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A Successful Calamity (1932)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | 17 September 1932 (USA)
Henry Wilton is an elderly millionaire saddled with his selfish young second wife Emmy 'Sweetie' Wilton and a pair of spoiled grown children (Peggy and Eddie). To test his family's mettle, ... See full summary »

Director:

John G. Adolfi

Writers:

Clare Kummer (play), Maude T. Howell (adaptation) (as Maude Howell) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Arliss ... Henry Wilton
Mary Astor ... Emmy 'Sweetie' Wilton
Evalyn Knapp ... Peggy Wilton
Grant Mitchell ... Connors, Wilton's Butler
Hardie Albright ... George Struthers, Peggy's Beau
William Janney ... Eddie Wilton
David Torrence ... Partington
Randolph Scott ... Larry Rivers, the Polo Coach
Hale Hamilton ... John Belde -\sWilton's Business Associate
Fortunio Bonanova ... Pietro Rafaelo, the Pianist
Oscar Apfel ... President of the United States
Murray Kinnell ... Alfred Curtis, The Broker
Harold Minjir Harold Minjir ... Watson, Eddie's Valet (as Harold Minjur)
Barbara Leonard ... Pauline, The French Maid
Eula Guy Eula Guy ... Jane, the Cook's Helper
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Storyline

Henry Wilton is an elderly millionaire saddled with his selfish young second wife Emmy 'Sweetie' Wilton and a pair of spoiled grown children (Peggy and Eddie). To test his family's mettle, Henry pretends to have gone broke. Just as he suspected they would, his children rally to their father's side and change their ways: Peggy forsakes the fortune hunter George Struthers for the nice young man she's really in love with, the polo coach Larry Rivers; while Eddie applies for a demanding job and performs admirably. Only Sweetie seems to desert Henry. Written by Robert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 September 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Successful Calamity See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The $3,000 Connors had saved up would equate to about $54,000 in 2019. See more »

Quotes

Peggy Wilton: Dad, do you think I'm too old to go into the chorus? I mean, the Follies or something?
Eddie Wilton: No! I couldn't allow that. My sister - a *chorus* girl!
Peggy Wilton: Well, you told me that girl I saw you with last week was in the chorus. You said she was a nice girl.
Eddie Wilton: So she was; but, that's different.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good early film on wealth and families
6 June 2014 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

George Arliss was a senior stage and movie actor by the time sound came to motion pictures. But in "A Successful Calamity", he shows why he was one of the leading actors of his time that included the first three decades of filmdom. He still has a touch of the hammy in this film, where he seems to pan for the camera with subtle glances or short stops. Those were trademarks of silent films. Actors had to emote more in facial expressions and physical gestures to convey the scene's story sans sound. That was true also, though less obviously, for stage plays. But his panning in "A Successful Calamity" isn't so serious that it detracts from the film. Instead, we begin to see the great actor who was a master at conveying moods, thoughts, and feelings by his expressions and facial movements.

Arliss was British. He made most of his silent films in England, but most of his films with sound in Hollywood. In this film, Arliss plays a prominent financier, Henry Wilton. He has a fine supporting cast that includes Mary Astor as his young wife, Emmy "Sweetie," Evalyn Knapp as daughter Peggy, and William Janney as son Eddie. Some other actors – a young Randolph Scott as a polo coach, Grant Mitchell as Wilton's butler, and others add nice flavor to the film. But the heart of this movie is Wilton and his family.

The plot is very good. Arliss and Astor are excellent in their roles, but the acting of the youngsters in this film is pretty amateurish. The production qualities suffer some. Still, it's a good family story that should delight most movie buffs. To paraphrase Wilton in a scene toward the end, one never had so much fun as when one had so little to distract himself or herself from the important things in life. This is a nice film with a nice tale. Because Arliss was already a senior (age 64 in 1932) at the time of this film, he would only be in movies a few more years.


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