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Upper World (1934)

Approved | | Drama | 28 April 1934 (USA)
A rich railroad tycoon, bored with his marriage (his wife has no time for him -- she's too busy giving parties and sailing on yachts) starts seeing a showgirl. This are going OK until the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Alexander Stream
...
...
Lilly Linda
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Oscar
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Tommy Stream
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Marcus
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Lou Colima (as J. Carroll Naish)
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Officer Moran
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Banker Making Toast at Banquet
Theodore Newton ...
Reporter Rocklen
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Police Commissioner Clark
Robert Greig ...
Marc Caldwell--Butler
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Police Inspector Kellogg
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Chris--Janitor
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Police Capt. Reynolds

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Storyline

A rich railroad tycoon, bored with his marriage (his wife has no time for him -- she's too busy giving parties and sailing on yachts) starts seeing a showgirl. This are going OK until the girl's manager/boyfriend, seeing his chance to make some big money, decides to blackmail him. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved
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Release Date:

28 April 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Upper World  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In John Divola's book 'Continuity' (Smart Art Press & Ram Publications, 1997), he lists photograph #1 in the 'Evidence of Aggression' section as 'Unidentified.' It is a still from this film; it depicts the table in Lilly's room that Lou falls onto and breaks when Alex Stream pushes him. See more »

Connections

References Voltaire (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Fascination
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by F.D. Marchetti
Played by a quintet at the dinner party
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User Reviews

 
The Shadow of the Code
14 April 2010 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

As a big railroad tycoon, the imposing Warren William carries the film. Too bad this fine actor is largely unknown today, even to many movie buffs. I expect it's partly because he died relatively young (54) many years ago (1948). Nonetheless, he has the looks, bearing, and talent of an exceptional screen presence, and it's always a treat for me to catch him in a new movie.

The plot here is unexceptional— loyal husband Alex Stream (William), strays with chorus girl (Rogers) because wife (Astor) is preoccupied with high society. Problems arise when shady character (Naish) tries to blackmail Stream. Rogers is winning as the rather good-hearted lower class chorine; at the same time, her scenes with William manage a certain charm, though you know the romance has no chance.

Note the film was released in mid-1934. I expect the Production Code's shadow tamed down this screenplay in comparison with earlier William films, such as Employee's Entrance (1933) or Skyscraper Souls (1932). Those screenplays also have William playing a hard-driving businessman. But unlike here, he's also ruthless in dealings and unscrupulous with women. In short, he's got the kind of unpredictable edge that made those pre-Code films so interesting and so threatening to Depression-era big business.

On the other hand, his character here is basically sympathetic, more victim than victimizer. His business dealings remain peripheral, while the relationship with Rogers is more sweet than calculating or sexually provocative. In short, viewers will recognize familiar conventions from the 30-year Code era. The movie's smoothly done with an outstanding cast that includes a restrained Andy Devine, but is otherwise routine entertainment.


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