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Little Man, What Now? (1934)

 -  Drama  -  1 May 1934 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 269 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 6 critic

A young couple struggling against poverty must keep their marriage a secret in order for the husband to keep his job, as his boss doesn't like to hire married men.

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Title: Little Man, What Now? (1934)

Little Man, What Now? (1934) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Douglass Montgomery ...
...
Catherine Doucet ...
DeWitt Jennings ...
Emil Kleinholz
G.P. Huntley ...
Herr Heilbutt
Muriel Kirkland ...
Fred Kohler ...
Karl Goebbler
...
Wife of Karl Goebbler
Donald Haines ...
Emil Kleinholz Jr.
Christian Rub ...
Herr Puttbreese
...
Franz Schluter
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Storyline

A young couple struggling against poverty must keep their marriage a secret in order for the husband to keep his job, as his boss doesn't like to hire married men.

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

1 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Little Man, What Now?  »

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Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Moving tale of struggling young couple in 1920s Germany

Similar in tone and approach to Vidor's THE CROWD and Borzage's own BAD GIRL, this film looks at a struggling young couple in 1920s Germany. Douglass Montgomery and Margaret Sullavan are perfectly cast as the young couple, in love and in turmoil trying to make ends meet.

They marry because she is pregnant (a racy situation for just-pre code Hollywood). He is employed as a single man by a father who is looking to find a husband for his daughter and therefore tries to keep his marriage a secret. He is found out and sacked. The couple then go to live with his stepmother, who runs a sort of brothel for middle aged men seeking companionship. Both he and his wife are in the dark about this. He has a low paying job, made available by his stepmother's beau (and co-owner of the brothel), who constantly makes advances towards his wife.

In the end he is out of work again, the brothel broken up, and his wife gives birth. Here the story should end, perhaps with tragedy (the child's death, a suicide?) to stay within the Germanic heaviness of the plot - but Borzage provides a last minute happy ending that does not fit with the rest of the film.

Montgomery is very appealing and acts well, as does Sullavan. Alan Hale is memorable as Jachman, the brothel owner and Catherine Doucet makes the most of her role as the dotty stepmother.

A good little film worth seeing. Although its official timing here on IMDB is 91 minutes, the print I saw ran for 98.


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