Social Register (film)

Social Register is an American 1934 Pre-Code musical comedy-drama film starring Colleen Moore. The film re-united her with her old friend and one of the first directors to give her film career a start, Marshall Neilan. The film was based on the 1931 play of the same name by Anita Loos and John Emerson.

Social Register
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarshall Neilan
Harold Godsoe
Produced byWilliam C. deMille
Marshall Neilan
Written byJames Creelman
Clara Beranger
Grace Perkins
StarringColleen Moore
Charles Winninger
Pauline Frederick
Alexander Kirkland
Music byNathaniel Shilkret
CinematographyMerritt Gerstad
Production
companies
Associated Film Productions
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distributed byColumbia Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • March 10, 1934 (1934-03-10)
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Plot

Patsy Shaw (Moore) upsets a stuffy party at the home of wealthy Mr. Henry Breene (John Miltern) by stealing a necktie to win the scavenger hunt at Robert Benchley's party across the street. Charlie Breene (Alexander Kirkland), Henry's spoiled son, comes to retrieve his tie and becomes infatuated with Patsy.

Three months later, Charlie gives Patsy a valuable diamond bracelet, which she reluctantly accepts. Back at her apartment, Lester Trout (Ross Alexander), a saxophone player, convinces Patsy that he is ill and has lost his job. Patsy gives Lester the bracelet as a loan, against the advice of her friends, who are suspicious of him.

Charlie's mother, Mrs. Henry Horace "Maggie" Breene (Pauline Frederick), fearful of her son's relationship with a plebeian, arranges a party hoping Patsy's lack of social graces will ruin Charlie's affection for her. Finding the party boring, Patsy goes to the bar, where after a few drinks, she begins to entertain the guests who are slowly wandering in to escape the dull affair. Maggie, relying on the family patriarch, Uncle Jefferson Breene (Charles Winninger), to end the romance, announces his arrival, but she is aghast when Patsy fondly hugs the old man whom she knows as "Jonesie," the friend of one of her roommates. Maggie then asks family attorney Albert Wiggins (Garvie) to end the romance, no matter the cost. Wiggins pays Lester to tell Patsy that he is ill and in need of her help. Charlie is informed about what Patsy did with the bracelet and accuses her of being unfaithful. Lester convinces Patsy to marry him, but as soon as they wed, she finds Wiggins' check for $5000 and realizes the truth. Patsy tears the check up, just as Charlie arrives with Jonesie, who arranges their reconciliation. Having only been married to Lester for ten minutes, Charlie has Wiggins arrange Patsy's annulment.

Cast

Songs

  • "Honey Dear" (music by Ford Dabney and Con Conrad, lyrics by Edward Heyman)
  • "I Didn't Want to Love You" (music by Conrad, lyrics by Ned Washington)
  • "Why Not" (music by Conrad, lyrics by Heyman)

Background

After several years of semi-retirement from Hollywood, Moore returned to the film industry. The character she played in this film, while still working class (as they were in her other films for Neilan, like Dinty and Her Wild Oat) was more sophisticated and adult than the women she had played at the height of her fame in the late 1920s. Neilan was a heavy drinker and over the years his reputation as a director was eroded by his drinking and his disdain for authority. This was one of his last major films. Some scenes were filmed on location in New York City. A print of this film has long been held by the Library of Congress.[1]

Notes

  • Synopsis, nytimes.com; accessed 24 March 2016.
  • Colleen Moore, Silent Star, Doubleday, 1968.
  • Jeff Codori (2012), Colleen Moore; A Biography of the Silent Film Star, McFarland Publishing,(Print ISBN 978-0-7864-4969-9, EBook ISBN 978-0-7864-8899-5).

References

  1. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress (<-book title) p.169 c.1978 American Film Institute
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