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The Scoundrel (1935) More at IMDbPro »


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Ben Hecht (story)
Charles MacArthur (story)
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Release Date:
30 April 1935 (USA) See more »
"Before I tell a woman I love her, I rattle six times, like a snake." (original poster)
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:
Won Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
James MacArthur obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 31 October 2010, 12:14 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Disappointing failure See more (13 total) »


  (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:
76 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
USA:Approved | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. However, because of legal complications, this particular title was not included in the original television package and was not televised until many years afterward.See more »
Cora Moore:[upon reading about Mallare's plane crash] I've just learned that there IS a God!See more »
Piano Concerto No. 2See more »


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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Disappointing failure, 25 February 2002
Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales

Because so many talented people worked on "The Scoundrel", it pains me to say that this film doesn't work and some parts of it are laughably bad.

Noël Coward plays a character based on Horace Liveright, a (real-life) New York publisher and playboy who was a vicious S.O.B. and an inept businessman; Liveright died broke and friendless. That's not quite what happens to Coward in this movie.

"The Scoundrel" is a fantasy, but we don't find this out until about halfway through the film ... and in a flashback, worse luck. Coward dies and comes back as a ghost, and (unlike in "The Sixth Sense") he KNOWS he's a ghost. After returning from the dead, the first thing he does is go back to his office and perform a long dull dialogue scene with his employees, without bothering to tell them that he's dead. I haven't given away any spoilers here, because this film has very little worth spoiling. Coward delivers all of his dialogue in a slow lugubrious tone. He spends the second half of the movie as a ghost, but he's equally lifeless in the first half.

"The Scoundrel" has a low budget and several continuity errors. It was filmed in New York City (at the Astoria studio) but there are no vintage shots of NYC locations; one street scene is a painfully obvious interior set.

The notorious drama critic Alexander Woollcott appears in a tiny role (basically playing himself), but he's on screen just long enough to prove he's no actor. Lionel Stander (better known as Max from "Hart to Hart") shows up briefly to sip champagne with Coward. This makes Lionel Stander the only actor who worked with both Noël Coward and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. I don't recommend "The Scoundrel" unless you're intensely interested in any of the actors or writers who worked on this film ... all of whom did better work in other films.

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