Straight Is the Way


59m 1934
Straight Is the Way

Brief Synopsis

A small-time gangster wants to go straight until he loses his girl to a rival hood.

Film Details

Also Known As
Four Walls
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Crime
Adaptation
Release Date
Aug 10, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Four Walls by Dana Burnet and George Abbott (New York, 19 Sep 1927).

Technical Specs

Duration
59m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6 reels

Synopsis

When he returns to his mother and his home in the Jewish section of New York City, Benny Horowitz, who has spent the last five years in prison, vows to remain free and honest. However, soon after his reunion with his mother and Bertha, a young woman with whom he grew up, Benny is approached by Monk, the neighborhood gang leader. Monk, who was responsible for tempting the once-studious Benny into a life of crime, informs Benny that not only is he now the head of a lucrative protection racket, but is the lover of Shirley, Benny's former girl friend. To the relief of Mrs. Horowitz, who suffers from heart disease, Benny scoffs at the suggestion of gang member Skippy that he rejoin the gang and rejects the advances of the still enamored Shirley. When he fails to find a job after weeks of searching, however, Benny grows despondent and confides in Bertha that he is thinking of leaving the city. After Bertha begs Benny to stay, Skippy announces that, through a bit of brute force, he has secured a mechanics job for the ex-convict at a local garage. Though his pay is low, Benny works hard at the garage and earns the respect of its owner, who confides in him one night that Monk's protection racket is driving him to bankruptcy. Determined to help his boss, Benny challenges Monk and his gang and tells them that they will not be receiving any more money from the garage. Stymied by Benny's bold defiance, Monk backs down from his demands and loses the respect of his cohorts. Later that night, Benny, buoyed by his victory over Monk, flirts with Shirley and boasts that, if he wanted, he could have Monk's woman as well as his gang. Benny then throws a matchmaker, who has come with a marriage proposition for Bertha, out of his mother's apartment after he scathingly insinuates that Bertha is in love with an ex-convict. Later, Mrs. Horowitz chides Benny about his bachelorhood and suggests that Bertha would make a good wife for him. Convinced that she deserves a better man than he, however, Benny refuses Bertha's love but fights an urge to reclaim Shirley. Benny is overwhelmed by his conflicting emotions and retreats to his tenement's rooftop. He is soon joined by Shirley, who throws herself at him in hysterical passion. As Shirley is about to force Benny into a kiss, Monk bursts onto the rooftop and threatens Benny with his gun. During the ensuing fight, the gun is fired and tossed, and Monk accidentally falls from the roof to his death. Shirley seizes on the incident and tries to force Benny into returning to her by threatening to tell the police that he murdered Monk. With Bertha's loving support, Benny decides to resist Shirley and confess to the police. However, when the police are unable to find Monk's gun, which would prove Benny's innocence, Shirley's story appears accurate. Before he is arrested, Benny is saved by Skippy, who having located Monk's gun in the back of a milk truck, presents the vindicating evidence to the police. Thus cleared, Benny embraces Bertha and reassures his mother that all is well.

Film Details

Also Known As
Four Walls
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Crime
Adaptation
Release Date
Aug 10, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Four Walls by Dana Burnet and George Abbott (New York, 19 Sep 1927).

Technical Specs

Duration
59m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6 reels

Articles

Straight is the Way


A small-time gangster wants to go straight until he loses his girl to a rival hood.

Producer: Lucien Hubbard
Director: Paul Stone
Screenplay: Bernard Schubert, Dana Burnet (play), George Abbott (play)
Cinematography: Lucien Andriot
Film Editing: William S. Gray
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: William Axt
Cast: Franchot Tone (Ben Horowitz), May Robson (Mrs. Horowitz), Karen Morley (Bertha), Gladys George (Shirley), Nat Pendleton (Skippy), Jack La Rue (Monk).
BW-60m.
Straight Is The Way

Straight is the Way

A small-time gangster wants to go straight until he loses his girl to a rival hood. Producer: Lucien Hubbard Director: Paul Stone Screenplay: Bernard Schubert, Dana Burnet (play), George Abbott (play) Cinematography: Lucien Andriot Film Editing: William S. Gray Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons Music: William Axt Cast: Franchot Tone (Ben Horowitz), May Robson (Mrs. Horowitz), Karen Morley (Bertha), Gladys George (Shirley), Nat Pendleton (Skippy), Jack La Rue (Monk). BW-60m.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Four Walls. In May 1934, M-G-M announced in Hollywood Reporter that production on the film was to be pushed up three months so that Clark Gable could play the lead. Gable, however, did not start in the production, which began in mid-June 1934. Mae Clarke was first assigned to play the part of "Shirley," but left the production to appear in Columbia's Captain Hates the Sea, according to a Hollywood Reporter news item. Also in May 1934, Wells Root was reported as the assigned writer, and Edwin L. Marin as the projected director. Although Marin did not direct any part of the film, it is not known if Root contributed to the script. In addition to Gable and Clarke, Christian Rub and Henry Wadsworth were announced as cast members in Hollywood Reporter news items, but neither of these actors appeared in the film. In 1928, William Nigh directed John Gilbert and Joan Crawford in Four Walls, the first M-G-M version of Dana Burnet and George Abbott's play (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1942).