The Good Fellows


1h 10m 1943

Brief Synopsis

The title of Grand Caesar in the Ancient Order of Noblest Romans of Wakefield, Indiana keeps Jim "Pop" Helton (Cecil Kellaway) so involved and distracted that he forgets to pay the family's bills, nearly makes a shambles of a real estate deal his oldest daughter, Ethel (Helen Walker)is working on,almost wrecks her romance with Captain Tom Drayson (James Brown), and gets involved in a game with a pool shark in an effort to raise the remaining $75 of the $6,750 needed (that they didn't have) by the Wakefield Lodge to host the national convention of the Noblest Romans.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Good Fellow by George S. Kaufman and Herman J. Mankiewicz (New York, 5 Oct 1926).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,319ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

Jim Helton, Grand Caesar of his local lodge, the Ancient Order of the Noblest Romans, which promotes good fellowship, neighborliness and brotherly love, devotes more time to his lodge activities than to his family or his real estate business. Jim attends a national lodge meeting and leaves his inexperienced daughter Ethel to close a deal with executive Blake on some expensive riverfront property owned by the Draytons, the town's banking family. Ethel has always assumed that the Draytons are snobs but starts to change her mind after meeting their son Tom, who invites her family to dinner. Jim, meanwhile, is disappointed when he is passed up for the job of lodge auditor after his bid to hold the national convention at his town, which will then have to foot the bill, is accepted. Jim, who bid only to help a friend by raising the bidding, is accepted because his friend unexpectedly drops out. Jim's family is equally disappointed to learn he lost the job and, while dining at the Draytons, they are embarrassed by his fervent arguments with host William over the merits of lodge membership. William reluctantly agrees to become a lodge member after Jim threatens to strike a deal with another lodge member for the riverfront property. Jim then cashes in his insurance policy, gets an early deposit on his commission from William, and bets the money in a pool game to earn enough money to pay for the convention. When he finally meets Blake, he is able to secure the deal because Blake is a fellow Roman. William is initiated into the lodge, but when Blake publicly praises Jim for advising him against purchasing William's property because of flooding, everyone is shocked by Jim's deceit and William is outraged that he took a $2,000 commission against a non-existent sale. The Helton family, who are continually frustrated by Jim's lodge-related schemes, finally falls apart, and Jim disappears with his youngest daughter Spratt to go fishing. William plans to sue Jim but refrains when he learns that an orphanage Jim owns will soon become profitable, because the government wants to lease it as a convalescent hospital for war veterans. Jim returns to town and learns that William wishes to purchase the orphanage from him, but also learns of the government's interest. Jim then negotiates a lease with the government representative, who turns out to be a lodge brother. Jim still plans to leave the family until Spratt pretends to hurt herself, and thereby tricks him into returning home. After the family reunites, Jim pretends to decline the invitation of a new lodge, but cleverly plans their vacation, and Tom and Ethel's honeymoon, in the new lodge's town.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Good Fellow by George S. Kaufman and Herman J. Mankiewicz (New York, 5 Oct 1926).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,319ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film was known as The Good Fellow in pre-production. According to the SAB, Paramount stipulated that no producer be credited, but Walter MacEwen was credited in reviews. Hollywood Reporter news items announced the following: Ralph Murphy was slated to direct; Bob Burns was cast; and Jack Moffitt and Harry Hamilton were assigned to work on the screenplay, but their contribution to the final film has not been determined. According to a news item in Variety, Susan Hayward was offered the role of "Ethel Helton," but turned it down. The CBCS calls Douglas Wood's character "John Drayton," but he was called "William" in the film.