After Office Hours


1h 15m 1935
After Office Hours

Brief Synopsis

A society newspaperwoman tries to prove to her editor that she can crack a murder case.

Film Details

Also Known As
Adam Started It, Copy Cats, Sob Sister, Town Talk
Genre
Drama
Crime
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Feb 22, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Wealthy socialite Sharon Norwood lands a job at her uncle's newspaper, the News Record , but is soon fired by managing editor Jim Branch for writing a music review with which he disagrees. Jim, who believes that any good story, whether it be "found, bought or stolen," ought to be published, takes interest in the sensational Patterson divorce case and believes that the conniving Tommy Bannister, Julia Patterson's secret lover, has bribed the jury. Lacking sufficient evidence to prove his claim, Jim can only speculate about Bannister's guilt, but decides that he can get his evidence through Sharon, who is a close friend of Bannister. While waiting at the Norwood residence for Sharon to return from her dinner with Bannister, the charming Jim chats with Mrs. Norwood, whom he affectionately and half-jokingly calls his mother-in-law. After rehiring her, Jim casually proposes marriage to the lovely Sharon, but she rejects the offer. One evening, Jim takes Sharon to the new River Club, where they happen upon Bannister, Julia Patterson, her husband and their entourage. Sharon soon becomes aware of Jim's ulterior motives and leaves the club with Bannister, refusing to play any part in the investigation. Bannister takes Sharon to his boathouse across the sound from the Pattersons' house, only to be intruded upon by Julia, who is jealous of Sharon. When the angered Julia threatens to reveal the truth about how he bribed his jury, Bannister strikes her, and she collapses. Sharon, oblivious to the confrontation because she has been listening to the phonograph, does not suspect that anything is wrong. The next day, Julia is found murdered in her bedroom and her husband becomes the prime suspect because he admits he had a quarrel with her and remembers nothing more of the drunken evening. Also, Julia's smashed wristwatch establishes the time of the murder at 11:20, the same time that Sharon phoned Jim from the boathouse with Bannister in her presence. Thus Bannister is provided with an alibi. Jim, however, is not convinced of the man's innocence, and soon finds evidence that Julia's watch was crushed with the leg of a night table, and deduces that Bannister altered the time before smashing the watch. When Jim publicizes his accusations, Sharon comes to the defense of her friend by having her uncle fire the renegade editor. Out of a job and feeling remorseful, Jim apologizes to Sharon, who is vacationing at her beach resort, and promises to apologize to Bannister as well. Sharon takes him up on his offer and drives him to her friend's place, but once there, Jim reverts to his old sleuthing, prompting Bannister to challenge him to a fistfight. After Jim is knocked out and forced to walk home, he and Hank Parr, his photographer friend, search the boathouse for clues. They soon conclude that Julia's screams could not have been heard over the sound of the phonograph, and that Bannister had enough time to row the body across the sound and return before daybreak. When Sharon and Bannister row up to the boathouse and find the two men there, Jim tries to bluff Bannister by telling him that Julia's vanity case was lost at the scene of the crime and probably is located in the water below his dock. Having been warned that the police are on their way to investigate, Bannister panics and, once Jim and Parr are out of sight, dives into the water to retrieve the piece of supposed evidence. Sharon witnesses the dive and becomes convinced of his guilt. Jim and Parr return to the boathouse, and while they keep Bannister down with punches, Sharon calls the police. The next morning, Sharon's mother reads about Bannister's arrest in the newspaper and is shocked when she discovers that Jim has spent the night in Sharon's room. However, Mrs. Norwood quickly regains her composure when she learns that Jim plans to marry her daughter.

Film Details

Also Known As
Adam Started It, Copy Cats, Sob Sister, Town Talk
Genre
Drama
Crime
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Feb 22, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Articles

After Office Hours


One of several films in which Clark Gable played a newspaperman, After Office Hours (1935) featured MGM's emerging superstar as a managing editor who crashes the world of high society to get a lead on a murder mystery. Constance Bennett costars as a wealthy socialite who finds a job at Gable's newspaper, only to be fired by him -- then quickly rehired when he needs to investigate her high-toned friends. It seems that one of the men-about-town (Harvey Stephens) has designs on another pretty socialite (Katharine Alexander) that include betrayal and murder.

The film's screenplay was by the redoubtable Herman J. Mankiewicz, who later would share an Oscar® with Orson Welles for the screenplay of Citizen Kane (1941). According to an MGM history, "the biting wit of the Mankiewicz dialogue got the rosiest bouquets tossed by the critics" at After Office Hours. The Hollywood Reporter considered that "the dialogue is crisp and the action creates an atmosphere of bustle and to-do." Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the screenwriter's even more celebrated brother, contributed some uncredited bits of that dialogue.

