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Winterset (1936)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 3 December 1936 (USA)
Immigrant radical Bartolomeo Romagna is falsely condemned and executed for a payroll robbery. Years later, his son Mio sets out to find the truth of the crime and to bring to account the ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mio Romagna
... Miriamne Esdras
... Trock Estrella
... Bartolomio Romagna
... Judge Gaunt
... Esdras
... Garth Esdras
... Shadow
... Radical
... Policeman in the Square
... Hobo
Myron McCormick ... Carr
... Maria Romagna
... Girl
... Piny


Immigrant radical Bartolomeo Romagna is falsely condemned and executed for a payroll robbery. Years later, his son Mio sets out to find the truth of the crime and to bring to account the gangster Trock Estrella. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 December 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abismos Humanos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Burgess Meredith, in his film debut, recreates the role he played in the original Broadway production. See more »


Version of Winterset (1945) See more »


Written by Ernesto Lecuona
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User Reviews

Sense of mission
24 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

The chance to see Broadway players recreate their performances on film back in the day should never be missed. Burgess Meredith, Margo, and Eduardo Ciannelli recreate their stage roles from Winterset in this 1936 film. But the story itself is horribly dated, mostly with a lot of left wing rhetoric which gets in the way of the plot.

Probably back in 1936 no one cared as the cause of Sacco&Vanzetti was still fresh in everyone's mind. Today it is still debated by historians and legal scholars and the two working class Italian-Americans are still venerated in Italian-American households of a more liberal persuasion in their politics. But the average American today knows the case vaguely if at all today.

The men went to the electric chair in Massachusetts protesting their innocence as does John Carradine in this film. Before Carradine dies he imparts a sense of mission to his son who grows up to be Burgess Meredith to find the real guilty parties.

A review of the case by a law school class saying that the state electrocuted the wrong man brings new attention to the case, not something that Eduardo Ciannelli likes. He was the real trigger man in the case and now he's a big shot gangster.

Rather improbable events bring Meredith, Ciannelli, the judge Edward Ellis now a drunken derelict, Paul Guilfoyle another accomplice, Guilfoyle's father Maurice Moscovitch and his sister Margo all together on a rainy and stormy night.

Maxwell Anderson wrote the original play and I have to contrast it with another of his plays that made it to the screen, Key Largo. It was another film where various folks are trapped in a storm and interesting things happen. Winterset never really sheds its stage origins and can't shake the rhetoric. Contrast that to Key Largo which never loses your interest for a second and while most of the action takes place in a closed down out of season hotel where the cast is holed up you never get any sense of staginess in it. The rhetoric is there, but it never gets in the way of the story as in Winterset.

Even with Oscar nominations for Art Direction and Musical scoring Winterset is a relic of bygone days.

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