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Downstairs (1932)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 8 May 1933 (Denmark)
An amoral chauffeur seeks to seduce a young bride.

Director:

Monta Bell (uncredited)

Writers:

John Gilbert (story), Lenore J. Coffee (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Gilbert ... Karl Schneider
Paul Lukas ... Albert - the Baron's Butler
Virginia Bruce ... Anna - Albert's Wife
Hedda Hopper ... Countess De Marnac
Reginald Owen ... Baron 'Nicky' von Burgen
Olga Baclanova ... Baroness Eloise von Burgen
Bodil Rosing ... Sophie - the Cook
Otto Hoffman ... Otto - the Wine Cellar Caretaker
Lucien Littlefield ... Françoise - a Drunken Servant
Marion Lessing ... Antoinette - Maid to the Countess
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Storyline

At the wedding of Albert and Anna, Karl, the new chauffeur, arrives. Albert is the head butler, second generation to the Baron. Karl soon seems out of place as a servant, and Albert tells him so. But Karl is a cad. Whenever he gets the chance, he will try to seduce Anna, who is not wise in the ways of the world. He lies without question if it is to his advantage and charms money out of Sophie, the old cook. He disrupts the household and then blackmails the Baroness to keep from being sacked. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the year's motion picture surprise - the amazing comeback of the brilliant figures of the screen! As thrilling as of old! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 May 1933 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Der schöne Karl See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contemporary trade papers talk about the solid box-office results for this film, yet MGM's official bookkeeping reports state the film lost $250,000. Creative bookkeeping allowed the studios to keep their stars in line by reporting losses when they actually made profits. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Karl Schneider: You're just visiting here, aren't you?
Antoinette, Maid to the Countess: Yes. We came just for the weekend. I'm with the Countess. We're from Paris!
Karl Schneider: Of course, I could see you were from Paris. It's written all over you.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Artist's Life, Op.316
Written by Johann Strauss
Played on the radio and as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gilbert triumphs as talking actor
4 September 1999 | by kah-2See all my reviews

John Gilbert was the highest paid actor in Hollywood in 1929, the year silent films breathed their last. By 1933 he was through with movies and by 1935 he was dead. Lots of people believe bad things about him, mainly that he had a high squeaky voice or that he was a ham who couldn't adjust to talkies. In "Downstairs" he proves that both of these myths are false. The film is a splendid little drama--"little" being the only kind of movie MGM would cast him in by then--about a scheming chauffeur who blackmails or steals from practically everybody at the mansion he works at. Paul Lukas, years from stardom, plays the head butler, and Virginia Bruce (who married Gilbert in real life) plays the butler's new bride. The script and story are flawless, and Gilbert, playing very much against type, shines as the amoral chauffeur. "Downstairs" is a sophisticated drama that could not have been made a few years later after the censors cracked down on Hollywood, but more importantly, it is a testament to John Gilbert, who might have had a successful career in the talkies if he had been given a chance.


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