General Crack

General Crack is a 1929 American pre-Code part-talkie historical costume melodrama with Technicolor sequences which was directed by Alan Crosland and produced and distributed by Warner Bros. It was filmed and premiered in 1929, and released early in 1930. It stars John Barrymore in his first full-length all-talking feature. The film would prove to be Crosland and Barrymore's last historical epic together.[2]

General Crack
Directed byAlan Crosland
Produced byNed Marin
Written byJ. Grubb Alexander (scenario & dialogue)
Walter Anthony (adaptation)
Based onGeneral Crack
by George R. Preedy
StarringJohn Barrymore
Music byRex Dunn
CinematographyTony Gaudio (Technicolor)
Edited byHarold McLernon
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • December 3, 1929 (1929-12-03) (NYC & LA)
  • January 25, 1930 (1930-01-25) (US)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,320,000[1]


The film takes place in the 18th century Austria and revolves around Prince Christian, commonly known as General Crack (John Barrymore). His father had been a respectable member of the nobility but his mother was a gypsy. General Crack, as a soldier of fortune, spent his adult life selling his services to the highest bidder. He espouses the doubtful cause of Leopold II of Austria (Lowell Sherman, reigned 1790-1792) after demanding the sister of the emperor in marriage as well as half of the gold of the Holy Roman Empire. Before he has finished his work, however, he meets a gypsy dancer (Armida) and weds her. Complications arise when he takes his gypsy wife to the Austrian court and falls desperately in love with the emperor's sister (Marian Nixon). The court sequence was originally in Technicolor and proved to be Barrymore's last appearance in color.[3]


Box Office

According to Warner Bros records the film earned $919,000 domestic and $401,000 foreign.[1]


The sound version of General Crack is lost. The silent version of this film, with Czech intertitles, survives, but does not have any of the original color sequences.[4] Copies are located in the Czech archive and the Museum of Modern Art.[5] Although the complete soundtrack for the sound version survives on Vitaphone disks, the silent version was either a "B" negative or an alternate take with intertitles. So while this is a legitimate version of the film, it does not match up with the Vitaphone soundtrack.

See also


  1. Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 10 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. Progressive Silent Film List: General Crack at the
  3. He had previously appeared in The Show of Shows (1929) in color.
  4. John Barrymore General Crack 1929 on YouTube
  5. Film details,; accessed January 20, 2016.

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