Cast & Crew
In the midst of a society gathering at the Long Island home of the wealthy Mrs. De Witt Tyler, II, New York City police arrive and tell Carol Barton, who is engaged to Mrs. Tyler's son John, that her father, respected Wall Street figure H. J. Barton, has been shot by an unknown assailant. When Mrs. Tyler learns that the police have recovered evidence to prove that for years Barton had been trafficking in liquor and gambling houses, she urges John not to go with Carol to the hospital, but he accompanies her nevertheless. Barton refuses to tell his friend, police lieutenant Barney Dolan, the identity of the men who shot him, and he dies after asking Dolan to look out for Carol. The murderers, led by Marty Harris and Jones, learn that Barton has died, and John's "black sheep" brother Roger, who is with them, says that he will go to the police. The gang, however, threaten to implicate Roger by saying that, to cancel a $25,000 gambling debt, he took them to Barton's house so that Barton, trusting Roger, would let them in. Because of the scandal, Carol decides to sail to Europe alone for John's benefit. Dolan, however, arranges for John to be in her cabin when she enters the boat, and John convinces her to remain at home. That night they marry and the next day arrive home to the Tyler estate. Elizabeth, John's sister, who is engaged to Sir Phillip Burleigh, is shocked, while Mrs. Tyler, although disturbed, makes an attempt to ignore Carol's "unfortunate background." When John asks for an advance on his inheritance so that he and Carol can move to an apartment in town and he can get started in business, Mrs. Tyler politely refuses and requests that the couple live with her so that society will have no doubt that she does not disapprove of their marriage. After John, using an alias of "Smith," gets a job in the brokerage firm of a family friend, Mrs. Tyler calls the family friend, and the next day, John learns that he has been let go. Two months later, after John has lost three more jobs, Carol accuses Mrs. Tyler of trying to break up their marriage by keeping them at her home where, after John's friends desert him, he could turn to his mother. Mrs. Tyler acknowledges her scheme and accuses Carol of worming her way into their home and of having had full knowledge of her father's activities. Carol calls Mrs. Tyler "ugly, warped and contemptible" and leaves to stay at the Plaza, sure that John will join her. As she waits in her hotel room with Dolan, a call from the desk informs him that "Mr. Tyler" is coming to see her. After Dolan leaves, Roger visits and confesses his part in her father's murder. Harris then arrives and demands $50,000 in blackmail. In the lobby, Dolan sees John call Carol on the hotel phone. As Carol tells John not to come up, Roger struggles with Harris, and John, over the phone, hears a gun fire. When they find that Harris is dead, Carol orders Roger to leave by the fire escape before John and Dolan arrive. When John asks for an explanation, Carol asks for his trust, but he leaves in disgust. She then relates to Dolan what Roger told her, but reminds Dolan of his promise to her father, who did not reveal Roger's complicity. Dolan then takes Carol to his mother, while he visits Jones. After Dolan states that Harris, before he died, implicated him in Barton's murder, Jones says that Harris, who used to work for Barton, killed him and only used Roger to get to Barton. When Jones goes for his gun, Dolan kills him. At the Tyler home, when Mrs. Tyler accuses Carol of dragging them through another scandal, Roger confesses. Dolan arrives and tells Roger that because Jones admitted that he had no part in Barton's murder and Harris was killed in self-defense, no charges will be brought against him. John now tries to reconcile with Carol, who feels that there is still a wall between them; however, when Mrs. Tyler apologizes and advises Carol not to spoil her happiness because of an old woman's pride and stupidity, Carol embraces her.
Ben F. Hendricks
Arthur T. Horman
Arthur Von Kirbach
Sol M. Wurtzel
The working title of this film was Buccaneer. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the film was based on a short story by I. A. R. Wylie, also entitled "Buccaneer," which appeared in Good Housekeeping in February 1933; however, this source was not listed in the screen credits. It is possible that Frances Hyland's "original screenplay" differed enough from Wylie's story that the studio was under no obligation to credit the story. The legal records indicate that Robert Gore-Browne, Robert Tosker and Oscar M. Sheridan worked on screenplays for the film in 1933, but it is not known whether any of their material was used when Frances Hyland began work on the script in 1935. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, material from the book A Farewell to Fifth Avenue (New York, 1935), an exposé of New York society by Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr., was to be used in this film after Darryl Zanuck cancelled plans for the production of a film based on that book. Before their merger with Twentieth Century, Fox had bought the motion picture rights to that book, and the proposed film was one of many that Zanuck cancelled when he assumed production leadership of the new concern. The book by Vanderbilt was originally serialized in in Red Book Magazine, February-June 1934.
According to news items, Robert Allen was originally borrowed from Columbia to play the role of John, but after shooting began, he suffered "an indisposition," which prevented him from acting in his first scenes, and he was replaced by Kent Taylor, who was loaned by Paramount. Charles Locher, later known as Lloyd Crane and Jon Hall, was originally cast as "Roger," according to Hollywood Reporter production charts. According to news items, Claire Trevor developed pneumonia during the production, and it was halted for at least one week. The delay cost the studio $19,000.