Here I Am a Stranger


1h 23m 1939

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 29, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novelette Here I am a Stranger by Gordon Malherbe Hillman in McCall's (Oct 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,674ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

In New York City in 1920, perpetually drunken reporter Robert "Duke" Allen returns home after quitting his job to discover that his wife Clara is leaving him and taking their one-year-old son David. Clara tells Duke that she still loves him, but that he has wasted his talent. Clara is anxious for David to have a good life, and she later marries James K. Paulding, a successful lawyer who adopts David and provides well for his family. Years later, David celebrates his twentieth birthday with Jim and Clara, Jim's employer, influential businessman R. J. Bennett, and Bennett's daughter Lillian, who is also David's girl friend. Soon after, David goes to Stafford University, which was Duke and Clara's alma mater, where he meets Tom Sortwell, a working lad who is putting himself through college. Despite snobbish comments by Bennett's son Lester, David beomes friends with Sortwell and also with Professor Daniels and his tomboy daughter Simpson. Daniels was Duke's English professor as well, and he gives David one of Duke's stories to read. Inspired by Duke's brilliant writing and encouraged by Simpson, David contacts his father in Boston, and is only slightly disillusioned by Duke's drunken, shabby condition. Duke is ashamed by his appearance but is proud of what a fine young man David has become. Determined to become worthy of his son, Duke goes to his former managing editor, Phillip Deane, to ask for a job. Deane reluctantly agrees to give Duke a chance, and as time passes, Duke makes good. Duke and David's relationship progresses as well, and father and son become fast friends. On the night of the Stafford prom, David is smitten by Simpson's lovely appearance, but the night ends unpleasantly when Lester gets Sortwell drunk as a cruel joke. Lester is also drunk, and much to David's dismay, insists on driving when they return home. Lester runs over an old woman, and despite David's insistence that he stop, Lester speeds away. Sortwell, who was driving slowly behind, hits a lamp post by the woman's body, and is arrested for the crime. Bennett, Jim and Clara pressure David to maintain silence and let Sortwell be convicted of the crime, but David cannot do so and, disgusted by their selfishness, resolves to go to Duke for good. After Bennett tells Lester to turn himself in to the police, Clara calls Duke and persuades him that David's future will be ruined if he allows the boy to stay with him. When David arrives at Duke's apartment, Duke convinces him that he has been paid off by Jim to go to South America, and David is crushed. After bidding farewell to Sortwell, who has been freed, David also says goodbye to Daniels and Simpson and tells them he will write to them from England, where he is going with Clara and Jim. As David's bags are being taken away, however, Clara confesses that she realizes how much Duke means to him and that he belongs with his father. She tells David that Duke, now the night editor, is still in town, and David rushes to the newspaper office, where his delighted father greets him.

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 29, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novelette Here I am a Stranger by Gordon Malherbe Hillman in McCall's (Oct 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,674ft (10 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, author Gordon Malherbe Hillman was placed under contract by Twentieth Century-Fox to write an adaptation of his novelette, but no confirming evidence of his participation in the project as a screen writer has been located. According to a February 24, 1939 Hollywood Reporter news item, Warner Baxter was slated for a leading part in this film, and Gregory Ratoff was scheduled to direct. Hollywood Reporter news items and the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library provide the following information: When production began on May 25, 1939, William Seiter was the director. Filming was halted on June 2, 1939 because the previous weekend, Richard Greene had broken his left leg in a car accident. Production was stopped until July 13, 1939, by which time Seiter had been loaned to RKO. He was replaced by Roy Del Ruth, and Nancy Kelly, who was playing "Simpson Daniels," had joined the cast of Frontier Marshal and was replaced by Brenda Joyce. John Arledge was originally signed to play "Tom Sortwell," but was replaced by Russell Gleason. The following crew members worked on the film only during the first week of shooting with Seiter and photographer George Barnes: Production Manager Ralph Deitrich; Assistant Director Gene Bryant, Eli Dunn, Jerry Braun and Hal Herman; Camera Operator Irving Rosenberg; Assistant Camera Jack Warren; Script clerk Marie Branham and Helen Parker; Props Mack Elliot; Grip C. E. Richardson; Sound E. C. Ward; Cableman Fred Casey; Boom man William Pillar; Gaffer Lou Johnson; Best boy Ferdinand Meine; Makeup Bob Mieding; and Cutter Bob Bischoff. Part of the picture was filmed at Los Angeles City College. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Charles Tannen and Robert Lowery were to be in the cast, but their participation in the completed film has not been confirmed.