AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Seven Keys to Baldpate
Director: Reginald Barker (Dir)
Release Date:   12 Jan 1930
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 25 Dec 1929
Duration (in mins):   72
Duration (in feet):   6,742
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Richard Dix (William Magee)  
    Miriam Seegar (Mary Norton)  
    Crauford Kent (Hal Bentley)  
    Margaret Livingston (Myra Thornhill)  
    Joseph Allen (Peters)  
    Lucien Littlefield (Thomas Hayden)  
    De Witt Jennings (Mayor Cargan)  
    Carleton Macy (Kennedy)  
    Nella Walker (Mrs. Rhodes)  
    Joe Herbert (Max)  
    Alan Roscoe (Bland)  
    Harvey Clark (Elijah Quimby)  
    Edith Yorke (Mrs. Quimby)  

Summary: In a New York club, Hal Bentley, owner of the Baldpate Inn, bets successful writer William Hallowell Magee the sum of $5,000 that he cannot write a book in twenty-four hours while holed up in the Baldpate Inn, which is closed for the winter. Although he Magee is told that there is only one key to the inn, his solitude is soon interrupted by six more visitors, each with his own key. First reporter Mary Norton, with whom Magee is in love, shows up, followed by a crooked mayor, a gangster carrying a $200,000 bribe, a local hermit and the police. Although the police chief tries to steal the money and flee to Canada, the hermit throws the cash into the fire. Finally, Bentley appears and confesses that all of the intruders are actors he hired in order to divert the author and win the bet. Soon after, however, Magee finishes his book and it is revealed that all of the preceeding events have been a fantasy written into the plot. Later, Bentley and Mary return to visit. 

Production Company: RKO Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Distributing Corp.  
Director: Reginald Barker (Dir)
Writer: Jane Murfin (Adpt)
  Jane Murfin (Cont)
Photography: Edward Cronjager (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Max Rée (Art dir)
Sound: Lambert E. Day (Rec eng)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the novel Seven Keys to Baldpate by Earl Derr Biggers (Indianapolis, 1913) and the play of the same name by George M. Cohan (New York, 22 Sep 1913).
Authors: Earl Derr Biggers
  George M. Cohan

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Distributing Corp. 12/1/1930 dd/mm/yyyy LP1002

Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Photophone
  b&w:

 
Genre: Mystery
  Comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Caretakers
  Hotels
  Novelists
  Publishers and publishing
  Sheriffs

Note: The novel and play Seven Keys to Baldpate have been the basis of many films. For information on other versions, please consult the entry above for the 1917 film of the same name, directed by Hugh Ford and starring George M. Cohan and Anna Q. Nilsson. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   22 Dec 1929.   
New York Times   26 Dec 1929   p. 21.
Variety   1 Jan 1930   p. 15.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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