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The Prodigal (1931)

Passed | | Musical, Romance | 21 February 1931 (USA)
The blacksheep son of a wealthy Southern family returns to his family's plantation after he spends five years on the road as a hobo.


Harry A. Pollard


Bess Meredyth (story "The Southerner"), Wells Root (story "The Southerner") | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Lawrence Tibbett ... Jeffrey Farraday
Esther Ralston ... Antonia Farraday
Roland Young ... Doc aka Somerset Greenman
Cliff Edwards ... Snipe, a Tramp
Purnell Pratt ... Rodman Farraday
Hedda Hopper ... Christine
Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Cynthia Farraday
Stepin Fetchit ... Hokey
Louis John Bartels ... George
Theodore von Eltz ... Carter Jerome
Wally Albright ... Peter
Susanne Ransom Susanne Ransom ... Elsbeth
Gertrude Howard Gertrude Howard ... Naomi
John Larkin ... Andrew Jackson Jones


Jeffry Farraday has spent years wandering the country as a hobo, but has now returned to his wealthy Southern family's plantation. His welcome is none too enthusiastic, especially by his sister Catherine. Jeffry's brother Rodman has an unhappy marriage with Antonia, who is carrying on a loveless affair with a man named Carter Jerome. When Antonia decides to leave her husband and go away with Jerome, Jeffry attempts to talk her out of it, but without betraying the fact that he is falling in love with her himself. To avoid disrupting the family, Jeffry decides to return to the road with his hobo pals. But circumstances interfere with his plans. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Mighty Drama of LOVE! That Defied Man-Made Laws! LAWRENCE TIBBETT As you've Always Wanted to See Him- in a Modern Role for the First Time (Print Ad- Buffalo Courier-Express, ((Buffalo, NY)) 2 May 1931)


Musical | Romance








Release Date:

21 February 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Southerner See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Filmed in 1930, released in 1931, after considerable editing. See more »


Remake of Pals First (1926) See more »


Without a Song
Written by Vincent Youmans, Edward Eliscu & Billy Rose
Performed by Lawrence Tibbett
See more »

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User Reviews

Just as New Moon was my favourite Lawrence Tibbett film, The Prodigal was my least favourite
16 May 2011 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The Prodigal isn't necessarily a bad film, and it is interesting in that it portrays adultery in a non-judgemental light, but it isn't good either. The production values are quite nice, the music is absolutely wonderful, Roland Young is nicely droll and Lawrence Tibbett with his charisma and big voice is a likable lead. However, Esther Ralston shows no chemistry with Tibbett and for me this is the only Lawrence Tibbett film where neither the comedy or romantic elements quite work, the comedy being unfunny excepting Young's drollness and the romance underdeveloped and syrupy. The story is also very creaky, the characters are stock and uninteresting and the film is too short and unevenly paced. I didn't like the representation of the plantation workers either, it was stereotyped and verged on racially offensive. Overall, interesting curiosity but not a treasure. Worth seeing for the music, the subject and Tibbett if not much else. 5/10 Bethany Cox

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