Cast & Crew
When news that several paintings by deceased artist Christopher Bean, whose life few people know anything about, may be located at the home of Dr. Milton Haggett, New York art critic Maxwell Davenport and rival art dealers Rosen and Tallant set off for Haggett's Massachusett's home. There, the unsuspecting, impoverished Haggett family receives a telegram from Davenport informing them that he will be arriving at noon to discuss his favorite artist, Christopher Bean. Milton and Hannah Haggett and their unmarried daughters Susan and Ada are surprised by the telegram, as they had always regarded Bean as a failed incompetent. Only their homely maid Abby, who is about to quit and leave for Chicago, has fond memories of the dead painter. Before Davenport's scheduled arrival, Warren Creamer, a former student of Bean who makes his living as a paperhanger, comes by the Haggett house to court Susan. Because Warren's prospects appear dim, Susan's social climbing mother Hannah discourages his visit, while the less appealing Ada, who is determined to marry before her younger sister, boldly competes for his attentions. When Warren makes clear his intentions to marry Susan, however, both Hannah and Ada angrily throw him out of the house. A short time later, Tallant arrives at the Haggetts' and, while posing as the magnanimous Davenport, gives Milton one hundred dollars as payment for Bean's long-outstanding medical bills. Surprised by his apparent good fortune, Milton happily gives Tallant a Bean painting, which he had been using to stop leaks in his chicken house. When Tallant learns that the back of another Bean painting has been used as a canvas by Ada, he buys her amateurish painting for fifty dollars. Later, after she has agreed to help Susan and Warren elope, Abby is approached by the conniving Tallant, who knows that Bean had a special rapport with the Haggetts' maid. Abby reveals that Bean painted a portrait of her just before he died, but refuses to sell it to Tallant. Moments later, Rosen shows up at the house and offers Milton $1,000 for any Bean paintings he may have. Before Milton agrees to Rosen's deal, Davenport arrives and, after identifying himself, explains to the Haggetts that Bean's work is now worth tens of thousands of dollars. The Haggetts then receive a telegram from the New York Metropolitan Museum, which offers them a sizable sum for their Bean paintings. Inspired by the promise of big money, the Haggetts begin a desperate search throughout the house, but quit when Hannah finally confesses that, years before, she threw a bundle of Bean canvases into a bonfire. Determined to cash in on their old acquaintance, Milton, Hannah and Ada try to trick the still uninformed Abby out of her portrait by offering to buy it for fifty dollars. After Abby refuses to sell, the painting's true worth is revealed to her, and she angrily decries her employer while admitting that she had saved seventeen canvases from Hannah's fire and has them packed in a trunk. Despite Milton's attempts to bargain with her, Abby hangs on to her paintings and prepares to leave for Chicago. In greedy desperation, Milton snatches the canvases from Abby's trunk, but relents when she confesses that she married Bean on his deathbed and is his legal widow. On the train to Chicago, Abby then ponders the future of the valuable paintings, while the eloping Susan and Warren plan their future together.
H. B. Warner
Although this film was not viewed, the above credits and plot summary were taken from a cutting continuity deposited with the copyright records. The working title of the film was The Late Christopher Bean. According to a December 1933 Hollywood Reporter news item, after the film's initial release, the title was changed from Christopher Bean to Her Sweetheart. Apparently, however, the title was changed back to Christopher Bean sometime later. This film marked Marie Dressler's final screen appearance. She died on July 28, 1934. According to a production Hollywood Reporter news item, Lewis Stone was given a featured role in the film, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Beulah Bondi appeared in the original Broadway production of Sidney Howard's play and recreated her stage role in this film. Charlotte Clasis and Simone Simon starred in a 1932 French version of the Howard and Rene Fauchois' works called Prenez garde à la peinture. Three television versions of the play were broadcast: On February 6, 1949, the NBC network broadcast a version of Howard's play directed by Fred Coe and starring Lillian Gish and Bert Lytell; on October 27, 1950, the ABC network broadcast a second version, directed by Frank Telford and starring Helen Hayes and Charles Dingle; and on November 30, 1955, the CBS network broadcast a third version on its The 20th Century-Fox Hour program, directed by Lewis Allen and starring Thelma Ritter and Gene Lockhart.