A Greek Fisherman brings an Atlantean Princess back to her homeland which is the mythical city of Atlantis. He is enslaved for his trouble. The King is being manipulated by an evil sorcerer... See full summary »
Cantakerous, opinionated Peter Grimm is a seventh generation member of a Dutch immigrant family that founded a family flower farm two centuries earlier. Realizing he has a bad heart, Grimm extracts promises and concessions from those he expects will survive him and draws up his will appropriately. He extracts a promise from his beloved foster daughter Catherine that she will marry his newly-arrived nephew Frederik although she loves James, a hired hand on the farm. Grimm's hopes that the farm will remain in the family are given a blow when the mercenary Frederik announces his intentions to sell the entire operation to a hated Grimm rival When Grimm returns as a spirit he discovers a terrible situation of his own creation. His "friends" are dissatisfied with their bequests, young William's health is failing, and Catherine seems headed for an unhappy marriage. Through the dying William and his old friend and confidante, Dr. Macpherson, Grimm's spirit tries to reverse the harm he's done. Written by
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 13, 1939 with Lionel Barrymore reprising his film role. See more »
Towards the end of the film, Dr. Andrew Macpherson is shown at William's bedside. He reaches around the boy to embrace him, but when the camera angle changes, the doctor is suddenly no longer holding him. See more »
[to the dying William]
Sleep... sleep. I wish you the pleasantest dreams a little boy can have... in this world.
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In upstate New York, wealthy Lionel Barrymore (as Peter Grimm) arranges for his beautiful ward Helen Mack (as Catherine) to marry his closest blood relation, nephew Allen Vincent (as Frederik "Fred" Grimm). Although she is in love with Mr. Barrymore's nice-guy secretary James Bush (as James), Ms. Mack promises to marry the sneaky-acting nephew. After expiring, Barrymore realizes his mistake and must make amends. That's the obvious story. Pay closer attention to the story unfolding within the boy, young George Breakston (as William Van Dam), who greets Mr. Vincent at the train station...
This is a fine version of David Belasco's excellent original story, made famous by the playwright with stage star David Warfield. No doubt familiar with the role, Barrymore went "on loan" from MGM to RKO in accepting the part. A notorious scene stealer, Barrymore employs his excessive body movements while on camera and is toned down for the film's noticeable "special effect". Initially, you may find yourself squinting at the blurred image. Also, some intriguing parts of the original work are omitted, unfortunately, but the remaining product still plays. It's flawed - but not fatally...
The screen keeps busy with Donald Meek and Ethel Griffies (as Everett and Martha Bartholomew) around. Edward Ellis (as Andrew Macpherson) and Lucien Littlefield (as Tom Lawton) provide balance. Barrymore and young Breakston "walk away" with the film. This type of story has been made numerous times, but this version is special because it seems to be about one plot, but is really about other things; and, the stories compliment each other perfectly. Someone should look into obtaining the rights to this film and attempt a re-make. "They don't make 'em like this anymore," but they could try.
******** The Return of Peter Grimm (9/13/35) George Nicholls Jr. ~ Lionel Barrymore, George Breakston, Edward Ellis, Helen Mack
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