | by (Queens, New York) – See all my reviews

This film is so rare that probably few people have heard of it. What a terrible shame! The only copy I have was taped from cable TV several years ago. I

never dreamed that I would be reading such appreciation of this little treasure by so many others! There should be a movement afoot to try to bring this

wonderful work out of obscurity, at least to get it on video!

I have read that John Barrymore considered himself miscast here. But I think he was the best possible choice for this film role (played on Broadway by Paul

Muni). At a time when Hitler was just coming to power, I wouldn't want to

imagine the response by the average U.S. moviegoer toward an actual Jewish

actor trying to elicit sympathy for the personal struggles of a Jewish man trying to get himself accepted into Gentile society in this way.

As for the office setting, well, I work for a New York law firm, and this film hits the target dead on! It evokes perfectly the scurry of New York office life, as well as the latest technologies, the fashions and the speech patterns of the period, like that adorable switchboard operator! Bravo to William Wyler!

I have seen many, many John Barrymore movies, and I agree with everyone

else writing here that this must certainly be his best surviving performance, his monument, for those of us who never saw his Richard III or Hamlet. It's even

better than "Twentieth Century" and "Grand Hotel". In an era when silent-movie histrionics was still evident in the acting style, his performance is subtle, nuanced, very modern and deeply affecting, especially in that final scene!


26 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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