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The Purchase Price (1932)

TV-PG | | Comedy, Drama | 23 July 1932 (USA)
A torch singer becomes a mail-order bride for a farmer.


William A. Wellman


Arthur Stringer (story "The Mud Lark"), Robert Lord (screen play)

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Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Joan Gordon
George Brent ... Jim Gilson
Lyle Talbot ... Eddie Fields
Hardie Albright ... Don Leslie
David Landau ... Bull McDowell
Murray Kinnell ... Forgan
Leila Bennett ... Emily


Torch singer Joan Gordon, tiring of her relationship with small-time hood and racketeer Eddie Fields, flees to Montreal and becomes the mail-order bride of down-to-earth farmer Jim Gilson. Their chance for happiness is threatened by Gilson's own stubborness, a lecherous neighbor and the reappearance of Fields. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She took another woman's place on her wedding night..!


Comedy | Drama


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 July 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mud Lark See more »


Box Office


$202,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Joan offers Emily $100 (assuming Canadian as they are in Montreal) to trade places with her, that would equate to about $88 US at the time or $1,510 in 2017. See more »


When Barbara Stanwick gets off the train in North Dakota the terrain is very mountainous. North Dakota is on the Great Plains - very flat. See more »


Eddie 'Ed' Fields: No college boy still wet behind the ears is going to bust us up.
Joan Gordon, aka Francine La Rue: No be a good little boy and don't get yourself all in a lather.
See more »


Featured in Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire (1991) See more »


(With You on My Mind, I Find) I Can't Write the Words
Written by Gerald Marks and Buddy Fields
Played as dance music and sung by an uncredited tenor in the opening scene
See more »

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User Reviews

Stanwyck Triumphs Over Material
10 August 2004 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

After paying THE PURCHASE PRICE for his mail-order bride, a lonely wheat farmer gets more than he bargained for.

Barbara Stanwyck is first-rate, as always, in this pre-Code drama, as a nightclub chanteuse who leaves her East Coast entanglements behind and escapes to the Great Plains and marriage with a stranger. The story is completely inconsequential, but Stanwyck never fails to entertain. Whether she's crooning a sultry song, busheling wheat or jumping into a barroom fight, she's always believable.

George Brent effectively submerges his usually sophisticated mien to play the roughhewn farmer whose simple life and straightforward lovemaking is greatly complicated by Stanwyck's arrival. Brent' s evenhanded performance provides a fine counterpoint to her slightly more flamboyant portrayal.

Lyle Talbot appears as Stanwyck's wealthy former lover who follows her out from New York; David Landau is the rich Dakota landowner who tries to destroy Brent's farm; Hardie Albright as an immature playboy & Leila Bennett as a Montreal hotel maid each make the most of their short appearances.

Movie mavens will recognize brassy Mae Busch (veteran of many a Laurel & Hardy comedy) as the noisy dame seated next to Stanwyck on the train; sour faced Clarence Wilson as a grumpy Justice of the Peace; and young Anne Shirley as the poor farm girl with the new baby brother--all uncredited.

The film does a grave disservice to the good people of North Dakota, making them appear, almost without exception, as drunken louts, imbeciles or scoundrels. Was this really necessary?

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