AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Sonny Boy
Alternate Title: She Knew Men
Director: Archie Mayo (Dir)
Release Date:   18 Apr 1929
Premiere Information:   New York and Philadelphia opening: 27 Feb 1929
Production Date:   late Oct--early Dec 1928
Duration (in mins):   70
Duration (in feet):   6,010
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Davey Lee (Sonny Boy)  
    Betty Bronson (Winifred Canfield)  
    Edward Everett Horton (Crandall Thorpe, Attorney)  
    Gertrude Olmstead (Mary)  
    John T. Murray (Hamilton)  
    Tommy Dugan (Mulcahy)  
    Lucy Beaumont (Mother Thorpe)  
    Edmund Breese (Thorpe, Sr.)  
    Jed Prouty (Phil)  

Summary: Mary and Hamilton, Sonny Boy's parents, quarrel, and Hamilton plans to take the boy to Europe while Mary telegraphs her sister, Winifred, to help her retain custody of the child. Pretending to be the maid, Winifred sends Sonny Boy out in a clothes basket, carried by a detective hired by Hamilton. At the railway station, Winifred learns that Lawyer Thorpe's apartment is vacant, and pretending to be Thorpe's wife, she and the boy gain entrance. Thorpe's parents arrive unexpectedly, and she keeps up the pretense, even when Hamilton and Thorpe arrive, followed by Mary. Hamilton attacks the attorney, thinking his wife has planned a rendezvous, but the appearance of Winifred and Sonny Boy clears the air. The parents are reconciled, and Thorpe is united with Winifred. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Archie Mayo (Dir)
Writer: C. Graham Baker (Scen)
  Leon Zuardo (Story)
  James A. Starr (Dial)
  James A. Starr (Titles)
Photography: Ben Reynolds (Dir of photog)
Film Editor: Owen Marks (Film ed)
Music: Louis Silvers (Mus arr)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Sonny Boy," words and music by Lew Brown, B. G. DeSylva and Ray Henderson
Composer: Lew Brown
  B. G. DeSylva
  Ray Henderson
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 13/4/1929 dd/mm/yyyy LP767

Physical Properties: Sd: Vitaphone
  Sd, also Si: Also si.

Genre: Melodrama
Sub-Genre: Domestic
Subjects (Major): Children

Note: According to news items, the working title of the film was She Knew Men . Other news items reported that Edmund Breese replaced Claude Gillingwater in the role of "Thorpe, Sr." As noted in reviews, child actor Davey Lee came to prominence in the 1928 Warner Bros. film The Singing Fool , in which star Al Jolson sang the song "Sonny Boy" to him. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Exhibitors Daily Review   1 Nov 1928   p. 8.
Exhibitors Daily Review   3 Oct 1928   p. 4.
Exhibitors Daily Review   5 Dec 1928   p. 4.
Film Daily   17 Mar 1929.   
New York Times   9 Mar 1929   p. 24.
Variety   6 Mar 1929   p. 21.

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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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