Half a Sinner


1h 10m 1934

Film Details

Also Known As
Alias the Deacon
Release Date
Apr 30, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Alias the Deacon by John B. Hymer and LeRoy Clemens (New York, 24 Nov 1925).

Technical Specs

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

Synopsis

"The Deacon" Caswell is actually a cardsharp, and nearly loses his life one night while playing with some hoboes in a boxcar, but is saved by John Adams, a young man who is lying low. When the train stops, Phyllis hops on dressed as a boy, but some of the men discover her disguise and become threatening. Once again John comes to the rescue, and the pair jumps off the train. Some time later, John and Phyllis have settled in Harrington, Kansas, where Phyllis is working as a desk clerk at the hotel, and John works as a mechanic at Noel Cunningham's garage. When the Deacon checks in at the hotel, owner Mrs. Mary Clark confesses to having gambled at bridge, and when he confesses to playing a little himself, she brings him in on her game that evening. The Deacon keeps his previous acquaintance with John and Phyllis secret, much to their relief. Wrestler Crusher Bozoni and his manager "Slim" Sullivan are guests of honor of the local Beaver's Club, which has arranged a wrestling match between a volunteer and Bozoni. When they learn at a luncheon at the hotel that Bozoni is unable to make the match, Mrs. Clark's son Willie suggests that John substitute for him. If he lasts twenty minutes in the ring, he will get fifty dollars from the backer, Noel Cunningham, even if he does not win, and he can pay off the engagement ring he has given to Phyllis. John lasts the allotted time, but when he goes to collect his money, Cunningham refuses to pay him, and John hits him. John is arrested after Cunningham charges that he stole his wallet. Phyllis finds the wallet underneath John's pillow where it was placed by Cunningham, and takes it, but Sullivan sees her and, as he works with Cunningham, he convinces her that she could not withstand the pressure of being a witness for John and that she should leave town. Mrs. Clark bails John out using her hotel as collateral, but Cunningham warns her and the Deacon that he framed John and that he intends to take Mrs. Clark's hotel as payment for all the I.O.U.'s she unwittingly signed. The Deacon involves Cunningham and the salesman who sold John the ring in a game of poker, and wins back the notes on the hotel and the engagement ring. Meanwhile, John finds Phyllis and brings her back to town, and she reveals to the sheriff that Sullivan gave her a reference letter to a woman running a speakeasy in Chicago which implicates Sullivan in recruiting unsuspecting women for prostitution. Sullivan tries to escape, but Willie brings him down with a football. The Deacon returns the notes to Mrs. Clark, and Phyllis' engagement ring to her and John's name is cleared. With peace restored, the Deacon takes the sheriff's warning to leave town, so that he will not be arrested.

Film Details

Also Known As
Alias the Deacon
Release Date
Apr 30, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Alias the Deacon by John B. Hymer and LeRoy Clemens (New York, 24 Nov 1925).

Technical Specs

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

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Berton Churchill originated the role of "The Deacon" during the Broadway run of the stage play. The pre-release title of this film was Alias the Deacon. Film credits and the plot summary are based on a studio screen continuity. Some scenes were filmed on location in Chatsworth, CA. John Hymer and LeRoy Clemens' play was first filmed in 1927, when Edward Sloman directed Jean Hersholt, June Marlowe and Ralph Graves in Alias the Deacon for Universal (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0083). In 1940, Universal remade Hymer and Clemens' play as Alias the Deacon.