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Babbitt (1934)

Middle aged George F. Babbitt is a leading citizen in the town of Zenith, the fastest growing community in America according to its town sign. George is a large part of that growth as a ... See full summary »

Director:

William Keighley

Writers:

Sinclair Lewis (novel), Mary C. McCall Jr. (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Story of small-town life in turn-of-the-century America, and a young boy's problems facing adolescence.

Director: Clarence Brown
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A modern day adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' Pulitzer Prize winning Main Street refracted through the struggles of American life in the rust belt in the 21st century and populist reactions against progressive change.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Aline MacMahon ... Myra Babbitt
Guy Kibbee ... George F. Babbitt
Claire Dodd ... Tanis Judique
Maxine Doyle ... Verona Babbitt
Glen Boles ... Ted Babbitt
Minor Watson ... Paul 'Paulivus' F. Reisling
Minna Gombell ... Zilla Reisling
Alan Hale ... Charlie McKelvey
Berton Churchill ... Judge Virgil 'Verge' Thompson
Russell Hicks ... Commissioner Lyle Gurnee
Nan Grey ... Eunice Littlefield (as Nan Gray)
Walter Walker Walter Walker ... Luke Ethorne
Arthur Aylesworth ... Zeke
Addison Richards ... District Attorney
Harry Tyler ... Martin Gunch
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Storyline

Middle aged George F. Babbitt is a leading citizen in the town of Zenith, the fastest growing community in America according to its town sign. George is a large part of that growth as a property developer and realtor. He is lovingly married to his wife Myra, the two who have two children, Ted and Verona who are approaching adulthood. George has always had a fearless attitude, much like that of a naive child, which has led to his business success. He encounters some personal stresses when he faces what he believes is a potential home-wrecking issue, and when his oldest friend Paul and his wife Zilla deal with domestic problems. These stresses make George want to provide even more to his own family, leading to George agreeing to participate in a less than scrupulous but lucrative business dealing. George's bravura gets him into a potential scandal. This situation makes him question his general behavior, especially toward his family. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HE'S A 100% BIG SHOT! 25% WINDBAG 25% WISE GUY 25%...SUCKER 25%.......SAP (Print Ad- Buffalo Courier-Express, ((Buffalo, NY)) 18 January 1935)

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 December 1934 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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 $10,000 in blackmail would equal over $180,000 in 2016. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film at the breakfast table, when the toast pops out of the toaster and startles the maid, the bread is white in close-up. Then in the next long shot Mrs. Babbitt takes the toast out of the toaster and it's burnt black. See more »

Quotes

George F. Babbitt: Come, Zill. What you need to do is get your feet hot and your head cool.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the Zebras
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Guy takes the lead.
7 November 2012 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

Sinclair Lewis's lengthy best seller get's a trimming in this under 80 minute film adaptation parodying the American Dream post World War 1. While it is a less than justifying translation it does allow two of the more dependable supporting players in 30 's movies Guy Kibee and Aline Mc Mahon to shine as leads.

Zenith realtor and booster George Babbitt is bullish on the land of opportunity he lives in. A bit of a braggart and blow hard he is nevertheless a popular figure in the community and among fellow lodge members. In moments of brief introspection he has his doubts about his pursuit of all things material attempting to get away from it all by going camping with a long time friend and dallying with a young client. His social climbing and chase for the almighty buck however get him involved in a corrupt land deal and he faces ruin.

Kibee's George Babbitt is an abrasively generous and sympathetic character whose ego is exploited by more devious and cynical types. His defense of his pal who shoots his nagging wife is noble but wrongheaded, the unsavory land deal more than just acceptable business practice. Kibee's non-threatening flustered stage demeanor negates any an all villainy though, his greatest guilt being pride and a touch of arrogance.

With it's slim running time Babbitt spends little time on the book's satiric and metaphorical possibilities with great swaths excised, leaving it up to George's flustered optimism and gullibility to carry the film and Kibee does not disappoint even if the choppy storyline does.


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