6.6/10
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14 user 3 critic

Weary River (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 10 February 1929 (USA)
A gangster is put in prison, but finds salvation through music while serving his time. Again on the outside, he finds success elusive and temptations abound.

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Writers:

(story) (as Courtney Riley Cooper), (screen version) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Jerry Larrabee
... Alice Gray
William Holden ... Prison Warden
... Spadoni
... Blackie (as George Stone)
... Elevator Boy (as Raymond Turner)
... Jerry's Manager
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Storyline

Jerry Larabee (Richard Barthelmess)is a gangster who can play piano and sing, mostly to entertain his girl Alice (Betty Compson), who is quite visibly thrilled by his crooning. But as the result of a gangland shootout he had with rival mobster Spadoni (Louis Natheaux), Larabee must do a stretch in prison. The kindly warden (William Holden) sees a potential for redemption in him, and talks Mary into giving him up, so he will break all contact with his previous life. Through his musical talents, Jerry is soon doing radio broadcasts with the prison orchestra, and one of his own compositions, "Weary River" is a smash hit with listeners. In no time, he's released, with a concert tour lined up. unfortunately, hecklers cause the overly sensitive ex-gunman to lose his confidence and he's a flop. Down on his luck, he drifts back to his old gang buddies and Mary, who's never stopped loving him. After learning that his stint up the river was a frame-up by Spadoni, a showdown is arranged at their... Written by WesternOne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 February 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bag Fængslets Port  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System) (Western Electric Apparatus) (sound effects, music and talking sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is part silent, with intertitles, and part sound, which was important to feature the main character's talent as a singer, although the title song Weary River was nevertheless dubbed by a professional singer. One scene near the end features an orchestra playing on-screen on set that is a radio studio, while traditional silent movie sound is substituted for real sound. Then the scene technology audibly changes to sound recorded on film, with the same orchestra appearing to play for real (possibly dubbed) as the main character begins to sing (although he is listed as dubbed) in a radio performance that prompts his sweetheart to call the radio studio. The scene is an unusual mix of technologies during a period of transition from silents to sound. See more »

Quotes

Prison Warden: [Final line, spoken to a cop intending to arrest Jerry Larrabee:] "Let him alone, he's going to see his sweetheart, that's all. And they don't want to be bothered by any blue-coated cupids."
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Soundtracks

The Prisoner's Song
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by Guy Massey
In the score when Jerry gets his prison clothes
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User Reviews

 
Up the Weary River
24 February 2015 | by See all my reviews

Singing gangster Richard Barthelmess (as Jerry Larrabee) is sent "up the river" after an innocent bystander is killed in one of his orchestrated shoot 'em ups. In prison, Mr. Barthelmess (#46039) has more time for singing and less time for racketeering. He becomes a hit in the big house and decides to go straight on the outside. But, after serving his time, Barthelmess receives a rocky reception. While a wonderful singer, he's derided as an ex-con. Through it all, Barthelmess is encouraged by beautiful blonde Betty Compson (as Alice Gray). She and warden William Holden would like Barthelmess to keep trying, but he is tempted by his criminal past...

"Weary River" is a part-talking, part-silent film. It begins as a silent, with oddly primitive background music (for 1929), and turns "talkie" early in the running time. You're thinking it will remain there, but the silent style occasionally returns. Perhaps the soundtrack on these scenes was inferior and re-takes unsatisfactory. While mostly a sound film, the spirit is silent; this may be why the technology appears superior to many other early talkies. The possibly better all-silent version should be restored, if possible...

Then a very big star, Barthelmess maintained his standing during the transition from silent to sound. His voice was fine, but Barthelmess is obviously better in the older style. Barthelmess also mouths his songs for a vocal double. Taken from this film, the song "Weary River" was a big hit for the popular new singer Rudy Vallee. Randolph Scott and Sally Eilers are extras and elevator "boy" Raymond Turner looks frightened. Director Frank Lloyd's artful prison sequences require no dialogue, and photographer Ernie Haller is an obvious asset. Their assistant Alvin Knechtel was killed in a plane crash, sadly, on the verge of a promising career.

***** Weary River (2/10/29) Frank Lloyd ~ Richard Barthelmess, Betty Compson, William Holden, Louis Natheaux


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