Depression Era story set in London has department store owner (Lewis Stone) facing bankruptcy while his family fritters away money. A long-standing employee (Lionel Barrymore) gets fired ... See full summary »
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Robert Z. Leonard
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Depression Era story set in London has department store owner (Lewis Stone) facing bankruptcy while his family fritters away money. A long-standing employee (Lionel Barrymore) gets fired but finds new life in a home-based bakery. The owner's wife (Benita Hume) can't face life without money, so she runs off with another man. The tables turn, however, when a last-minute reprieve saves the store and a new relationship is forged between the men. Written by
This is one of the better Depression era films I have seen, as it not only encapsulated what this period was like but had exceptional writing that avoided clichés. And, thanks to exceptional acting, it's well worth seeking out the next time it appears on Turner Classic Movies.
The film is the story of two men who work at the same old family department store--the boss (Lewis Stone) and a lowly career employee (Lionel Barrymore). Both men are in trouble at work. Barrymore is reluctantly let go after 40 years on the job. No matter how sentimental and loyal his boss (Stone) is, the company is in serious trouble and cutbacks must take place. And, when Stone realizes his company is about to go bankrupt, he, too, is seriously affected. However, what really makes the movie exciting is how their families react to the crisis. While it seemed less surprising how Barrymore's family responded, Stone's family was exciting to watch. I could say a lot more--but I just don't want to spoil it for you.
The bottom line is that the movie is exquisitely written and acted. It's also a nice film to offer some hope to Depression-weary audiences--and not in a phoney or formulaic manner. If you enjoy this film, also try "Sweepings--another Barrymore film that is about a company in crisis.
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