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What Becomes of the Children? (1936)

Approved | | Drama, Crime, Family | 5 December 1936 (USA)




Cast overview, first billed only:
... Marion Worthington
... John Worthington
... Edith Worthington
... Fred Worthington
... Gayle Adams
... Thomas Scott
... Elsie Ford
... Roy Daniels
Wilson Benge ... Bates - the Butler
... Gertrude - the Governess
... Little Freddy Worthington
Anne Bennett ... Little Marion Worthington
Gennaro Curci ... Tony Gazotti (as Geunaro Curci)
... Shelby
... Detective Chief (as Joseph Girard)


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A DARING DRAMA OF TODAY! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Drama | Crime | Family


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 December 1936 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. See more »

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User Reviews

The title says it all
31 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

If the title didn't tip you off as to what to expect, the prologue leaves little doubt. A somewhat lengthy Calvinistic dirge berating the audience for being selfish hedonists let's you know what sort of sermon it intends to be. You should be at home with your kids rather than out watching this movie. I don't think it is a coincidence that it was distributed by "Puritan Distributing Company."

The bad parents in the movie are laughable caricatures of inattentive, rich parents. The father is a power hungry rail tycoon (everyone during the Great Depression was)who only wants to make more money and fails to take his children to the zoo. The mother, who for some reason isn't expected to take the children to the zoo, is more concerned with her society friends and expensive clothes. She wants her husband to stop spending so much time at work so he can pay attention to her, but doesn't want to stop spending so much money, which he forces her to do. This leads to the divorce that "destroys" the family.

In a bizarrely unrealistic move, the judge grants the father the custody of the son, the mother of the daughter, and the siblings separate without ever making contact with each other until adulthood, where the story really begins. Each grown child has an unbelievable teen-angst temper tantrum about how they didn't get enough attention as children with their respective parent, and now we are to presume the kids are delinquents because of it.

That is where this moralistic story falls apart on itself however, as the children are actually very well adjusted, kind people. They get in to trouble, but it is none of their own doing. This story was presumably to show how a broken family would lead to degenerate offspring, but the children are quite well balanced, and the most morally centered people in the picture. Only because of bad luck and people doing them wrong do they ever have misfortune. If the film makers wanted to show that broken families lead to children who stray from righteousness, they failed miserably. The kids should have been the criminals, not the people around them.

Still, it is interesting to watch because of the absurdity of it all, and it does take some turns occasionally that you don't really expect.

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