Chances


1h 11m 1931
Chances

Brief Synopsis

When brothers fighting World War I together fall for the same girl, it spells danger.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Release Date
Jul 18, 1931
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 Chances by Arthur Hamilton Gibbs (Boston, 1930).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 11m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

In a heavy London fog in 1914, soldier Jack Ingleside bumps into an attractive woman. He begs her to have a drink with him, but she laughingly refuses him. To Jack's confusion, she seems to know him and to be amused that he doesn't know her. Before she leaves, Jack gets her phone number, and when he joins his brother Tom in a local pub, he tries to phone, but discovers he has written the number incorrectly. The next day, the two brothers, who are inseparable, travel together to visit their mother before they go off to war. To Jack's surprise, one of the guests at his mother's is the woman of the night before. Tom immediately recognizes her as Molly Prescott, a childhood neighbor and the only woman he has ever loved. Jack is smitten in his turn, and Molly returns his affection, although Jack's reputation as a ladies' man makes her nervous. Jack is serious, but when his mother tells him of Tom's feelings, Jack decides to step aside. He flirts with Sylvia, another guest, in front of Molly, and on the rebound, she agrees to wait for Tom. At the front, Jack successfully completes a difficult mission and is given a week's leave. By accident Jack runs into Molly in Calais, where she works as a driver. Once together again, they realize the depth of their feelings, and Molly asks Jack to tell Tom that she cannot marry him. Tom is devasted by the news. Giving up on life, he lets himself be shot by the enemy, but before he dies, he and Jack reconcile. After the war, Molly meets wounded war hero Jack at the train station, and together they begin their life without Tom.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Release Date
Jul 18, 1931
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 Chances by Arthur Hamilton Gibbs (Boston, 1930).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 11m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Articles

Chances


Douglas Fairbanks Jr.'s famous name was enough to get him a Hollywood studio contract in 1923, at the tender of 13, to his father's chagrin. But the younger Fairbanks had to work hard to achieve success in his own right, and honed his craft by working in the theater. Thanks to his stage experience and excellent diction, he successfully made the transition to talking films in 1928, and was signed to a contract by First National Pictures. After the company was taken over by Warner Bros., he was promoted to major supporting roles in prestige films such as the war drama The Dawn Patrol (1930) and Little Caesar (1931), and the studio's head of production Darryl Zanuck began grooming him for stardom.

Fairbanks's first starring role at the studio was another World War I film, Chances (1931). Fairbanks and Anthony Bushell play British soldier brothers in love with the same woman, played by Rose Hobart. Howard Hawks, who had directed The Dawn Patrol, was assigned to direct, but he thought the best-selling novel upon which the film was based was "lousy," and refused. Veteran director Allan Dwan, who had helmed many of the senior Fairbanks's silent films, including one of his best, Robin Hood (1922), stepped in, to the delight of Fairbanks Junior, who remembered Dwan in his memoirs as a "marvelous old boy."

Two seaside scenes in Chances, supposedly taking place in Cornwall and in France, were shot in Santa Barbara. For one of the war scenes, a battlefield was built on ten acres at the Warner Brothers/First National ranch. But the film's most elaborate set -- and the largest interior set ever built at First National -- was the interior, exterior, and garden of an English country home.

Critics at the time found the film impressive. "It is a thoroughly human story of war and love....It rings true in every episode, nothing being overdone, for which director Allan Dwan, the director, deserves much credit," according to Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times. More than 50 years later, Fairbanks was less effusive, writing "The picture, in spite of dear Allan's patient and paternal guidance and the expensive production given it, did not have a story of a power and sweep to match its background," he wrote. "It was good, but not good enough. Today it is still affecting, though a little dated." Seen another 20 years after that was written, the film remains "affecting," and the years have only given it more poignancy.

