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Two Against the World (1936)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 1 January 1936 (USA)
A radio network manager's boss makes him air a Serial based on a murder, tormenting a woman involved.


William C. McGann (as William McGann), William C. McGann


Michael Jacoby (screen play by) (as Michel Jacoby)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Humphrey Bogart ... Sherry Scott
Beverly Roberts ... Alma Ross
Linda Perry ... Edith Carstairs
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Malcolm Sims Jr.
Henry O'Neill ... Jim Carstairs
Helen MacKellar ... Martha Carstairs (as Helen McKellar)
Claire Dodd ... Cora Latimer
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Tippy Mantus
Harry Hayden ... Dr. Martin Leavenworth
Robert Middlemass ... Bertram C. Reynolds (as Robert Middlemas)
Clay Clement Clay Clement ... Mr. Banning
Douglas Wood Douglas Wood ... Malcolm Sims
Virginia Brissac ... Marion Sims
Paula Stone ... Miss Symonds
Robert Gordon Robert Gordon ... Herman Mills (as Bobby Gordon)


Martha Carstairs was charged with murder twenty years earlier. Now, as her daughter Edith is about to be married to Malcolm Sims Jr., son of a wealthy industrialist, a sensationalistic radio station revives interest in the case, leading to the suicide of Martha and her husband. Opposing the station's policy is Sherry Scott, supported by his secretary Alma Ross, "two against the world." Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 January 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One Fatal Hour See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Debut film of Linda Perry See more »


When Sherry Scott is discussing hiring Dr. Leavenworth, the positioning of his hands change dramatically between shots. See more »


Featured in Breakdowns of 1936 (1936) See more »


Barcelona, Goodbye
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Bernice Petkere
See more »

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User Reviews

Broadcast News
21 April 2019 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

TWO AGAINST THE WORLD (Warner Brothers, 1936), directed by William McGann, goes on record as the first motion picture starring Humphrey Bogart. Having been in the movie business since 1930, he was usually a secondary character normally supporting its leading players. Having made an impression as Duke Mantee on both stage (1935) and screen (1936) versions of THE PETRIFIED FOREST, Bogart landed a contract with the Warner Brothers studio where he worked in a variety of roles, better suited playing gangster types. For TWO AGAINST THE WORLD, he's not a villain, but one of the bosses working for a radio studio supported by Warner Brothers stock players as his co-stars.

Set in New York City's United Broadcasting Company, "The Voice of the people," Sherry Scott (Humphrey Bogart) is called in by Bertram C. Reynolds (Robert Middlemass) the studio manager, to come up with new plan to help with popular appeal following its recent audience loss and low ratings, it is decided do a new radio series based on a 15-year-old notorious "Gloria Pembroke Case" by which the woman in question had murdered a man, but acquitted by trial and jury. Cora Latimer (Claire Dodd) and Martin Leavenworth (Harry Hayden) are hired to dig up articles in the archives to serialize the stories on a daily basis. Scott's loyal secretary, Alma Ross (Beverly Roberts) is against the idea, but the management goes on with it to boost up its ratings no matter who gets hurt. In the meantime, the real Gloria Pembroke, now known as Martha Carstairs (Helen MacKeller), living not far from the radio studio in an apartment on West 93rd Street, is alive and well, happily married to James (Henry O'Neill), who knows of her past. Their daughter, Edith (Linda Perry) is engaged to marry the following day to Malcolm Sims (Carlyle Moore Jr.). After presenting them their wedding present being a furniture-sized radio, the first thing they listen to is advertisement of the upcoming "Gloria Pembroke Case." Not wanting the young couple of ever learning about Martha's past, both Jim and Martha try in vain to keep these broadcasts from taking place. Mistaking Leavenworth for a minister connected with their daughter's upcoming wedding, Leavenworth discloses the information to the radio station for program use. However, after Jim loses his position at the bank, and Malcolm's upscale parents (Douglas Wood and Virginia Brissac) arrive demanding the wedding is not to take place, a series of unfortunate events soon follow, changing the lives of both families and the radio station as well. Others in the cast include: Hobart Cavanaugh, Frank Orth and Paula Stone. Bobby Gordon, who plays messenger boy, Herman Mills, may look familiar for anyone who's ever seen Al Jolson's THE JAZZ SINGER (1927), for which Gordon, a Jolson look-alike, was the one who played Jolson's character as a young boy early in the story.

If the plot summary sounds familiar, it's because the plot was earlier done by Warners as a newspaper story titled FIVE STAR FINAL (1931) starring Edward G. Robinson, Marian Marsh, Aline MacMahon and Boris Karloff in the Bogart, Perry, Roberts and Hayden parts. This remake, released five years later, changes much of its background to a radio station but retains it characters assuming different names. Nearly a half hour shorter, the remake suffers from rush production, leaving out material explaining certain incidents leading to connecting sequences, namely as to how the Leavenworth character was able to trace the actual Grace Pembroke to Martha Carstairs so quickly after being assigned and able to work into the Carstairs confidence by masquerading as a minister in their home. Maybe connections leading to subsequent scenes have been shortened (57 minutes) to the current circulating print under a different title showed on Turner Classic Movies of ONE FATAL HOUR. Theatrically released at 64 minutes, possibly its new title was substituted to avoid confusion to the studios' earlier 1932 drama bearing the same name but different story Constance Bennett and Neil Hamilton.

Though the central players give sincere performances, TWO AGAINST THE WORLD pales in comparison to FIVE STAR FINAL. It is interesting to note both Henry O'Neill and Helen MacKeller, normally found playing much smaller parts in other films, are given the rare opportunity becoming central characters as two against the world. Only debit, Linda Perry's bad acting towards the end, though not as over-the-top acting as Marian Marsh's performance in FIVE STAR FINAL. Regardless of differences in presentation, both films are satisfactory in both entertainment and star value. (** radios)

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