Sins of Man


1h 26m 1936

Brief Synopsis

Austrian church bell ringer Freyman loves music and wants his two sons (both played by Ameche) to love it too. The first goes to America and the second is born deaf-mute but gains hearing during WWI bombing.

Film Details

Also Known As
Job, Turmoil
Release Date
Jun 19, 1936
Premiere Information
New York opening: 18 Jun 1936
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Hiob, roman eines ein fachen mannes by Joseph Roth (Berlin, 1930), translated by Dorothy Thompson as Job (New York, 1931).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,100ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

Among the Alps on the Austrian-Italian border in Tyrol in 1900, Christopher Freyman rings the church bells of Zenbruck. His wife dies after giving birth to a quiet baby boy. After a year, an Austrian Army doctor discovers that the boy, named Gabriel, has been born deaf and will never learn to speak. Anton Engel, a neighbor, suggests that Chris take Gabriel to a Catholic monastery across the border, which is known for its miracles. Although Chris goes reluctantly, being a Protestant, Father Prior tells him that Gabriel will be healed. However, ten years later, Gabriel is still deaf, although much beloved by his father and elder brother, Karl. Meanwhile, Chris and Karl quarrel bitterly over the lad's determination to be a scientist, as Chris wants Karl to follow him in his church activities. Weary of Chris's verbal abuse and provincialism, Karl abruptly leaves home. Chris decides that Karl is dead to him and burns the unopened letters from his son, who is now in America. Later, Chris notices that Gabriel can hear the high-pitched sound of a spoon hitting a glass. The local doctor says that specialists in New York and Berlin could help Gabriel, but this is too far for Chris to travel. When Chris overhears Anton and his wife Anna read a letter from Karl, in which he explains that he is working as an aeronautical engineer and asks their help in conveying to his father that he loves him and that he goes to church every week, Chris begins to communicate with his son. Sometime later, Chris announces to the townsfolk that he is leaving for New York, thanks to a ticket Karl has sent, to arrange for Gabriel to follow for treatment. Father and son are joyfully reunited, but the next day, Karl is killed on a test flight of a new airplane. Within days, World War I breaks out, and Chris is unable to return to Zenbruck, which he learns has been destroyed by bombs. Gabriel is listed as dead. Shocked, Chris walks aimlessly until he enters a church, where he hears a sermon on Job's faith in God despite tribulations. Years later, Chris works as a menial. He hears a record of a symphony of bells by Mario Singarelli and recognizes a variation on the tune he used to play on the bells at his old church. Despite his advanced age, Chris earns money for a ticket to a Singarelli concert by wearing heavy sandwich boards as advertisements. He tries unsuccessfully to see Singarelli backstage and later at the Savoy, until Singarelli learns that a man from Zenbruck has tried to see him and goes to Chris. Singarelli explains that he was one of the few survivors of the town and that he was adopted by an Italian family. He tells Chris that he never knew his real name because he was born deaf and that the bombing restored his hearing. Realizing that Singarelli, despite his Italian accent, is actually Gabriel, Chris is reunited with his son. At the next concert, Chris plays the bells in the symphony.

Film Details

Also Known As
Job, Turmoil
Release Date
Jun 19, 1936
Premiere Information
New York opening: 18 Jun 1936
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Hiob, roman eines ein fachen mannes by Joseph Roth (Berlin, 1930), translated by Dorothy Thompson as Job (New York, 1931).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,100ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Job and Turmoil. At the conclusion, a note reads "This picture has introduced to you a new Twentieth Century-Fox screen personality Mr. Don Ameche." In reviews, Ameche was described as the "star of the 'First Nighter' radio programs" and "a semi-obscure Chicago radio actor." According to Hollywood Reporter, Zanuck bought the novel for Twentieth Century-Fox for $10,000 from Gregory Ratoff, who had "treasured" it for the three years since its publication and had planned to produce it the previous winter in England. In a separate deal, according to Hollywood Reporter, Ratoff was hired in an advisory capacity during preparation of the film; he subsequently became co-director. According to New York Times, it took Jean Hersholt nearly three hours every day to put on his makeup. According to Twentieth Century-Fox publicity at the AMPAS library, stunt flyer Paul Mantz built a 1912-vintage "pusher" plane of silk and bamboo to fly and crash for the film.