IMDb > The Scoundrel (1935)

The Scoundrel (1935) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

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6.7/10   142 votes »
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Writers:
Ben Hecht (story)
Charles MacArthur (story)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Scoundrel on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 April 1935 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
"Before I tell a woman I love her, I rattle six times, like a snake." (original poster)
Plot:
A ruthless, cynical, hated publisher is killed in a plane crash, and his ghost must wander restlessly unless someone sheds a tear for him. | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
NewsDesk:
James MacArthur obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 31 October 2010, 12:14 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
How could such a wretch have had such good taste? See more (12 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Noel Coward ... Anthony Mallare
Julie Haydon ... Cora Moore
Stanley Ridges ... Paul Decker
Martha Sleeper ... Julia Vivian
Ernest Cossart ... Jimmy Clay
Alexander Woollcott ... Vanderveer Veyden
Everley Gregg ... Mildred Langwiter
Rosita Moreno ... Carlotta
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Maurice Stern
Richard Bond ... Howard Gillette
Helen Strickland ... Mrs. Rolinson

Lionel Stander ... Rothenstien
Frank Conlan ... Massey
O.Z. Whitehead ... Calhoun
Raymond Bramley ... Felix Abrams

Harry Davenport ... Slezack
Hope Williams ... Margie
William Ricciardi ... Luigi
Uhei Hasegawa ... Yoshiwara
Carl Schmidt ... Zither Player
Isabelle Foster ... Scrub Woman
Madame Shushkina ... Fortune Teller
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ben Hecht ... Flop House Bum (uncredited)
Charles MacArthur ... Flop House Bum (uncredited)

Burgess Meredith ... Flop House Bum (uncredited)
Florence Robinson ... Scrub Woman (uncredited)
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Directed by
Ben Hecht 
Charles MacArthur 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ben Hecht  story
Charles MacArthur  story

Produced by
Ben Hecht .... producer
Charles MacArthur .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Lee Garmes 
 
Film Editing by
Arthur Ellis 
 
Art Direction by
Walter E. Keller 
 
Set Decoration by
Albert Johnson 
 
Music Department
Frank Tours .... musical director
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
76 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
USA:Approved | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
George Antheil composed a rejected score and is not credited, but this title still features as one of his film scores in reference books. His score was replaced with stock music and excerpts from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto.See more »
Quotes:
Anthony Mallare:She's the only woman I've ever met who seems shallower and more superficial than I am. It'll be a perfect match: two empty paper bags, belaboring each other.See more »
Soundtrack:
Piano Concerto No. 2See more »

FAQ

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
How could such a wretch have had such good taste?, 12 August 2004
Author: theowinthrop from United States

In 1934 Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur made an independent film starring Claude Rains and Margo called CRIME WITHOUT PASSION. The results were moderately interesting, so the two creators returned to movie production in 1935 with THE SCOUNDREL. Now their star was not just a great actor like Rains, but the leading British playwrite (except for Bernard Shaw) of the first half of the 20th Century - Noel Coward. Coward plays a book editor who is brilliant, brittle, witty, and totally amoral. He has many literary acquaintances, but no friends. Not that these literary figures (Alexander Woolcott, Lionel Stander, Eduardo Cianelli) are really likeable enough to merit having friends of their own. Indeed these people are so self-centered that one wonders how they can relate to humanity enough to have good taste in writing, publishing, or even playing music (Coward's second girlfriend is a pianist who is as cold as he is).

The wit of the lines of dialogue, no matter how hard Coward can give them, is not on par with the lines of witty dialogue from Coward's PRIVATE LIVES or BLYTHE SPIRIT. Hecht and MacArthur could write funny material in a farce like THE FRONT PAGE or TWENTIETH CENTURY (or Hecht's solo work, in say NOTHING SACRED), but they were not brittle or delicate. So that Coward's amoral attitude starts to drag after awhile. Then the film turns into a search for emotional catharsis. Coward dies in an airplane crash in the Caribbean, but his unhappy spirit returns to earth. His acquaintances do not heed his warnings about the emptiness of their lives (Coward sort of becomes the equivelent of Jacob Marley here), but he does find some sorrow for his lost soul from his first girlfriend. So he finds salvation in this drop of sadness.

The total film must be considered an interesting failure, and leads one to another point - Coward's name lives today because of the continuous strength of those major plays of his (PRIVATE LIVES, BLYTHE SPIRIT, HAY FEVER). His movies are another matter. Few of his performances were so well done on celluloid as to bear comparison to Olivier, Richardson, Guilgud, Guinness, Redgrave, Mills, Burton, and Sim. His best performances are probably in his own film IN WHICH WE SERVE or in later films where he was in supporting parts (OUR MAN IN HAVANAH and BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING). But how to explain a serious attempt at film making like THE ASTONISHED HEART which failed so badly (the story doesn't quite make sense). Of all his best plays, the only one to gain an Oscar was the dated CAVALCADE (in 1934), now best recalled for a brief scene when a young couple on a honeymoon turn out to be onboard the R.M.S. Titanic. Why Coward, a master of theatre, a gifted cabaret performer, a good actor, turned up so maladroit a film career is one of the mysteries of 20th Century films.

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