Diamond Jim


1h 33m 1935

Film Details

Also Known As
Diamond Jim Brady
Release Date
Sep 2, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
San Luis Obispo, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Diamond Jim by Parker Morell (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

James Buchanan Brady is born to an Irish saloonkeeper and his wife in 1856, but loses his parents early in life. In his early thirties, Jim spots an advertisement for a salesman while he is working at the Spuyten Duyvil railroad station as baggage master. Jim rents a suit from a pawn shop, believing that "...to make money, you've got to look like money." The pawnbroker convinces him to rent a diamond as well, even though that means he must accompany Jim on his interview as insurance. When they arrive, there is a line of applicants out to the street, so Jim goes through the customer's entrance. The owner, A. E. Moore, becomes so impressed with Jim's knowledge of railroad equipment, and his audacity, that he hires him, and Jim quickly becomes a champion salesman. On one of his trans-continental train journeys, Jim saves British Mr. Fox from a crooked cardsharp, but both are obliged to jump off the train. Jim discovers that Fox has been unsuccessful in selling a device known as an undertruck, to be used at railroad stations. After haggling over commission, Jim represents the product himself. Finally experiencing success, Jim proposes to Emma Perry, with whom he has been in love, only to discover that she is already engaged to someone else. Jim is heartbroken and puts all his energies into building the Brady-Fox Co. which produces the undertrucks and other equipment. Now a captain of industry, Jim has diamond jewelry especially designed for him in huge proportions. His first entrance into a restaurant while wearing his new regalia prompts gawkers, and a comment from his waiter that he should be called "Diamond Jim." Jim proceeds to order a meal fit for a king and ten other men, and when he sees an English singer perform, sends her roses and introduces himself. Jim promotes the woman, whose name is Nellie Leonard, but who assumes the stage name Lillian Russell, and she becomes a favored performer. Lillian admits she is in love with business man Jerry Richardson, and at a party he throws for her, Jim meets Jane Mathews, who closely resembles Emma. Jim is instantly smitten by her, and they become engaged, but on the eve of their small wedding, Jim gets drunk for the first time in his life and stands her up because he is suspicious of her relationship with Briggs, a banker. Jane finds him eating the banquet he ordered for their celebration and, unable to detest him for his actions, remains his friend while refusing his periodic proposals. Unknown to Jim, Jerry and Jane have fallen in love, but are too afraid of hurting him to admit it. Jim loses his fortune in a stock market crash, and begins all over again by creating a steel railroad car for safety. At its first public test, Jim straps himself inside the car as it heads for a collision with a wooden car. Jane jumps on board and struggles with Jim to get off, but he straps her in instead. Jim is knocked unconscious during the collision, but the car and Jane are unharmed. While Jim spends a year recuperating from the accident, he builds his fortune on the new railroad car. Finally released from the hospital, Jim plans a European trip with Jerry and Nellie during which he hopes to marry Jane. However, Jane and Jerry finally confess their love for each other to Jim, who is hard struck by the news. Although he wishes them well, Jim is shattered. After proposing to Nellie, Jim is again rejected, and despondently returns home, where he orders a banquet of rich foods, knowing that to eat it will kill him. Reminiscing about his life, Jim burns up all the I.O.U.'s in his possession, puts his mother's picture in his pocket, and settles down to his feast.

Cast

Edward Arnold

"Diamond Jim" [James Buchanan Brady]

Jean Arthur

Jane Mathews/[Emma Perry]

Binnie Barnes

Lillian Russell [also known as Nellie Leonard]

