AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Director: John Brahm (Dir)
Release Date:   29 Sep 1939
Production Date:   began 20 Jul 1939
Duration (in mins):   75
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Basil Rathbone (Paul Reynard)  
    Victor McLaglen (Dirk)  
    Sigrid Gurie (Irene Reynard)  
    Robert Cummings (Bill Gregory)  
    Leo Carrillo (Roberto)  
    Billy Gilbert (Manuelo)  
    Maurice Moscovich (Old convict)  
    Irving Bacon ('Mushy')  
    Samuel S. Hinds (Lamartine)  
    Irving Pichel (Rocco)  
    Ferika Boras (Maria)  
    Henry Armetta (Head waiter)  
    Theodore Rand (Dance specialty)  
    Geneva Hall (Dance specialty)  
    Lionel Pape (Jeweler)  
    Russell Hicks (Banker)  
    Ferdinand Munier (Banker)  
    Landers Stevens (Banker)  
    Ed Mortimer (Banker)  
    Kathleen Howard (Adrienne Lamartine)  
    Frank Reicher (Fechet)  
    Harry Worth (Prefect of police)  
    C. Montague Shaw (Aristocratic man)  
    Paul Bryar (Guard)  
    Lane Chandler (Guard)  
    George Davis (Waiter)  
    Chris-Pin Martin (Foreman)  
    Howard Brooks (Priest)  
    Louise Brien (English telephone operator)  
    Otto Han (Japanese banker)  
    Edward Keane (Mr. Albert)  
    William Royle (First guard)  
    Ben Taggart (Second guard)  
    Alphonse Martell (George, maitre de)  
    George Lloyd (First sailor)  
    Virginia Dabney (American telephone operator)  
    Alice Ardell (French telephone operator)  
    Harold De Garo (Man on stilts)  
    Mia Ichioka (Japanese telephone operator)  
    William Worthington (American banker)  
    Ernie Adams (Convict)  
    Marty Faust (Convict)  
    Sid D'Albrook (Convict)  
    Franco Corsaro (Bartender)  
    Tony Paton (Doorman)  
    Jimmie Lucas (Second sailor)  
    Harry Lang (Taxi driver)  
    Valeska Gert (Specialty number)  
    Delmar Costello (Romeo)  
    Jack Chefe (French sailor)  
    Frances Robinson (Renee, maid)  
    Olaf Hytten    
    Walter Fenner    
    Eddy Chandler    
    Ernest Lenart    
    Nick Thompson    
    Eric Alden    
    Evelyn Selbie    
    Grayce Hampton    
    Charles Sullivan    

Summary: Diabolical French capitalist Paul Reynard is forced to leave Irene, his bride of one year, when he is arrested for the crimes of forgery and embezzlement and sentenced to a penal colony off the coast of South America. To remain close to her husband, Irene, accompanied by Dirk, Paul's body guard and valet, travels to Rio de Janeiro, where she finds a job singing in Roberto's Cafe. At the cafe, Irene meets Bill Gregory, an American engineer whose morale has been destroyed by the collapse of a bridge that he was building. Bill falls in love with Irene, and one night while drunk, volunteers to design an irrigation system for the drought-stricken peasants living on Roberto's ranch. Though his offer was a drunken boast, when Bill sobers up, he is touched by the plight of the peasants and begins to design a dam. Meanwhile, at the penal colony, Paul, goaded by the sadistic guard Rocco, becomes restless and sends an emissary to Dirk, instructing him to arrange a jail break. After completing the dam, Bill proclaims his love to Irene, but she remains faithful to Paul, even though she no longer loves him. Soon afterward, Paul stages a jail break and pins his identification number onto a fellow prisoner that he has murdered during the escape. Receiving word of her husband's death, Irene accepts Bill's proposal and they are in the midst of planning their wedding when Paul appears and threatens Bill's life. As the police surround them, Dirk pleads with Paul to give himself up, and in the ensuing struggle, Paul is shot. Dirk then picks up Paul's unconscious body, walks into the police dragnet and perishes in a hail of bullets. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Co.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Co.  
Director: John Brahm (Dir)
  Phillip Karlstein (Asst dir)
Writer: Aben Kandel (Scr)
  Edwin Justus Mayer (Scr)
  Frank Partos (Scr)
  Stephen Morehouse Avery (Scr)
  Jean Negulesco (Orig story)
  Charles Grayson (Contr to scr const)
Photography: Hal Mohr (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Jack Otterson (Art dir)
  Martin Obzina (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Philip Cahn (Film ed)
Set Decoration: R. A. Gausman (Set dec)
Costumes: Vera West (Gowns)
  Madame Pola (Sigrid Gurie's gowns)
Music: Charles Previn (Mus dir)
Sound: Bernard B. Brown (Sd supv)
  William Hedgecock (Sd tech)
Dance: Larry Ceballos (Dance dir)
Production Misc: Banta Orgolini (Tech dir)
Country: United States

Songs: "Love Opened My Eyes," words and music by Jimmy McHugh; "Heart of Mine," "After the Rain," words and music by Frank Skinner and Ralph Freed.
Composer: Ralph Freed
  Jimmy McHugh
  Frank Skinner

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co. 28/9/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP9134

PCA NO: 5720
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Criminals--Rehabilitation
  Unrequited love
Subjects (Minor): Bartenders
  Capitalists and financiers
  Penal colonies
  Prison escapes
  Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  South America

Note: According to a news item in HR , Danielle Darrieux was originally slated for the female lead. Another news item in HR adds that technical director Banta Orgolini was a Hollywood correspondent for several Brazilian publications. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   21 Sep 39   p. 3.
Film Daily   26 Sep 39   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Jun 39   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jul 39   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jul 39   pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jul 39   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Sep 39   p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily   29 Sep 39   p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald   9 Sep 39   p. 59.
Motion Picture Herald   14 Oct 39   pp. 42-44.
New York Times   27 Oct 39   p. 27.
Variety   4 Oct 39   p. 12.

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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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