Silver Dollar


1h 24m 1932
Silver Dollar

Brief Synopsis

A farmer strikes it rich out West, then leaves his wife for a young beauty.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Western
Biography
Release Date
Dec 24, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Silver Dollar by David Karsner (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

In 1876, after the discovery of silver, Yates Martin dreams of great wealth for Colorado and for himself, but his wife Sarah does not want to take chances and insists that he open a store as a backup. The store doesn't make them rich, however, because Yates stakes the miners for a share in their potential discoveries rather than take cash. After some of the miners that he staked hit silver, Yates becomes a partner in a very rich mine. Then he is asked to run for public office and wins. Yates is generous with his money and becomes Denver's benefactor, building an opera house which he donates to the people. His marriage is not as successful as his business, however. Sarah is uncomfortable with their wealth, so Yates turns to another woman, Lily Owens, who is happy to accept his gifts of clothes and jewels. His affair becomes public when Lily attends the opening of the opera house while Sarah stays at home. Yates finally gets up the courage to leave Sarah and decides to marry Lily in Washington with President Chester A. Arthur in attendance, but his fellow politicians warn him that his ambition to become a senator may be thwarted, as the state will never elect a divorced man. He manages to buy an appointment for a temporary seat, however, and has his elaborate wedding. When President Grover Cleveland establishes a gold standard, the bottom drops out of the silver market and Yates loses his wealth. Lily sticks by him and things seem to be improving when he is appointed Postmaster for Denver. Before he can take office, however, he dies. Both Sarah and Lily attend his funeral to mourn in their own way, and Yates is buried in a silver casket as he always wanted.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Western
Biography
Release Date
Dec 24, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
First National Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Silver Dollar by David Karsner (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Articles

Silver Dollar -


A rags-to-riches-to-adultery tale, based on the true story of the colorful Colorado prospector and statesman H.A.W. Tabor. When Yates Martin (Edward G. Robinson) hatches a scheme to prosper from silver mining, it's the beginning of a dizzying ascent into the upper echelons of wealth and power. But when his loyal wife Sarah (Aline MacMahon) proves unhappy with his social climbing, he discards her in favor of salacious beauty Lily Owens (Bebe Daniels). Not only does this matter-of-fact adulterous plot twist betray Silver Dollar's pre-Code pedigree, but Martin's rise and fall also has a certain Depression-era suspicion about the permanence of riches. (Indeed, Robinson took a 15 percent pay cut on this picture, as part of Warner Brothers' austerity program.) The tough, squat, ethnic Edward G. Robinson isn't an intuitive choice to play Martin, but there's parallels between Martin's semi-legal ascent to power and Rico's in Little Caesar (1931). In any case, after this movie Robinson began carrying a silver dollar in his own pocket, for luck.

By Violet LeVoit
Silver Dollar -

Silver Dollar -

A rags-to-riches-to-adultery tale, based on the true story of the colorful Colorado prospector and statesman H.A.W. Tabor. When Yates Martin (Edward G. Robinson) hatches a scheme to prosper from silver mining, it's the beginning of a dizzying ascent into the upper echelons of wealth and power. But when his loyal wife Sarah (Aline MacMahon) proves unhappy with his social climbing, he discards her in favor of salacious beauty Lily Owens (Bebe Daniels). Not only does this matter-of-fact adulterous plot twist betray Silver Dollar's pre-Code pedigree, but Martin's rise and fall also has a certain Depression-era suspicion about the permanence of riches. (Indeed, Robinson took a 15 percent pay cut on this picture, as part of Warner Brothers' austerity program.) The tough, squat, ethnic Edward G. Robinson isn't an intuitive choice to play Martin, but there's parallels between Martin's semi-legal ascent to power and Rico's in Little Caesar (1931). In any case, after this movie Robinson began carrying a silver dollar in his own pocket, for luck. By Violet LeVoit

Quotes

Trivia

The character of Yates Martin is based on Colorado's "Silver King", Horace A.W. Tabor, who was a United States Senator for one month and built Denver's opera house, which still bears his name. Lily Owen's character is based on Elizabeth "Baby" Doe.

Original cast members Berton Churchill (President Arthur) was replaced by Emmett Corrigan and David Landau (Hook) was replaced by Lee Kohlmar. John Marston (Gelsey) was not seen in the film.

Notes

David Landau is credited as the mine foreman, Herman Bing as Hook and Berton Churchill as President Arthur in early cast lists, but on screen DeWitt Jennings, Lee Kohlmar and Emmett Corrigan respectively are credited with those roles. Modern sources note that this is the fictionalized story of Colorado's "Silver King," Horace A. W. Tabor, who became a United States Senator for a month in 1883 and built the opera house in Denver that bears his name. Daniel's character was based on Elizabeth "Baby" Doe.