Now I'll Tell

1h 12m 1934

Brief Synopsis

Golden is a two-bit gambler who has promised wife Virginia he'll quit when he makes $200,000. When he fixes a fight he gets mobster Mossiter mad, then loses his fortune to him. He pawns his wife's jewels and takes out an insurance policy on himself.

Film Details

Release Date
May 11, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
United States

Technical Specs

1h 12m
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,889ft (9 reels)


In 1909, at the Saratoga racetrack, gambler Murray Golden convinces the man at the betting window to trust him for a $200 bet on the strength of a telegram sent to him purportedly by multi-millionaire Harry Payne Whitney, which gives a tip on a horse. Murray, in fact, earlier composed the wire himself. Although the horse does not win, Murray invites the party he is with to join him in a celebration. One of the women in the party, Virginia, decides to marry Murray, although she has no idea how he makes his money. Murray has ambitions of hobnobbing with the leaders of society, and he lives by the creed that one should do anything one can get away with. In 1914, on their fifth anniversary, Murray, who now runs a successful gambling house in New York, promises Virginia, who is bored and lonesome, that he will quit the business as soon as he has made $500,000. That night, Murray meets cabaret singer Peggy Warren, the girl friend of Al Mositer, a gangster whom he orders to leave, and at her instigation, they begin an affair. Although the evening's winnings put Murray's income over $500,000, he tells Virginia that he wants to continue until he makes "real" money so that he can do other things. By 1919, Murray has given Peggy a $100,000 trust fund and a Park Avenue apartment, but he remains in love with Virginia. Upon learning that Mositer has fixed a championship fight by paying one of the fighters, Eddie Traylor, to take a dive, Murray pays the other fighter, George Curtis, to go down in an earlier round and then places a bet with Mositer. After the fight goes the way Murray planned, Virginia, who has attended with a friend, overhears talk that Peggy has been Murray's girl friend for years. She starts to pack, but Murray convinces her that his cohort Freddie is the man involved with Peggy. Murray then promises to quit gambling and go into the insurance business. During their discussion, Murray gets a call telling him that Traylor has been found murdered. Five years later, Curtis, who was broken up by Traylor's death, is an alcoholic. After Mositer tricks him into admitting that Murray convinced him to take a dive, Mositer vows revenge. As Murray, now ostensibly in the insurance business, visits his boyhood friend, Tommy Doran, who is now a police detective, to try to bribe him for a client, he gets a call from Freddie telling him that Virginia has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom by Mositer. Murray orders Freddie to pay anything and hurries back to town in a cab with Peggy. He urges the driver to speed, and the cab crashes into a truck killing Peggy. Virginia, who is released unharmed, tells Murray that she will seek a divorce in Paris to regain her self-respect. In 1928, Murray, nearly broke, loses $50,000 to Mositer in a card game. When he gets a telegram that Virginia is returning from Europe, he thinks she is coming back to him. Feeling that his luck is changing, he pawns her jewelry, which he has kept in the safe-deposit box, to gamble in a crap game. Virginia tells him that she is marrying another man and that she came back to get her jewelry. Still in love with her, Murray promises to get the jewelry back. He takes out an insurance policy, and then tries to win the money to buy back the jewelry from Mositer in a crap game, but loses over $200,000 to him. When Murray tells Mositer that he is going to reveal to the district attorney that Mositer killed Traylor, Mositer shoots Murray, who then confesses that he arranged to die so that should he lose, the insurance money could be used to buy back Virginia's jewelry. Tommy brings Virginia to Murray's hospital room and encourages her to lie to him. After she tells Murray that she's coming back to him, Murray dies.


Spencer Tracy

Murray Golden

Helen Twelvetrees


Alice Faye

Peggy [Warren]

Robert Gleckler

[Al] Mositer

Henry O'neill

[Tommy] Doran

Hobart Cavanaugh


G. P. Huntley Jr.


Shirley Temple

Mary [Doran]

Ronnie Cosbey

Tommy, Jr.

