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Brother Orchid (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 8 June 1940 (USA)
When retired racket boss John Sarto tries to reclaim his place and former friends try to kill him, he finds solace in a monastery and reinvents himself as a pious monk.

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Writers:

(screen play), (based on the story by: Collier's Magazine)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Flo Addams
...
Jack Buck
...
Brother Superior
...
Clarence Fletcher
...
Willie The Knife
Charles D. Brown ...
Brother Wren
...
Brother Goodwin
...
Philadelphia Powell
...
Mugsy O'Day
...
Red Martin
John Ridgely ...
Texas Pearson
...
Brother MacEwen
...
Brother MacDonald
...
Curley Matthews
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Storyline

Gang boss Little John Sarto returns from Europe where he was looking for "class" to find his old mob taken over by Jack Burns. When he puts together a rival gang he gets wounded and seeks refuge in a monastery. He is gradually transformed by the simple, sincere brothers and, after one last gangland appearance, decides he has found class at last in the monastery. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 June 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Orchid, der Gangsterbruder  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the five films that Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart made together, this is the only one in which neither is killed. See more »

Goofs

Possibly deliberate mistake by the film makers, when John Sarto goes to get Willie the Knife (Allen Jenkins) released from the SanatoRium, the sign of the institution is misspelt "Pattonsville Private Sanitarium" See more »

Quotes

Clarence P. Fletcher: We don't waste much time with bad men, Mr. Sarto. Takes almost half a day to bring a man into court. That's a powerful waste of time.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Bullets Over Hollywood (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Second Piano Sonata (Funeral March)
(1837) (uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Played when Johnny looks at his photograph
See more »

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User Reviews

A Versatile Robinson, An Irrelevant Bogart

Worth renting or catching on late night TV, "Brother Orchid" is a 1940 hybrid, a film that uneasily coasts between comedy and drama. With both Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart capturing theater marquees with both violent crime and some serious drama roles this film is sort of a detour but it's a good one.

Robinson plays a gangster chief who quits the mob to undertake a long and financially ruinous Grand Tour of Europe. Returning to the U.S. he is astounded to discover that he can't pick up the reins he once held firmly and that his former underboss, Bogart, wants him out of the way - permanently. Bogart's talent is not very much on display in this movie.

Robinson winds up hiding in a friary populated by gentle souls and, of course, his condition is gentled under their patient ministration.

Ann Sothern is terrific as his "fiancee," a gang moll waiting long and patiently for the march to the altar. Ralph Bellamy is amusing as a Western rancher who exudes a patience and understanding more often associated with saints than cowboys.

For those who enjoy the pre-World War II Hollywood crime films this one is just different enough from the formula, and very violent, ones.


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