The Scoundrel


1h 16m 1935

Film Details

Also Known As
Miracle in Forty-Ninth Street
Release Date
Jun 7, 1935
Premiere Information
World premiere: New York 2 May 1935
Production Company
Hecht--MacArthur, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Long Island--Astoria, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 16m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Publisher Anthony Mallare is a heartless philanderer and intellectual and is surrounded by a snobbish group of literati who cater to his brilliance but slander him behind his back. When a philosopher named Slazack kills himself after Tony refuses to publish his work, Tony calls the suicide a "foolish effort to call attention to bad writing." Tony then takes a beautiful young poet, Cora Moore, under his wing. They fall in love and she abandons her suitor, Captain Paul Decker, who sees Tony for the Don Juan he is. Paul tries to shoot Tony, but hits only his cigarette case. Tony, unruffled, calls Paul's act an affair of "honor" and refuses to press charges. When Tony and Cora have their fortunes told by a gypsy, the gypsy is cold to Tony, but gives Cora a locket, assuring her she will live a long time. Months later, Tony discards Cora for pianist Maggie, who he says is more shallow and superficial than he is. Cora is heartbroken, and when Tony tells her to grow up, she stops writing and starts drinking. Eventually, she comes to Tony for money to keep Paul, who has become destitute, from prison. Tony refuses her request, calling it "moral blackmail." Cora curses Tony by wishing that he die in a plane crash, and on his way to Bermuda to marry Maggie, he does. Ironically, Maggie's invitation to Tony for a rendezvous in Bermuda was only a joke. None of Tony's social set can find it in their hearts to grieve for him, and Cora laughs when she reads that her death wish came true, deeming it proof that God exists. Tony returns as a ghost because there can be no rest for souls who die unloved. He has been granted one month to find someone who will cry for him. Days pass and Tony searches desperately for Cora, who has found Paul in a shabby boardinghouse and has begged forgiveness for ruining him. With only one day left, Tony sees Cora's locket in a pawn shop and traces her to the boardinghouse, where Paul is planning to kill himself. Tony enters, begs forgiveness, and gives money to Paul, who shoots at Tony but cannot wound him. Tony then prays that God grant Paul and Cora peace. Although Paul shoots himself, the wound is miraculously healed. Cora cries in gratitude to Tony, who asks, "Are those tears for me?"

Film Details

Also Known As
Miracle in Forty-Ninth Street
Release Date
Jun 7, 1935
Premiere Information
World premiere: New York 2 May 1935
Production Company
Hecht--MacArthur, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Long Island--Astoria, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 16m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Award Wins

Best Writing, Screenplay

1936
Ben Hecht

Best Writing, Screenplay

1936
Charles Macarthur

Quotes

I'm never nice.
- Anthony Mallare
I've just learned that there IS a God!
- Cora Moore

Trivia

Notes

This film was originally titled Miracle in Forty-Ninth Street. Hecht and MacArthur's credits are listed on the film as "Written, directed and produced by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur." They received the 1935 Academy Award for Writing (Original Story). On January 25, 1936, the Hollywood Reporter reported from Brussels that a jury of the International Cinema Festival awarded its medal of honor for Best Scenario to Hecht and MacArthur for this film. Except for a brief appearance in D. W. Griffiths' 1918 film Hearts of the World, The Scoundrel marked Noël Coward's film debut. Burgess Meredith made his screen debut in this film. The Hollywood Reporter review states that this film "[is] one of the finest productions in writing, acting and technically that the talking screen has evolved. It is a story of great force that can create a tremendous good and if it fails to become a hit, it will be a sad and discouraging reflection on what one must cater to in audience demands.... A modern source states that while "the critics liked The Scoundrel," it was "really too literate to be a commercial success." On December 29, 1936, Hollywood Reporter stated that Attorney Saul Rogers had applied to courts in New York for an order to examine Paramount, Hecht and MacArthur and the law firm of Brandt and Brandt before the trial of a plagiarism suit. No additional information regarding the suit has been found. A modern source states that The Scoundrel was based in part on an earlier novel by Hecht. The character of Anthony Mallare was supposedly based on theatrical producer Jed Harris. A modern source also states that the leading character's name comes from a privately published pornographic novel of the 1920s, Fantasius Mallare." This film was re-issued in October 1949, and was revived in July 1972.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1935

Released in United States October 9, 1989

Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival October 9, 1989.

Charles MacArthur has a bit part in the film.

Released in United States 1935

Released in United States October 9, 1989 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival October 9, 1989.)