(1927). Stage Play: Four Walls. Written by Dana Burnet and George Abbott. Directed by George Abbott. John Golden Theatre: 19 Sep 1927- Jan 1928 (closing date unknown/144 performances). Cast: Suzanne Browne (as "Lizzie"), William Cox (as "Marty"), Lionel Dante (as "Paul") [Broadway debut], Peter Du Conge (as "Second Musician"), Bella Finkle (as "Bertha"), Jacob Frank (as "Mendel"), Jeanne Greene (as "Frieda"), Averell Harris (as "The Monk"), Steven Jones (as "Fourth Musician"), Edward Keane (as "Sullivan"), Eloise Keeler (as "Sally"), James C. Lane (as "Tom"), Clara Langsner (as "Mrs. Horowitz"), Jay Lindsey (as "Looey"), Gertrude Manfred (as "Gertie"), Sanford Meisner (as "Sid"), George Nicols (as "Third Musician"), Olga Nova (as "Stella"), William Pawley (as "Lefty"), Edwin Philips (as "Sammy"), Evelyn Platt (as "Rose"), William Smith (as "First Musician"), Lee Strasberg (as "Nick"), Charles Wagenheim (as "Herman"), Josephine Wehn (as "Mrs. Clampman"), Paul Muni [credited as Muni Wisenfrend] (as "Benny Horowitz"), George Wright Jr. (as "Jake"). Produced by John Golden. Note: Filmed by MGM as Four Walls (1928) and again by MGM as Straight Is the Way (1934). See more »
A Hundred Years from Today
Music by Victor Young
Lyrics by Joe Young and Ned Washington
Played on a radio and sung by an unidentified man
Played also on a record and often as background music See more »
MGM melodrama has Franchot Tone playing Benny Horowitz, a man recently released from prison who returns home to his mother (May Robson) who prays that he goes straight. He has a good woman (Karen Morley) who loves him but Benny gets involved with a former flame (Gladys George) who certainly doesn't have good intentions with him. This is a remake of a 1928 film but it has a lot more in common with the countless crime pictures that Warner and MGM were releasing through this early part of the decade. While watching the picture and Tone I couldn't help but think that in a couple years Humphrey Bogart would be making "B" pictures like this one at Warner. Tone, while at MGM, got to star in some bigger budgeted pictures but there were a lot of "B" movies like this one where the bigger stars at the studio got the great roles and he had to appear in stuff that, like Bogart, was below his talent. This film here is just so corny that you can't help but laugh at it at times and especially the first twenty-minutes. Tone returns home and we get countless preachy scenes where the mother just stops everything to pray and the "good-faithed" woman is constantly talking about the good in the world. This stuff comes off so forced that the well-intentions just come off laughable. Even sillier is when we're told about her heart condition and we even have a wacky subplot dealing with the old flame who just happens to want to fix Tone for not being "into" her. The entire film lasts just 59-minutes so there's not too much plot but what's here just doesn't work as it comes off rather tame as we've seen this type of thing countless times before and in much better quality. The cast is good for the most part with Tone, Morley, Robson and George fitting their roles just fine. Nat Pendleton is on hand and offers up good support.
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