6.2/10
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A Modern Hero (1934)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 21 April 1934 (USA)
Pierre is a young and handsome circus rider whose mother has long tolerated his amorous adventures but becomes genuinely concerned when he actually falls in love. She reveals to him that ... See full summary »

Director:

Georg Wilhelm Pabst (as G.W. Pabst)

Writers:

Louis Bromfield (novel), Gene Markey (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Barthelmess ... Pierre Radier, aka Paul Rader
Jean Muir ... Joanna Ryan Croy
Marjorie Rambeau ... Mme. Azais
Verree Teasdale ... Lady Claire Benston
Florence Eldridge ... Leah Ernst
Dorothy Burgess ... Hazel Flint Radier
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Henry Mueller
William Janney ... Young Pierre Croy
Arthur Hohl ... Homer Flint
Theodore Newton ... Elmer Croy
J.M. Kerrigan ... Mr. Ryan
Maidel Turner ... Aunt Clara Weingartner
Mickey Rentschler ... Young Pierre as a Child
Richard Tucker ... Mr. Eggelson
Judith Vosselli ... Mrs. Eggelson
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Storyline

Pierre is a young and handsome circus rider whose mother has long tolerated his amorous adventures but becomes genuinely concerned when he actually falls in love. She reveals to him that he's the son of a wealthy man, whom she could not marry because of the circus life. But Pierre uses this knowledge as a springboard to wealth and fame himself, as an automobile maker in the early days of the industry, and as a munitions dealer when war breaks out. But his ambition seems to take its toll on all his relationships, and he seems unaware that he is over-reaching himself... Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Herói Moderno 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

Via a telegram, we learn that the town of Pentland is in Illinois. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, Pierre is shown at the circus getting on a horse and going around the ring counter-clockwise. But, in the close-up shots, he is going around clockwise. See more »

Soundtracks

Spirit of Independence
(uncredited)
Music by Abe Holzmann
See more »

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User Reviews

Egotist Overreaches
18 February 2016 | by GManfredSee all my reviews

That might be the headline of a tabloid feature about the hero in question. Played by Richard Barthelmess, 'hero' is an inapt description of author Louis Bromfield's character, since he is neither modern nor a hero. 'Modern' depends on your point of view, but Pierre Radier is more opportunist and con man than hero. There are great similarities and a slight physical resemblance to Tyrone Power's character in "Nightmare Alley", as Radier uses people and their money to improve his social status. Ultimately, his reach exceeds his grasp but his end is better than Power's Stan Carlisle.

"A Modern Hero" is a simple, straightforward story and plays like an Aesop's fable. It is well done and is an absorbing cautionary tale about the evils of money and the pursuit of power. Barthelmess is good, but I thought the best part of the film was the casting of the women supporting him. Jean Muir was lovely as always and Veree Teasdale was even better, with the supercilious air of a female George Sanders. Best of all was Florence Eldridge as a vulnerable widow who falls for the caddish Radier. Her portrayal and her sad, expressive eyes stay with you after her part is finished. Marjorie Rambeau has perhaps her best role as Radier's alcoholic, regretful mother.

"A Modern Hero" is well worth the time and is easy to take at only 70 minutes. I also feel the website rating is somewhat low. It was shown recently on old reliable TCM.


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