Apparently impressed by Gable's recent Best Actor Oscar® for his snappy comic performance in It Happened One Night (1934), After Office Hours director Robert Z. Leonard encouraged his star to play his role broadly - almost, in the opinion of a critic for the London Film Weekly, to the point of burlesque. Reconsidering Gable's image that same year, MGM returned him to dramatic roles in The Call of the Wild and Mutiny on the Bounty (both 1935).

After Office Hours marked the first time that Gable and Bennett costarred in a film, although he had played a supporting role -- that of a milkman! -- four years earlier in her melodramatic vehicle The Easiest Way (1931). It had been his first film as an MGM contract player, and, despite being billed last, he made a strong impression. Bennett was among the actresses who had turned down the leading role opposite Gable in It Happened One Night, which won an Oscar® for Claudette Colbert.

Producer: Bernard H. Hyman, Robert Z. Leonard
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Screenplay: Herman J. Mankiewicz, from story by Laurence Stallings and Dale Van Every
Cinematography: Charles Rosher
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Editing: Tom Held
Costume Design: Adrian
Cast: Constance Bennett (Sharon Norwood), Clark Gable (James "Jim" Branch), Stuart Erwin (Hank Parr), Billie Burke (Mrs. Norwood), Harvey Stephens (Tommy Bannister), Katharine Alexander (Julia Patterson).
BW-72m.

by Roger Fristoe
After Office Hours

After Office Hours

One of several films in which Clark Gable played a newspaperman, After Office Hours (1935) featured MGM's emerging superstar as a managing editor who crashes the world of high society to get a lead on a murder mystery. Constance Bennett costars as a wealthy socialite who finds a job at Gable's newspaper, only to be fired by him -- then quickly rehired when he needs to investigate her high-toned friends. It seems that one of the men-about-town (Harvey Stephens) has designs on another pretty socialite (Katharine Alexander) that include betrayal and murder. The film's screenplay was by the redoubtable Herman J. Mankiewicz, who later would share an Oscar® with Orson Welles for the screenplay of Citizen Kane (1941). According to an MGM history, "the biting wit of the Mankiewicz dialogue got the rosiest bouquets tossed by the critics" at After Office Hours. The Hollywood Reporter considered that "the dialogue is crisp and the action creates an atmosphere of bustle and to-do." Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the screenwriter's even more celebrated brother, contributed some uncredited bits of that dialogue. Apparently impressed by Gable's recent Best Actor Oscar® for his snappy comic performance in It Happened One Night (1934), After Office Hours director Robert Z. Leonard encouraged his star to play his role broadly - almost, in the opinion of a critic for the London Film Weekly, to the point of burlesque. Reconsidering Gable's image that same year, MGM returned him to dramatic roles in The Call of the Wild and Mutiny on the Bounty (both 1935). After Office Hours marked the first time that Gable and Bennett costarred in a film, although he had played a supporting role -- that of a milkman! -- four years earlier in her melodramatic vehicle The Easiest Way (1931). It had been his first film as an MGM contract player, and, despite being billed last, he made a strong impression. Bennett was among the actresses who had turned down the leading role opposite Gable in It Happened One Night, which won an Oscar® for Claudette Colbert. Producer: Bernard H. Hyman, Robert Z. Leonard Director: Robert Z. Leonard Screenplay: Herman J. Mankiewicz, from story by Laurence Stallings and Dale Van Every Cinematography: Charles Rosher Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons Editing: Tom Held Costume Design: Adrian Cast: Constance Bennett (Sharon Norwood), Clark Gable (James "Jim" Branch), Stuart Erwin (Hank Parr), Billie Burke (Mrs. Norwood), Harvey Stephens (Tommy Bannister), Katharine Alexander (Julia Patterson). BW-72m. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Sidney Lanfield was originally signed to direct.

Notes

Working titles for this film were Adam Started It, Sob Sister, Copy Cats and Town Talk. Hollywood Reporter pre-production news items indicated that M-G-M borrowed Sidney Lanfield from Twentieth Century-Fox to direct this picture, but replaced him with Robert Z. Leonard before shooting began, and that Ricardo Cortez was sought for a role. According to Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts, actors Tom Mahoney, Frank Mayo and Pat Flaherty worked on this film, but their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed.
       The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains a series of letters sent from the PCA to M-G-M in late October 1934 to protest the script's inclusion of a "nance" character. A PCA official suggested that M-G-M drop the apparently homosexual character and replace him with a "skinny, studious comic clerk type." The PCA also initially objected to the story on the grounds that it concerned "phoney people and phoney actions, with hardly a redeeming feature in any of the characters." Following the release of the film, the PCA received a letter of complaint from the president of the Supreme Lodge Headquarters, an organization representing the interests of Greek Americans, in which M-G-M was accused of portraying Greeks in an "insulting" way. The scene in question was a lunchroom scene where Stephens angrily throws money on the table and says, "Here you are, Greek."

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1935

Released in United States 1935