Grand Slam


1h 7m 1933
Grand Slam

Brief Synopsis

A hat-check girl's skill with cards lands her a wealthy bridge champion.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
Mar 18, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Grand Slam: The Rise and Fall of a Bridge Wizard by Benjamin Russell Herts (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Peter Stanislavsky works as a waiter in a Russian restaurant to support himself and his wife Marcia while he writes a serious novel. Although he thinks the game of bridge is supremely silly, Marcia forces him to learn the game. One evening, while he is catering a party of bridge players, the hostess, Lola Starr, drafts the attractive Peter to form a fourth at her table with bridge expert Van Dorn. Peter refuses to bid according to the Van Dorn system and to everyone's surprise wins the match. The next day, Philip, a ghost writer known as Speed, offers to write a book under Peter's name deliniating the Stanislavsky method. To promote the book, Peter and Marcia play in a variety of tournaments. They claim that because there are no rules in the Stanislavsky method, husbands and wives have no reason to fight with each other. In reality, Peter's criticisms of Marcia's bids cause quarrels between the two. Then when Lola asks Peter for private lessons, Marcia is convinced there is something between them, and she leaves Peter. Because he is in love with Marcia, Speed reveals that he wrote the book under Peter's name. Peter's waiter friends are angry because now they will lose the money they invested in the book. In order to pay them back, Peter approaches Van Dorn to propose a contest between the two of them. At the beginning of the contest, Peter is losing badly. Other players refuse to partner with Peter and it looks as though he will have to default until Marcia appears and offers to be his partner. An unbeatable team, they win the match and repair their marriage.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
Mar 18, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Grand Slam: The Rise and Fall of a Bridge Wizard by Benjamin Russell Herts (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Articles

Grand Slam (1933) - Grand Slam


Movie studios of the 1930s were always on the lookout for topical subject matter. In the winter of 1932, a highly publicized 'Bridge Match of the Century' was fought between teams allied behind competing experts Ely Culbertson and Sidney Lenz, using the 'Culbertson' and 'Lenz' systems of play. Less than a year later First National released Grand Slam, a feature based on a book by B. Russell Herts. Paul Lukas plays Peter Stanislavsky, a waiter coerced into learning bridge by his wife, hatcheck girl Marcia (Loretta Young). Peter proves a natural player, besting the reigning expert Cedric Van Dorn (Ferdinand Gottschalk). Ghostwriter Speed McCann (Frank McHugh) then hypes the 'Stanislavsky method' in a book that challenges the accepted 'Van Dorn method'. The high society that follows competitive bridge soon makes Peter and Marcia into 'The Bridge Sweethearts of America.' Part of their popular appeal is predicated on the fib that the Stanislavsky method eliminates arguments between partners, whereas in real play Peter and Marcia quarrel like any other pair of bridge partners - or married people. This humorous situation is sharpened when Marcia becomes convinced that Peter's affections are drifting toward noted bridge hostess Lola Starr (Helen Vinson), and they break up. Rumors about the ghostwritten book force Peter to propose a challenge match with Van Dorn himself, and Marcia returns as Peter's partner despite their separation. William Dieterle's airy direction was praised, as was Paul Lukas for an atypical light comedy performance. Frequently-paired comedy specialists Frank McHugh and Glenda Farrell provide a second, more cynical romantic sidebar, while Variety noted that vamp Helen Vinson "...hasn't gotten her man in nine Warner pics straight." The film introduces its cast by featuring pictures of each actor displayed on a separate playing card.

by Glenn Erickson
Grand Slam (1933) - Grand Slam

Grand Slam (1933) - Grand Slam

Movie studios of the 1930s were always on the lookout for topical subject matter. In the winter of 1932, a highly publicized 'Bridge Match of the Century' was fought between teams allied behind competing experts Ely Culbertson and Sidney Lenz, using the 'Culbertson' and 'Lenz' systems of play. Less than a year later First National released Grand Slam, a feature based on a book by B. Russell Herts. Paul Lukas plays Peter Stanislavsky, a waiter coerced into learning bridge by his wife, hatcheck girl Marcia (Loretta Young). Peter proves a natural player, besting the reigning expert Cedric Van Dorn (Ferdinand Gottschalk). Ghostwriter Speed McCann (Frank McHugh) then hypes the 'Stanislavsky method' in a book that challenges the accepted 'Van Dorn method'. The high society that follows competitive bridge soon makes Peter and Marcia into 'The Bridge Sweethearts of America.' Part of their popular appeal is predicated on the fib that the Stanislavsky method eliminates arguments between partners, whereas in real play Peter and Marcia quarrel like any other pair of bridge partners - or married people. This humorous situation is sharpened when Marcia becomes convinced that Peter's affections are drifting toward noted bridge hostess Lola Starr (Helen Vinson), and they break up. Rumors about the ghostwritten book force Peter to propose a challenge match with Van Dorn himself, and Marcia returns as Peter's partner despite their separation. William Dieterle's airy direction was praised, as was Paul Lukas for an atypical light comedy performance. Frequently-paired comedy specialists Frank McHugh and Glenda Farrell provide a second, more cynical romantic sidebar, while Variety noted that vamp Helen Vinson "...hasn't gotten her man in nine Warner pics straight." The film introduces its cast by featuring pictures of each actor displayed on a separate playing card. by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Onscreen director and cast credits appear on individual playing cards. Film Daily notes that Alfred E. Green was originally announced as the director. Although screen credits list the name as "Philip," Frank McHugh's character is called "Speed" throughout the film. Contemporary sources note that the playoff between Peter and Van Dorn is a spoof of a match played between bridge experts Cuthbertson and Sidney S. Lenz. According to Warner Bros. production reports included in the file on the film in the AMPAS library, the film was shot over twenty-two days for a total cost of $164,000.