powered by AFI
This film was copyrighted as The Southerner, and was reviewed as such in Motion Picture Herald and Hollywood Reporter. According to the Variety review, Bess Meredith and Wells Root wrote the original story with Lawrence Tibbett in mind for the lead. Variety also speculates that although five writers are credited for six musical numbers in the film, "perhaps a lot of it went on the cutting room floor, either before or after the usual coast preview." While Film Daily called the film "so meaningless that it doesn't look like an M-G-M film," Hollywood Reporter praised almost every aspect of the film, and stated that "there is not a foot of film to spare...every moment of it holds you." The Hollywood Reporter review also indicates that because of its "unique" and "daring" theme, the story encountered some difficulty in making its way to the screen. According to modern sources, The Prodigal contains remnants of Pollard's abandoned 1930 film Great Day, including the song "Without a Song."