Handle with Care


1h 17m 1932

Film Details

Also Known As
Divided by Two
Release Date
Dec 25, 1932
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Dec 1932
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Film Length
6,922ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

When little Tommy Evans is picked up by police for stealing milk to feed his three hungry cats, he tells them that his guardian is his aunt, Helen Barlow, who has taken care of him and his brother Charlie since their mother's death. Assistant district attorney Bill Gordon recognizes Helen's name from his high school days and takes Tommy back to his apartment, where he meets with Helen and catches up on old times. Bill and Helen begin to see each other frequently, and Tommy and Charlie grow jealous. When Carl Lundstrom, the music teacher who lives next door and occasionally babysits for the boys, makes dinner for them all, Bill and the children's relationship is made more distant by their mutual antagonism. Meanwhile, Helen has been accosted by gangsters who tell her to inform Bill to keep off the Bernard case. Bill, however, assures her that he will be successful in his prosecution of the notorious criminal. Later that night, Bill and Helen go dancing, and Bill proposes. As the couple kiss in front of Helen's apartment, Tommy and Charlie watch with disgust, and after he falls asleep, Tommy has a nightmare about Bill carrying off Helen. The next day, as Bill practices an important speech for the Bernard case, Tommy and Charlie deliberately disrupt him, and Bill tells Helen that after they are married, the boys will have to be sent to boarding school. Helen, shocked at Bill's insensitivity, asks him to leave for good. Helen becomes very depressed without Bill, however, and the boys decide to bring him back so that their aunt will be happy again. During the Bernard trial, two criminals leave the courtroom after Bill's opening speech and go to his apartment, where they intend to kill him when he returns. Tommy and Charlie arrive first, however, and the gangsters keep them hostage, fearing that they will tell Bill of their presence. After the boys have been locked in the kitchen, Charlie uses an ironing board to crawl from a window into a neighboring apartment. Hundreds of children and several police accompany him back to Bill's apartment building, where one of the crooks is apprehended, while the other falls out the window during an escape attempt. Bill and Charlie find Tommy in the kitchen with a bullet wound in his arm, but, despite his failing strength, the young boy asks Bill to have dinner with his aunt. Bill and the boys return to Helen, and as the couple embrace, Carl's band strikes up a tune.

Film Details

Also Known As
Divided by Two
Release Date
Dec 25, 1932
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Dec 1932
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Film Length
6,922ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Divided by Two. While a November 1932 International Photographer news item pointed out that this was the first film for which John Schmitz was the photographer, after he had spent many years acting as second and first assistant cameraman, a January 1933 International Photographer news item listed Schmitz as the camera operator and Arthur Miller as the photographer. Schmitz is the only photographer credited on screen, and Miller's participation in the completed picture has not been confirmed. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, both of which are located at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, this story was originally written as a starring vehicle for Sydney and Charles Chaplin, Jr., who were six and seven years old at the time. Their parents, Charlie Chaplin and Lita Grey Chaplin, had divorced in 1927. A June 22, 1932 Film Daily news item noted that Lita had signed a contract with Fox for her and the boys to appear in five films over the next three years. According to modern sources, in August 1932, Chaplin filed a lawsuit against Lita, who had custody of the children, to prevent his sons from appearing in any films. Chaplin won the case, and according to their autobiographies, both Lita and Charles, Jr. felt that he had done the right thing. According to modern sources, Jane Withers is in the cast of this film, which marked her motion picture debut.