In the decades after making Chances, Fairbanks found his footing in films, and had some of his biggest successes with the same kind of roles at which his father had excelled, in swashbucklers and adventure stories such as The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), Gunga Din (1939) and Sinbad the Sailor (1947). As a naval officer during World War II, his real-life heroics earned him decorations from the American, French, Italian and British governments. He continued to act in films, television and theater until the 1980s. When Fairbanks died in 2000, the New York Times obituary noted, "The son was not the gymnast that his father was, but he was a versatile actor who easily played a wide variety of roles."

Director: Allan Dwan
Screenplay: A. Hamilton Gibbs, Waldemar Young
Cinematography: Editor: Ray Corliss
Art Direction: Esdras Hartley
Principal Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (Jack Ingleside), Rose Hobart (Molly Prescott), Anthony Bushell (Tom Ingleside), Holmes Herbert (Major Bradford), Mary Forbes (Mrs. Ingleside), Edmond Breon (The General), Harry Allen (Private Jones), Florence Britton (Sylvia)
72 minutes

by Margarita Landazuri
Chances

Chances

Douglas Fairbanks Jr.'s famous name was enough to get him a Hollywood studio contract in 1923, at the tender of 13, to his father's chagrin. But the younger Fairbanks had to work hard to achieve success in his own right, and honed his craft by working in the theater. Thanks to his stage experience and excellent diction, he successfully made the transition to talking films in 1928, and was signed to a contract by First National Pictures. After the company was taken over by Warner Bros., he was promoted to major supporting roles in prestige films such as the war drama The Dawn Patrol (1930) and Little Caesar (1931), and the studio's head of production Darryl Zanuck began grooming him for stardom. Fairbanks's first starring role at the studio was another World War I film, Chances (1931). Fairbanks and Anthony Bushell play British soldier brothers in love with the same woman, played by Rose Hobart. Howard Hawks, who had directed The Dawn Patrol, was assigned to direct, but he thought the best-selling novel upon which the film was based was "lousy," and refused. Veteran director Allan Dwan, who had helmed many of the senior Fairbanks's silent films, including one of his best, Robin Hood (1922), stepped in, to the delight of Fairbanks Junior, who remembered Dwan in his memoirs as a "marvelous old boy." Two seaside scenes in Chances, supposedly taking place in Cornwall and in France, were shot in Santa Barbara. For one of the war scenes, a battlefield was built on ten acres at the Warner Brothers/First National ranch. But the film's most elaborate set -- and the largest interior set ever built at First National -- was the interior, exterior, and garden of an English country home. Critics at the time found the film impressive. "It is a thoroughly human story of war and love....It rings true in every episode, nothing being overdone, for which director Allan Dwan, the director, deserves much credit," according to Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times. More than 50 years later, Fairbanks was less effusive, writing "The picture, in spite of dear Allan's patient and paternal guidance and the expensive production given it, did not have a story of a power and sweep to match its background," he wrote. "It was good, but not good enough. Today it is still affecting, though a little dated." Seen another 20 years after that was written, the film remains "affecting," and the years have only given it more poignancy. In the decades after making Chances, Fairbanks found his footing in films, and had some of his biggest successes with the same kind of roles at which his father had excelled, in swashbucklers and adventure stories such as The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), Gunga Din (1939) and Sinbad the Sailor (1947). As a naval officer during World War II, his real-life heroics earned him decorations from the American, French, Italian and British governments. He continued to act in films, television and theater until the 1980s. When Fairbanks died in 2000, the New York Times obituary noted, "The son was not the gymnast that his father was, but he was a versatile actor who easily played a wide variety of roles." Director: Allan Dwan Screenplay: A. Hamilton Gibbs, Waldemar Young Cinematography:

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to Film Daily, the film was shot on the largest interior set ever built at First National, consisting of the interior, exterior and garden of an English country home. In the onscreen credits, director Allan Dwan's first name is misspelled "Alan."Contemporary reviews alternately list Tyrrell Davis and William Austin as "Archie" and Jean Fenwick and Mae Madison as "Ruth." According to a memoir, Allan Dwan remembers that a scene that the shot showing the British Army retreating in battle was reshot to seem like a pretended retreat in order not to alienate the British market. Modern sources add Robert Bennett and Jameson Thomas to the cast.