David Harum


1h 23m 1934

Brief Synopsis

Rogers plays a small town banker in the 1890s whose chief rival is the deacon (Middleton) with whom he has traded horse flesh. Taylor is a bank teller who places a winning $4,500 bet on a 10-1 harness racing horse, making him Rogers' bank partner.

Film Details

Release Date
Mar 2, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel David Harum by Edward Noyes Westcott (New York, 1898).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,605ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

In 1893, David Harum, small town banker and sometime wily horse trader, visits New York City and discusses the current panic with General Woolsey, who sells him a horse named Abdul before letting on that the horse is "balky." Back in Homeville, David, despite his sister Polly's remonstrations, trades the horse, whom he has renamed Amos, to Deacon Perkins, who earlier traded David a blind horse. During a rainstorm, the horse, who is now named Moses, balks in front of David's house, and David gets a good deal of amusement from the deacon's unsuccessful efforts to move him. During the rain, John Lennox arrives from New York to work for David on the recommendation of General Woolsey. John, whose father died when he lost his money during the panic and whose fiancée broke their engagement because of the financial loss, helps David when an angry forger starts a fight. Ann Madison, whose parents are wealthy and who is visiting town with her stuffy suitor Caruthers Elwin, protects John from being hit by an iron sinker, a heavy ring to which horses are hitched. She then bets David that John will ask her to marry him and convinces David to help. David buys the balky horse back and sends John and Ann home in its carriage after church. When the horse balks, John and Ann get a chance to talk despite John's initial irritation. Encouraged, Ann buys the horse, whom she renames Cupid, but when John fails to appreciate the sentimental significance of the purchase, she returns to New York. On the day before Christmas, John decides to leave when he thinks that David is going to take valuable property from a widow after David threatens to charge the deacon, who had been about to foreclose on the property, with usury. However, on Christmas Day, John overhears David tell the widow untruthfully that an old account of her husband's has been found which will allow her to buy back the mortgages. John apologizes to David, and he is overjoyed to find Ann at Christmas dinner, but they argue when he says he will not marry unless he can support a wife even though she is independently wealthy. Ann then returns to the city. In the spring, Ann, who has returned, learns that Cupid stops balking when she sings "Down Went McGinty" and runs swiftly to the tune of "Ta Ra Ra Boom Dere." She enters him into the Danchester Sweepstakes Harness Races, at which the favorite, Silver Spoon, is driven by Deacon Perkins. David, who is to drive Cupid, convinces John to bet his savings of $4,500 at ten-to-one odds on Cupid. During the final heat, when David's off-key singing fails to motivate Cupid, Ann gets the band to play and the fans to sing "Ta Ra Ra Boom Dere." Cupid wins, David and John become partners, and John proposes, after Ann asks him to. During a parade, Cupid bolts with David driving as the crowd sings "Ta Ra Ra Boom Dere."

Film Details

Release Date
Mar 2, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel David Harum by Edward Noyes Westcott (New York, 1898).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,605ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although a play by M. W. Hitchcock based on the novel opened in Rochester, NY on April 9, 1900, according to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the writers of this film did not use the Hitchcock play in creating the screenplay. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Kent Taylor was loaned from Paramount. According to information in the legal records, the race sequences were shot at the Riverside Race Track in Riverside, CA. Although the character played by Stepin Fetchit is listed in the screen credits as "Sylvester," he is called "Swifty" in the dialogue. This film was re-issued by Twentieth Century-Fox on March 14, 1937. Modern sources note that Inglewood, CA was also used for location shooting. Modern sources also note that the film was eighth on the Honor Roll of Best Pictures for 1934, that photographer Hal Mohn and actress Evelyn Venable met on the set of this film and married a year later, and that B. McEveety was the unit manager. David Harum was also presented as a play by Ripley and M. W. Hitchcock, which opened in New York on October 1, 1900 and starred William H. Crane. According to the legal records, no part of the dramatization was used in this film. In 1915, Crane starred in a film based on the novel, which was produced by Famous Players Film Co. (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, F1.0952).