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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
Morgan Conway ...
Philadelphia Powell
Richard Lane ...
Mugsy O'Day
Paul Guilfoyle ...
Red Martin
John Ridgely ...
Texas Pearson
Joseph Crehan ...
Brother MacEwen
Wilfred Lucas ...
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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We'd like youse to meet Brother Orchid!

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

Little Johnny Sarto: You know, to such a guy like me... love is like a scratch on the back. Sometimes feels good. But a guy can't go along all his life with an itch.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Footsteps in the Dark (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

The Irish Washerwoman
(uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
Searching For Class
8 January 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Brother Orchid is one strange movie that could have been a lot better. I've a feeling some key scenes were left on the cutting room floor and the writers could not have made their minds up about Ann Sothern's character.

Pretty standard stuff for Warner Brothers at first. Edward G. Robinson is a gang leader who runs a protection racket, but he's getting bored with it and just up and quits and leaves the whole shebang to his number two guy Humphrey Bogart. He takes his bundle and tours the world in search of 'class'.

Robinson's his usual tough guy, but what a fathead as well. He should have insisted on Ann Sothern going with him, did he really think she wasn't going to stray, especially with rich western rancher Ralph Bellamy panting after her. And of course Humphrey Bogart was simply going to step aside and let him resume after he told everyone he was through. As Bugs Bunny would say, what a maroon.

So when Robinson puts together a new mob and starts warring on Bogart, he shouldn't have been surprised when Bogart takes him for that last ride. And when Sothern is the one who sets him up, what's there to say.

That's the first half, the second half deals with a group of monks who find a half dead Robinson who wandered to their door and they nurse him back to health. Naturally he's grateful to Donald Crisp and the rest of the brothers. And Robinson gets a way to show that gratitude in the end.

Someone really screwed up though with Ann Sothern's character. We're first made to think she's pulling the doublecross of all time. And then later we're supposed to think she was duped by Bogart as well. I'm still trying to figure it out. It was one incredibly bad piece of writing.

Robinson and Bogart are always great when they get together. This was the last of four films they did at Warner Brothers where Robinson was the good guy. When they did their last joint film, Key Largo they had changed places in the firmament of shimmering stars. Bogey of course was the good guy in that classic.

Brother Orchid is the weakest of the five films that Robinson and Bogart did together, but the fans of both men will probably like it.


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