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Three Cornered Moon (1933)

Nellie Rimplegar has to tell her grown children that due to her bungled handling of their finances, the family has been wiped out by the Stock Market crash. Friend and family doctor, Alan ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Dr. Alan Stevens
Mrs. Nellie Rimplegar
Kenneth Rimplegar
Eddie Rimplegar
Douglas Rimplegar
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joan Clark ...
Stage lady


Nellie Rimplegar has to tell her grown children that due to her bungled handling of their finances, the family has been wiped out by the Stock Market crash. Friend and family doctor, Alan Stevens, tells them they'll all need to eliminate their extravagant ways and get jobs. Stevens also rents a room in their house more as a way to be near pretty Elizabeth Rimplegar, than to help their finances. Stevens faces competition from Elizabeth's beau, Ronald, a free-loading writer who remains oblivious to her money woes. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

8 August 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Comédia de um Lar  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was based on a play that ran at Broadway's Cort Theatre from March to May of 1933. Elizabeth Rimplegar, the character played by Claudette Colbert in the movie, was portrayed by 36 year-old Ruth Gordon on stage. This was the same Ruth Gordon who went on to play character roles in movies in later years, including memorable parts in Rosemary's Baby and Harold and Maude. See more »


Sweepin' the Clouds Away
Music by Sam Coslow
Played during the opening credits and at the end
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User Reviews

A saga of an eccentric family and their struggles with the Depression
12 October 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This film is charming largely because of the lead Claudette Colbert, whose elfin presence makes it all come alive. The film itself never wholly overcomes its origins as a play by Gertrude Tonkonogy (died 1989) written for the stage rather than the screen, her play of the same title having opened in March of 1933 and been released in this film version within four months of that. Clearly the producers were looking urgently for a 'feel good' story which drew comfort from a cheerful survival of the hard times. The story features an eccentric family, the father of which is dead, named Rimpelgar, Colbert being the only daughter. The Rimpelgars live in a huge rambling house in Brooklyn, that part of New York which is not Manhattan and is on the wrong side of the river, and which in their day, the 1930s, was a fine place to live. (Today, that can only be said of patches of Brooklyn, though there is an ongoing struggle to make it regain its dignity.) They do not have Brooklyn accents because they are rich people, or were before the father died. Now the dotty mother (played by Mary Boland) has lost everything through being, well, an idiot, and letting a scoundrel take it all and invest it in a worthless phoney mine called Three-Cornered Moon. (This must have been clearer in the play, because in the film the reason for the title is pretty obscure and mentioned only in passing.) So they are all suddenly thrown out of non-work into hard work, the daughter and her three brothers. The eldest brother is played by Wallace Ford, and what a surprise it is to see him as he was before he became the grizzled elderly character actor that he played in so many films decades later. Yes, the times are hard, as it is the Depression. There are many times when they all have nothing to eat and sit at a grand dining table with only a little bread between them. But they 'smile through', and all ends happily, despite a great deal of worry, tension, and stress. There is a side story about Colbert being in love with a self-indulgent would-be writer who is always working on Chapter Fourteen of the great novel which is never finished. She puts up with him for most of the film, to our great disgust, until she finally is freed from her blind love, sees the light, and dumps him. There are a lot of jokes about the Polish maid (Lyda Roberti) who cannot speak English and calls flowers 'George', but although that may all have been funny in the 1930s, it isn't now. The film does not lead to grim fate but smiling through gets them through, and this must have been a tonic for a weary public struggling to emerge from the Depression which was supposed to be over but, like the one now, is not over at all except in theory or because some politician says so. Maybe as things go on getting worse, we can recommend this film to our friends and contemporaries today, and let them remember that in 1932 a great deal of Claudette Colbert and her family 'smiling through' took place, so that we ought to try a little of that ourselves. If we can force the smiles, that is.

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