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What Becomes of the Children? (1936)

Passed | | Drama, Crime, Family | 5 December 1936 (USA)
While Boston tycoon John Worthington dreams of building his "Great American Railway," his family life is disintegrating around him. His wife Edith spends all her time on social endeavors, ... See full synopsis »

Director:

Walter Shumway

Writer:

Corra Beach (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Marsh ... Marion Worthington
Robert Frazer ... John Worthington
Natalie Moorhead ... Edith Worthington
Glen Boles ... Fred Worthington
Claudia Dell ... Gayle Adams
Niles Welch ... Thomas Scott
Barbara Pepper ... Elsie Ford
Larry Kent ... Roy Daniels
Wilson Benge ... Bates - the Butler
Mary MacLaren ... Gertrude - the Governess
Sonny Bupp ... Little Freddy Worthington
Anne Bennett Anne Bennett ... Little Marion Worthington
Gennaro Curci Gennaro Curci ... Tony Gazotti (as Geunaro Curci)
Franklyn Farnum ... Shelby
Joseph W. Girard ... Detective Chief (as Joseph Girard)
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Storyline

While Boston tycoon John Worthington dreams of building his "Great American Railway," his family life is disintegrating around him. His wife Edith spends all her time on social endeavors, leaving the rearing of their two small children, Freddie and Marion, to their nanny, Gertrude. The neglected Worthington children seek their parents attention and affection, as they witness the normal family life of next-door neighbor Thomas Scott, John's lawyer and closest friend. When Freddie and Marion bring home an abandoned dog, the two are sent to bed early. With both their parents away for the evening, the two sneak out of bed to play hide and seek. Marion, searching for Freddie, falls down the dumbwaiter and is seriously injured. The two parents rush home, and each blames the other for the child's injury. Edith, claiming that John is neglecting her as well as the children, files for divorce. Following their parents, divorce, Freddie and Marion are split up, with Freddie living with John while...

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Taglines:

FLAMING YOUTH CAUGHT IN THE MESHES OF GANGLAND...SHRINKING IN THE SHADOWS OF THE UNDERWORLD! (Print Ad-Newark Sunday Call, ((Newark, NJ)) 6 December 1936) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Crime | Family

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Margaret Bloodgood. See more »

User Reviews

 
The title says it all
31 January 2005 | by ergot29See 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 1936 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sentinel Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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