6.5/10
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8 user 4 critic

Ladies of the Big House (1931)

Married couple is imprisoned for a crime they didn't commit.

Director:

Marion Gering

Writers:

Ernest Booth (play), William Slavens McNutt (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sylvia Sidney ... Kathleen Storm McNeil
Gene Raymond ... Standish McNeil
Wynne Gibson ... Susie Thompson
Earle Foxe ... Kid Athens
Rockliffe Fellowes ... Martin Doremus
Purnell Pratt ... John Hartman
Frank Sheridan ... Warden Hecker
Louise Beavers ... Ivory
Miriam Goldina Miriam Goldina ... Maria - The Mexican
Hilda Vaughn ... Millie
Fritzi Ridgeway ... Reno Maggie
Esther Howard ... Clara Newman
Edna Bennett Edna Bennett ... The Countess
Ruth Lyons Ruth Lyons ... Gertie
Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Turner
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A young college student gets pregnant by the man she loves, but circumstances prevent their marrying, so she marries a classmate she doesn't love. Soon, however, her lover returns, and she finds herself in a dilemma as to who to choose.

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Stars: Phillips Holmes, Sylvia Sidney, Norman Foster

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Storyline

On their Wedding day, Kathleen and Standish McNeil are followed home by Kid Athens, (a wanted murderer), and Policeman Martin French (sent to get Kathleen as a witness). Athens shoots French and tosses a gun, engraved with "with love" next to French's body. This sets up Kathleen (once a moll for Athen's) and Standish as the murderers. Eager Assistant Attorney John Hartman, who works for Athens, manipulates the jury to a guilty verdict. Standish (Mac) is sent to death row and Kathleen to a violent Woman's Prison. She's befriended by Ivory and Maria, but is viciously treated by inmate, Susie Thompson, a former moll of Athens before Kathleen. Kathleen discovers that her appeal has been denied and decides to escape with pregnant inmate, Maria. Kathleen is allowed a visit with Mac (Standish) and tells him of her plan to escape and tell the world of their innocence. Maria is shot while trying to cut the fence. Kathleen's getaway boat is smashed and she's recaptured... Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Connections

Remade as Women Without Names (1940) See more »

User Reviews

SOLID "BIG HOUSE" DRAMA
30 May 2004 | by bensonjSee all my reviews

Flower shop girl Sidney has the bad luck to have a vicious hoodlum fall for her in a big way. When she prefers Raymond, the hood has them both framed for murder. Some powerful moments when they're allowed to see each other for a few brief moments in the penitentiary not long before he's to be executed, and it turns out that the meeting been arranged merely to give a tabloid a photo op. The conventions of "the big house" story seem to have been already firmly established by 1931: the snitch with the facial tic, the girl with phony society airs, the tough gal, the big break, the heavy-set matron (Jane Darwell, unbilled), Beavers as a friendly "hot music" loving mama. The story, the characterizations, the writing, all have the familiarity of the mid-thirties; solid entertainment, but not with the freshness found in so many pre-Code films.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 December 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ladies of the Big House 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
See full technical specs »

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