Successful wealthy shoe manufacturer John Reeves takes a vacation, leaving his business in the hands of his nephew. While on vacation Reeves runs into his rival's heirs, who are living it ...
See full summary »
To share expenses unemployed Alabama move in with also unemployed Bill and Toodles. Bill is hired by a gangster's mistress and ultimately becomes the gangster's bodyguard. Alabama ... See full summary »
Alfred E. Green
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
Zachary Hicks is nominated at the Progressive party's convention even though he has little chance of winning the governorship. Kay suggests the party bosses hire Hal Blake (whom she loves) ... See full summary »
Butch Saunders has been transferred to Missing Persons because he was too brutal in other police work. He regards the assignment as "kindergarten" work. When a young woman asks him to help ... See full summary »
Newspaperman Bill Bradford becomes a special agent for the tax service trying to end the career of racketeer Alexander Carston. Julie Gardner is Carston's bookkeeper. Bradford enters ... See full summary »
Marianne falls in love with con man Valentine who uses their relation to get her father's endorsement on a money-raising scheme. He runs off with the money and Marianne, later dumping her. ... See full summary »
Nan Reynolds encourages her copywriter husband Bill to open his own agency. Nearly out of business, he finally gets a client. Former girlfriend Patricia Berkeley writes a very successful ... See full summary »
When his fiancée Valentine dumps him, prominent lawyer Geoffrey Sherwood goes on a bender and winds up married to a stranger, Miriam Brady. They decide to give their marriage a chance. ... See full summary »
Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.
Successful wealthy shoe manufacturer John Reeves takes a vacation, leaving his business in the hands of his nephew. While on vacation Reeves runs into his rival's heirs, who are living it up on their dead father's money. He doesn't tell them who he is and gets placed as their trustee. He uses the chance to reorganize their shoe company, becoming a rival to his own nephew. The ne'er-do-wells settle down and become involved in the business. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I just saw this gem on TCM and was completely delighted. The story is clever and well-paced. All the supporting acting is excellent, all the way down to the tiny roles of the cook and maid. It was a treat to see Bette Davis so young and sparkling.
But the greatest pleasure for me was my first chance to closely observe George Arliss. I am glad I learned years ago to watch a really good movie at two levels: to accept the reconstructed or imagined reality of the film and simultaneously to see it as an artistic creation blending acting, set design, photography, music, etc., etc. This split focus allowed me to absolutely believe Arliss' character while at the same time marveling at the ease with which he played the part, particularly since the role involved a secret identity which he moved back and forth between. I can now understand Arliss' once nearly legendary reputation and I will look forward to every other Arliss movie I can find.
Almost as great a pleasure to me was to see a film that revolves around the business world without demonizing it. Our hero is truly "The Working Man", which title has two meanings, referring both to Arliss' character's pretended lowly identity and to his actual position as the hard-working head of a major enterprise. There is one sleazy businessman in the story, but it is clear that he is a rat and an exception and that successful businesses depend on hard-working, foresightful, intelligent, and dedicated men. (And women; I was surprised by a Bette Davis line about all the women doing great things running businesses. In 1933?). Compare this to films and TV of the last 10 or 20 years which are just as likely to show business giants as swindlers, thieves, murderers, etc., or at least as callous megalomaniacs. Arliss's character HAS character, and integrity, and intelligence, and I was glad to see a positive portrait of a great businessman, especially as depicted by a great actor.
So why didn't I give the movie a 10? I can enjoy the now antique music of that era, but I thought it was intrusive at several points. Also, I thought the cleverly interwoven plot threads resolved themselves too abruptly at the end, which strained my belief for the only time in the story. But 9 out of 10 makes it still a great little film, and I'd give George Arliss more than 10 if I could.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?