6.5/10
135
5 user 1 critic

A Modern Hero (1934)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance | 21 April 1934 (USA)
Pierre is a young and handsome circus rider whose mother has long tolerated his amorous adventures but becomes genuinely concerned when he actually falls in love. She reveals to him that ... See full summary »

Director:

(as G.W. Pabst)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Joanna Ryan Croy
...
Mme. Azais
...
Lady Claire Benston
...
Leah Ernst
...
Hazel Flint Radier
...
Henry Mueller
...
Young Pierre Croy
Arthur Hohl ...
Homer Flint
Theodore Newton ...
Elmer Croy
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Mr. Ryan
...
Aunt Clara Weingartner
...
Young Pierre as a Child
...
Mr. Eggelson
Judith Vosselli ...
Mrs. Eggelson
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Storyline

Pierre is a young and handsome circus rider whose mother has long tolerated his amorous adventures but becomes genuinely concerned when he actually falls in love. She reveals to him that he's the son of a wealthy man, whom she could not marry because of the circus life. But Pierre uses this knowledge as a springboard to wealth and fame himself, as an automobile maker in the early days of the industry, and as a munitions dealer when war breaks out. But his ambition seems to take its toll on all his relationships, and he seems unaware that he is over-reaching himself... Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 April 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Herói Moderno  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, Pierre is shown at the circus getting on a horse and going around the ring counter-clockwise. But, in the close-up shots, he is going around clockwise. See more »

Soundtracks

Spirit of Independence
(uncredited)
Music by Abe Holzmann
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User Reviews

 
Barthelmess and Pabst in a winning collaboration.
11 July 2002 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

This is not a great film, but it has much to recommend it. With the great G.W. Pabst at the helm, there is much of visual interest, and with one of the best actors of his generation, Richard Barthelmess, in the lead role, there is much of dramatic interest too. Although both men were at their height in the silent era, they were both still great cinema artists in 1934.

In the Barthelmess films of the early 1930s, there was a tendency toward a kind of tragic masochism, where everything that can go wrong does go wrong for the Barthelmess character. And we see it here again. Twenty years later we'd see another great actor being attracted to such roles - Marlon Brando. But Pabst steers the character's suffering (perhaps a symbol for a rather innocent USA suffering through a terrible war and the great depression) toward enlightenment. And the ending is both profound and a little subversive politically.

All the supporting performances are excellent, but Marjorie Rambeau stands out as Barthelmess' mother. The film is also quite risque for its day - with Richard obviously sleeping with rich older women for money, and fathering a love child. Pabst was bringing a real European sensibility to American cinema here - something that would soon become impossible with the Hollywood production code. It's a shame that Hollywood lost such a great artist, and even sadder that he chose to work in Nazi Germany instead.


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