Ray Cooke

[Eddie] Traylor

Frank Marlowe

[George] Curtis

Clarence Wilson


Barbara Weeks


Theodore Newton


Vince Barnett


Jim Donlan

Honey Smith

Charles Sellon

Justice of the peace

Samuel T. Godfrey

Manager of gambling house

Jack Baxley


John M. Sullivan


Tom Mcguire


Donald Haines

Messenger boy

Cosmo Kyrle Bellew

Oakley Evans

Selmer Jackson


Lane Chandler


Charles Moore

Black attendant

Irving Bacon


Charles Dow Clark


Claire Du Brey


Catherine Perry


Leon Waycoff


Larry Mcgrath


Frankie Dolan


Patrick J. Moriarity

Fight fan

Georgia O'dell

Fight fan

Allan Fox


Paddy Sullivan

Preliminary fighter

"red" Stevens

Preliminary fighter

Gordon De Main

Fight announcer

Lenita Lane


George Davis

Elevator operator

Mae Madison


Harry C. Bradley

Judge Farth

Dorothy Phillips

Mrs. Farth

Louis Payne


Alice Calhoun

Mrs. Doran

Joseph Crehan


Lucille Brown


Edwin Stanley


Billy Franey


Lew Harvey


Bob Ryan


Wesley Giraud


Walter Armitage


Claude King

Captain of ship

Mary Forbes

Mrs. Drake

Alden Chase


Jack Mower


Edward Keane


Gertrude Astor

Freddie's wife

James Flavin


June Vlasek

Woman at beach

Blanca Vischer

Woman at beach

Ruth Peterson

Woman at beach

Frank Melton


Ruth Warren

Eddie Kane

Brooks Benedict

Freddy Howard

Boothe Howard

Eddie Hart

Charles Williams

Tommy Dugan

George Lloyd

James Murray

Clay Clement

Dorothy Christy

Jack Norton

Susan Fleming

John Marston

Robert Ellis

Inez Norton

John Sheehan

Ned Norton

Stanley Price

Film Details

Release Date
May 11, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
United States

Technical Specs

1h 12m
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,889ft (9 reels)




As the print viewed was a re-release print, the onscreen credits were taken from a screen credit billing sheet in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library. The main character in this film is based on the gambler Arnold Rothstein, who, according to modern sources, acted as a go-between for businessmen and criminals in their dealings with New York politicians and police. Rothstein was reported to have devised the Black Sox scandal during the 1919 World Series. He was shot during a poker game and died two days later, November 6, 1928, without revealing his killer. Variety noted that at the time of the film's release, Rothstein's murder was still unsolved and commented that the character "Murray Golden," "resembles the noted Broadway gambling man in his moods and methods, many of which will be recognized by those who knew or studied him." New York Times called Spencer Tracy's portrayal "as thorough a characterization as has been seen on the screen."
       According to information in the legal files, on July 11, 1933, Fox took out an option on a story to be written by Mrs. Carolyn Behar, formerly Mrs. Arnold Rothstein, which would "exploit and describe the activities, incidents and events in the life of Arnold Rothstein." A separate agreement gave Fox the right to furnish a ghostwriter to work with Behar if the work was not completed by October 1, 1933. The book, which was also entitled Now I'll Tell and published by the Vanguard Press on May 3, 1934, was written by Behar under the name Mrs. Arnold Rothstein, in collaboration with Donald Henderson Clarke. Fox obtained all rights to the book, except publication rights. Behar read the shooting script by Edwin Burke, which was finished before her book was completed, and signed a statement that read, "Some of the incidents included in the continuity are not based on real facts or incidents in the life of the late Arnold Rothstein and as to these incidents, I do not make any representations to the public or otherwise that they are true, but if these incidents are used in the picture, I will have no objection to their use, provided, I am not called upon to state to the public that they are actual happenings."
       In an affidavit relating to a plagiarism claim concerning the ending of the film, Burke stated that the ending he wrote was developed from a suggestion made by Rothstein's black secretary, Thomas Farley. Fox had authorized Burke to travel to New York to interview Farley and some underworld characters, and Farley related an incident in which he found Rothstein fooling with a revolver in his office. Farley told him, "If I were you, Mr. Rothstein, I would not use that revolver," and Rothstein replied, "If I had any guts, I would use it." They left the office together and took a taxi, and when, at an intersection, Rothstein left the taxi, he was almost struck by a couple of cars. Burke stated in the affidavit that the film's ending was derived from that incident.
       This was the only complete film that Burke, a Fox contract writer, directed; the previous year, he had co-directed retakes on Hello Sister!. According to the legal records, Fox hired a camera crew consisting of Sol Halprin and Larry Williams to take various shots of New York and the vicinity for this film and One More Spring (see below). Fox also received permission to take certain shots and stills of the interior of "Lindy's Restaurant" to be used in the film. Allen Jenkins was to be loaned by Warner Bros. for a role, but the agreement was not executed.