Cesar Romero

Jerry Richardson

Eric Blore

Mr. [Sampson] Fox

Hugh O'connell

Charles B. Horsley

George Sidney

The pawnbroker

Robert Mcwade

Mr. [A. E.] Moore

Charles Sellon

Touchey

Henry Kolker

Bank president

William Demarest

Harry Hill

Albert Conti

Jeweler

Armand Kaliz

Jewelry salesman

Tully Marshall

Minister

Purnell Pratt

Doctor

Helen Brown

Brady's mother

George Sidney

Uncle Ike

Dorothy Granger

Chorus girl

Patricia Farley

Chorus girl

Robert Burns

Waiter

Otis Harlan

Drunk

Lew Kelly

Bartender

Matt Mchugh

Bartender

Fred A. Kelsey

Secretary

Irving Bacon

Passenger

Arthur Millett

Passenger

James Farley

Passenger

George De Normand

Passenger

Johnny St. Claire

Passenger

Billy Jones

Passenger

Stanley Andrews

Gambler

Francis Mcdonald

Gambler

Jack Carlyle

Gambler

Dell Henderson

Gambler

Jimmy Dundee

Gambler

Dan Crimmins

Tailor

Darby Jones

Black man

Jean Bary

Bar maid

Kay Deslys

Bar maid

Bill Hoolahahn

John L. Sullivan

Robert Perry

Mug

Huey White

Mug

Frank Hagney

Mug

Russ Clark

Mug

Henry Otho

Mug

Charles Hammer

Head waiter

Richard Tucker

Head waiter

Julian Rivero

Head waiter

Eddie Collins

Bicycle act

Arthur Housman

Souse

John Miltern

Briggs

Maidel Turner

Mrs. Perry

Libby Taylor

Maid

Bernice Pilot

Maid

Etta Mae Allen

Maid

Bill Howard

Minister

Jane Keckley

Minister's wife

Germaine De Neel

Russell's maid

Lawrence Wheat

Stage manager

Jean De Briac

Chef

Alex Chivra

Chef

Robert Mckenzie

Chef

Gino Corrado

Chef

Mary Wallace

Party girl

Greta Meyer

Masseuse

Daisy Bufford

Black maid

Montague Shaw

Stockbroker

Emmett King

Stockbroker

Clarence Geldert

Stockbroker

Arthur Stuart Hull

Stockbroker

Edward Le Saint

Stockbroker

Edwards Davis

Stockbroker

Harold Nelson

Stockbroker

Murdock Macquarrie

Stockbroker

Wilfred North

Stockbroker

George Macquarrie

Stockbroker

Sam Flint

Man at bar

Orrin Burke

Man at bar

William Tooker

Man at bar

Ralph Lewis

Man at bar

Edwin Mordant

Man at bar

Mitchell Ingraham

Man at bar

William Worthington

Man at bar

John Larkin

Butler

Eily Malyon

Organist

William Arnold

Man at racetrack

Malcolm Mcgregor

Man at racetrack

Marshall Ruth

Man at racetrack

Lloyd Whitlock

Man at racetrack

David Worth

Man at racetrack

Gay Seabrook

Nurse

Harry C. Bradley

Brady's secretary

Alan Bridge

Poker player

George Reed

Porter

Billy Mclane

Cook

Herbert Skinner

Cook

Charles Moore

Cook

Sam Hayes

Announcer

Blanche Harold

Woman at racetrack

William Welsh

Conductor

J. P. Mcgowan

Engineer

Eddy Chandler

Engineer

Sam Appel

Engineer

Al Hill

Fireman

Malcolm Waite

Fireman

Cyril Ring

Fireman

Wade Boteler

Mill foreman

Monte Montague

Double for Edward Arnold/Passenger/Switchman

Baby Wyman

Brady as a child

George Ernest

Brady as a boy

Robert E. O'connor

Brady's father

Mabel Colcord

Brady's aunt

Charles Mcavoy

Policeman

Dorothy Vernon

Mid-Wife

Clarence L. Sherwood

Bartender

Barbara Barondess

Addie Mcphail

Joseph Girard

Louis Lavoie

Lee Prather

Alan Cavan

Anders Van Haden

Hayden Stevenson

King Baggott

Charles K. French

Marina Passerowa

Film Details

Also Known As
Diamond Jim Brady
Release Date
Sep 2, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
San Luis Obispo, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Diamond Jim by Parker Morell (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A foreword notes that "...in condensing the happenings of half a century into the space of an hour, some rearrangement of the facts is obviously necessary." The working title of the picture was Diamond Jim Brady. According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Paramount purchased a story in 1933 by Mike Simmons, based on the life of Brady, and registered the title with the Hays office. In an October 1934 telegram, Paramount executive Charles R. Rogers protested Universal's production, however, it is unclear how the matter was resolved. A synopsis in the pressbook says that "Jim" jilts "Jane" at the altar because he discovers her true relationship with her supposed uncle, Briggs, however, this point is not clear in the film. In letters to a Universal official, Joseph I. Breen, director of the PCA, found the relationship between "Jane" and "Briggs" full of sexual innuendo, and recommended that this be changed, as it would directly violate the Code. Included in the file is correspondence from Lillian Russell's daughter, Dorothy, who protested the film because she felt that it misrepresented her mother's friendship with Brady, which, she says, was not a lifelong friendship, but was more an acquaintanceship that lasted from 1902 to 1916. According to a Daily Variety news item, Dorothy Russell believed that Universal used story matter from "My Mother," a biography by Dorothy published in Liberty magazine, and hired an attorney to help her file a lawsuit. The outcome of her protest has not been determined.
       An article in New York Times explains that Universal went on location to San Luis Obispo to create the train crash, where they used a narrow gauge railway and vintage cars donated by Pacific Coast Railroad. The crash was recorded for Universal's sound effects library, which was headed by Jack Foley. New York Times includes this film in their list of 1935 films that cost over $750,000. Edward Arnold recreated his role as Diamond Jim Brady in 20th Century-Fox's 1940 film Lillian Russell (see below). A modern source notes that Franz Waxman's orchestral score was also used in the Universal serial Flaming Frontiers.