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Louis Gossett Jr.
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Cyril Maude, who talks like a Regency survivor in this modern-dress version of the play -- modern for 1930 -- is a doddering old fool who loves his grand daughter, Frances Dade, very much. When Phillips Holmes comes back from Africa, carrying a large diamond for his employer, he stops in on the old man and to make sure she is aware that now that he has a good job and prospects, he's going to make love to her the next afternoon, preparatory to their getting married.
Everyone is overjoyed, including the household staff, but then when Holmes is smoking a cigarette, the lights go out, he gets into a fight, and lies there unconscious, while the diamond goes missing. Whereupon it's up to Mr. Maude to dodder off into town and deal with the matter.
It's a sound remake of William Demille's smash 1923 silent version, and both are based on a successful play. It's notable for being George Cukor's first credit as director; since Cyril Gardner is credited as co-director, I expect Cukor directed the performances, while Gardner, who had been editing films for a dozen years, supervised set-ups and camera angles. His previous directorial credit had been on the Spanish-language version of THE BENSON MURDER CASE.
I don't know how much direction Mr. Maude took; his performance is so full of harrumphing and antiquated expressions, that it looks like a stage performance. The other performers give much more reserved performances, which might be at Mr. Cukor's direction, to allow Maude to dominate. Which he does, in a delightfully large turn.
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