The Man Who Reclaimed His Head


1h 22m 1934

Brief Synopsis

A brilliant but impoverished writer, who is a pacifist, goes to work for a publisher and writes anti-war editorials. When he discovers that the publisher has betrayed him and is in league with munitions manufacturers to make money off of war, he goes insane.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 24, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Man Who Reclaimed His Head by Jean Bart (New York, 8 Sep 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

In 1915, Paul Verin walks deliberately through a French city that is under aerial bombardment, carrying a satchel and his daughter Linette. After arriving at the home of lawyer Fernand De Marnay, an old school friend, Paul shows him the shocking contents of the satchel and relates the following story: Paul lives in Clichy with Adele, his blonde wife of five years, and their daughter, writing political articles for small pay. Henri Dumont, an aspiring, ambitious politician with whom Paul had quarreled at the Bordeaux Radical , begs Paul for his assistance on the People's Advocate , acknowledging his need for of Paul's superb mind. Adele's desire to return to Paris impels Paul to accept Dumont's offer. By publishing Paul's editorials under his own name, Dumont is idolized for urging peace and shifting taxes from the poor to the rich. However, Chavez and another wealthy financier offer to drop their opposition to Dumont's ambitions if he will reverse his views, and Dumont urges Paul to moderate his positions. When Paul refuses, Dumont meets with Adele to charm her into urging Paul to accept his idea. Dumont and Adele begin to see each other regularly, although Paul still loves Adele. Paul shows Dumont proof that fifty people are pressing for war because of the financial benefits it will bring them and prepares a speech on the subject. As the Austrian Archduke is assassinated, Dumont meets on a yacht with a group of rich weapons manufacturers, who plot to continue high prices and sales to all sides to prolong the coming war, pledging not to bomb each other's factories or natural resources. Dumont rises to power on war fever, using the trust of the people that Paul's efforts had brought him while betraying his pacifist ideals. Paul retains his integrity by ending their association but, finding that his political book has been suppressed, hands the text over to Adele. After becoming a corporal on the front lines, Paul is transferred to Verdun, the scene of the bloodiest fighting. In a railroad station, Paul overhears the rumor that Dumont has sold out and is courting Adele, while preventing Paul from securing leave to go home. Enraged, Paul takes a train for Paris. Dumont calls on Adele, who rejects his advances, lonely for Paul. Seeing them together, Paul kills Dumont with his bayonet. Back in Fernand's house, Paul, alluding to the contents of his satchel, tells his friend that he wanted to retrieve his mind and the life that Dumont had stolen. Fernand persuades Paul not to commit suicide, assuring him he will be acquitted, because he is not the accused, but the accuser. Paul hands Linette to Adele when she arrives with the police.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 24, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Man Who Reclaimed His Head by Jean Bart (New York, 8 Sep 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a news item in Daily Variety, Gloria Stuart was considered for the female lead. Although not explicitly shown or stated, the film implies that "Paul" beheaded "Dumont" and is carrying his head in the satchel. According to Call Bureau Cast Service, James Donlan played the role of "Danglas."