6.9/10
838
19 user 7 critic

Frisco Jenny (1932)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama, Music | 14 January 1933 (USA)
Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of a prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district ... See full summary »

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Wilson Mizner (screenplay), Robert Lord (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Female (1933)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Alison Drake, the tough-minded executive of an automobile factory, succeeds in the man's world of business until she meets an independent design engineer.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Dieterle, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Lois Wilson
Lilly Turner (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A carnival magician deserts his wife when he finds out she's pregnant. She then marries the carnival's barker, but finds herself attracted to a young engineer.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Frank McHugh
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A wife shoots her husband's mistress. Afterwards, she is tormented by guilt when someone else is blamed for the crime.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, Adolphe Menjou, Claire Dodd
Certificate: Passed Romance | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A famous British actress gets involved with two members of a reserved British noble family, whose plan to get rid of her backfires.

Director: Sidney Franklin
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, Basil Rathbone, Ralph Forbes
Certificate: Passed Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A veteran fights drug addiction to make his way in the business world.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Loretta Young, Richard Barthelmess, Aline MacMahon
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Attractive Nan, member of a bank-robbery gang, goes to prison thanks to evangelist Dave Slade...who loves her.

Directors: Howard Bretherton, William Keighley
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Lyle Talbot
Easy to Love (1934)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Carol feels, for whatever reason, that her husband, John, has grown indifferent to her, and is on a quest to find out why, suspecting another woman. She sees the family physician, Dr. Swope... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: Genevieve Tobin, Adolphe Menjou, Mary Astor
Nocturne (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1940s Los Angeles, when womanizing composer Keith Vincent is found dead, the inquest concludes it was a suicide but police detective Joe Warne isn't so sure.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: George Raft, Lynn Bari, Virginia Huston
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A socialite gets a divorce but can't keep out of her ex-husband's life.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Bette Davis
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A torch singer becomes a mail-order bride for a farmer.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Lyle Talbot
The Crash (1932)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Rich couple loses their fortune in stock market crash.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Lois Wilson
Midnight Mary (1933)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An abused orphan sinks into a life of crime.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Loretta Young, Franchot Tone, Ricardo Cortez
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ruth Chatterton ... Jenny
Louis Calhern ... Steve Dutton
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Amah
Donald Cook ... Dan Reynolds
James Murray ... Dan McAllister
Hallam Cooley ... Willie Gleason
Pat O'Malley ... O'Hoolihan
Harold Huber ... Weaver
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Sandoval
Willard Robertson ... Capt. of Police
Edit

Storyline

Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of a prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district attorney dedicated to closing down such houses. When her underling Dutton proposes telling the DA that Frisco Jenny is his birth mother, she kills the underling not to cause trouble for her son now the successful DA, she must face execution. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Common Ground See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$286,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print length)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Bernhard Kaun composed special music for the trailer. See more »

Goofs

At the 51 minute mark, Jenny is talking to her friend about finding a girl with a really loud voice. The veil of Jenny's hat falls down over her face, but as she leans in to whisper to her friend, her veil has been lifted back, but Jenny did not touch the veil. See more »

Quotes

Frisco Jenny Sandoval: Of all these dames, I have to get pinched.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Tillie Taylor
(uncredited)
Written by W.R. Williams
Sung in the saloon by a female singer
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Underrated, a really involving and complex film
22 October 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Frisco Jenny (1932)

I found this remarkable. I can guess that some people will balk at the "oldness" of the scenes and acting. Yeah, of course it's black and white. It ahs characters that might seem like caricatures, simple and obvious. But more important is the leading woman, who is terrific, Ruth Chatterton.

And key to it all is the great San Francisco earthquake. The movie is set in 1906 (this is shown in the opening frames) and so the incredible devastation is a given. And it's really well done, with buildings falling, the ground rolling (really!), and even what looks like some actual footage of the burning. Despite a lighthearted element throughout (there is a healthy sense of humor even in some of the serious moments), the overall intention is a serious social drama. Not only do we see the difficulty brought on by the quake, but the problem of an unwed mother in the middle of it all.

Only a pre-code film could pull off this kind of crossed intentions and make a drama without all kinds of covering up. So expect something terrific.

William Wellman is a great underrated director, a little like Michael Curtiz a decade later, making mainstream films really well. Both of these directors (and throw in William Wyler) were part of the Hollywood style, and in some ways helped formulate that "style." So they seem unexceptional in some ways even if their movies are really sophisticated. Here, Wellman pulls one great move after another, with moving camera, or a slow track in on a face, or quick pans instead of cuts from one face to another, and so on. The filming and editing is unsually smart. The acting works well in every case, and sometimes works exceptionally. Besides Chatterton in the title and lead role, who is remarkable in every way, there are a few side parts, including one by the dependable Louis Calhern.

And the story moves and moves. It's like an epic novel going through many years in just over an hour.

If you are plot oriented, I think you'll also find this movie special. The first scenes lead to the quake leading to a series of different kinds of scenearios that are really unexpected. So it continually surprises. And there is a weird and wonderful conflict between utter virtue (a mother watching out for her child) and ruthlessness (a mother coolly breaking the law to do so). Not all goes smoothly, of course, and so the movie takes on still other levels.

So, watch this with fascination and visual appreciation. If you let it, it will tug on your heart strings (even if the baby is an unsympathetic shouting brat!). If you have trouble finding it, look for Warner Archive Instant, which has a ton of old movies set up a little like Netflix. Enjoy!


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 19 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed