6.5/10
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27 user 10 critic

An American Tragedy (1931)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 22 August 1931 (USA)
A poor factory worker, employed by a wealthy uncle, falls in love with a beautiful heiress but his happiness and promising future are jeopardized by a previous affair with a coworker he impregnated.

Director:

Josef von Sternberg (as Josef Von Sternberg)

Writers:

Theodore Dreiser (novel), Samuel Hoffenstein (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Phillips Holmes ... Clyde Griffiths
Sylvia Sidney ... Roberta Alden
Frances Dee ... Sondra Finchley
Irving Pichel ... District Attorney Orville Mason
Frederick Burton ... Samuel Griffiths
Claire McDowell ... Mrs. Samuel Griffiths
Wallace Middleton Wallace Middleton ... Gilbert Griffiths
Emmett Corrigan ... Belknap
Charles Middleton ... Jephson (as Charles B. Middleton)
Lucille La Verne ... Mrs. Asa Griffiths
Al Hart ... Titus Alden (as Albert Hart)
Fanny Midgley Fanny Midgley ... Mrs. Titus Alden
Arnold Korff ... Judge
Russ Powell Russ Powell ... Coroner Fred Heit (as Russell Powell)
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Storyline

Having just reached adulthood, Clyde Griffiths has always lamented his lot in life, he the only son of poor missionaries. He has gotten a peripheral view of society life, to which he aspires, in his work as a bellhop at an upscale hotel. If being truthful to himself, he would admit that he lacks moral strength, he often taking the easiest but perhaps not the most ethical path to protect himself. Forced to move from place to place out of circumstance, he ends up in Lycurgus, New York working at the Samuel Griffiths Collar and Shirt factory, Samuel Griffiths his paternal uncle. Not knowing his uncle or his family, Clyde only wants a chance to get ahead, not expecting anything else from his wealthy relations. After an apprenticeship, Clyde ends up as the foreman in the stamping department. Despite a company rule forbidding foremen to fraternize with staff, especially those working in the same department, Clyde begins an affair, a clandestine one out of necessity, with Roberta Alden, who ... Written by Huggo

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Taglines:

Drama that happens around you everyday - when the wild life of impetuous youth burns away age-old barriers! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer Theodore Dreiser was dismayed to find that director Josef von Sternberg and Paramount had taken so many liberties with his book, and he successfully sued, which forced von Sternberg to add many scenes that had been edited out of the movie. The resulting final cut was so far from what von Sternberg had intended, he disowned the picture. See more »

Goofs

The first day of the defense's case is stated in a newspaper article to be in October, but the day-by-day calendar in the courtroom indicates it is November. See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits appear on the surface of a lake. When each set has been up long enough to read it, a stone falls into the water and the credits dissolve. See more »

Connections

Version of Amerikietiska tragedija (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Some of These Days
(1910) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Shelton Brooks
Variations played over opening credits
Sung by boys and girls at the lake
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User Reviews

Read the Book
6 March 2002 | by SmacksBlackAdderSee all my reviews

This film, based on the great Theodore Dreiser novel, is not really available in many video stores or libraries most likely due to its age and lack of popularity. However, the film does parallel the book somewhat in that the characters all have the same names, but it is difficult to comprise an over 800 page book into a film. "An American Tragedy" was also later adapted into "A Place in the Sun," which has become more recognized because it stars Elizabeth Taylor. However, though this film takes its basis from Dreiser's novel, its character names have all been altered. If you really want to learn about this great story (which is actually based on a 1906 murder case), then read Dreiser's book because his writing and plot are amazing and no film is capable of adapting it.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eine amerikanische Tragödie See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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