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The Mouthpiece (1932)

Unrated | | Drama | 7 May 1932 (USA)
Prosecutor becomes a defense attorney after an innocent man is sent to an electric chair.

Writers:

Frank J. Collins (play) (as Frank Collins), Joseph Jackson (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Warren William ... Vincent 'Vince' Day
Sidney Fox ... Celia Farraday
Aline MacMahon ... Miss Hickey
John Wray ... Mr. Barton
Mae Madison ... Elaine
Ralph Ince ... J.B. Roscoe
Morgan Wallace ... E.A. Smith
Guy Kibbee ... Bartender
J. Carrol Naish ... Tony Rocco (as J. Carroll Naish)
Walter Walker Walter Walker ... District Attorney Forbes
Stanley Fields ... Mr. Pondapolis
Murray Kinnell ... Thompson--Day's Butler
Noel Francis ... Miss DeVere
William Janney ... John 'Johnny' Morris
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Storyline

When a hot young prosecutor learns that a man he got convicted and executed was in fact innocent, he quits his DA job and becomes a defense attorney. He grows rich and powerful defending guilty racketeers, but eventually sees the errors of his ways. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 May 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El criminalista See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The Vince Day character is very loosely based on Bill "The Great Mouthpiece" Fallon, one of the great criminal defense attorneys of the 1920s, who successfully defended gambler Arnold Rothstein in the "Black Sox" Fix of the 1919 World Series. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the film, Vince looks at an electric clock on his desk, but the ticking of a mechanical clock is heard. See more »

Quotes

Miss Hickey, Day's Secretary: It's all in the days work, said the street sweeper to the elephant.
See more »

Connections

Version of Illegal (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Goopy Geer
(uncredited)
Music by Herman Hupfeld
Played when Vince is leaving the first party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
breakout talkie for Warren William
19 June 2015 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

A little trivia is called for when discussing "The Mouthpiece" from 1932, or several other films, for that matter. Many films were based on the life of attorney William Fallon, whose biography was published in 1931 and whose story was told in an earlier book, In the Reign of Rothstein by Donald Henderson Clarke in 1929.

During an eight-month period, audiences saw characters based on Fallon appear in a variety of films: Lawyer Man (William Powell), Edmund Lowe for Columbia in Attorney for the Defense; and John Barrymore for RKO in State's Attorney; and For the Defense, again with William Powell.

The Mouthpiece itself was remade as The Man Who Talked Too Much with George Brent in 1940, and Illegal starring Edward G. Robinson in 1955.

The Mouthpiece was a huge hit and made Warren William a star at Warners. The story concerns an attorney, Vince Day, who prosecutes a man for murder. The man is condemned to death, but at the last minute someone confesses. However, the warden was not able to stop the execution in time.

Devastated, Day turns into a seedy defense attorney for low-lifes. He becomes enamored of an underage woman with no secretarial skills whom he hires to the disgust of his devoted secretary (Aline McMahan). Gradually he sees the errors of his ways, but it's hard to extricate oneself from the mob.

Warren William was always wonderful, and he's no different in this - he could bring charm and humor to any role as well as the drama. This film, as others have pointed out, was a real showcase for him.

Aline McMahon again proves what an underrated actress she was. She shines here in what might have been just an ordinary part.

Very dramatic film with good performances all around, and this is a real star turn for William.

For another take on this story, I recommend Illegal (1955) which I liked a little better.


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