The Man Who Played God (1932)

80-81 mins | Drama | 20 February 1932

Director:

John G. Adolfi

Cinematographer:

James Van Trees

Editor:

William Holmes

Production Designer:

Jack Okey

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film was released in Britain under the title The Silent Voice because the original title was considered offensive. This was Bette Davis' first role at Warner Bros. In her autobiography, Davis recalled that she was chosen personally by George Arliss to play the role of Grace, although Jack Warner recalled that he sent her to director John G. Adolfi. This film was one of the top moneymaking films of 1932. Modern sources note that Salvatore Santaella played the piano solos for Arliss. Other films based on the same source include a 1915 version entitled The Silent Voice , starring Francis X. Bushman and directed by William J. Bowman (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.4021), and a 1922 version, titled The Man Who Played God and also starring Arliss and directed by Harom Weight (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.3435). Warner Bros. remade the film in 1955 as Sincerely Yours , directed by Gordon Douglas, written by Irving Wallace and starring Liberace as the ... More Less

The film was released in Britain under the title The Silent Voice because the original title was considered offensive. This was Bette Davis' first role at Warner Bros. In her autobiography, Davis recalled that she was chosen personally by George Arliss to play the role of Grace, although Jack Warner recalled that he sent her to director John G. Adolfi. This film was one of the top moneymaking films of 1932. Modern sources note that Salvatore Santaella played the piano solos for Arliss. Other films based on the same source include a 1915 version entitled The Silent Voice , starring Francis X. Bushman and directed by William J. Bowman (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.4021), and a 1922 version, titled The Man Who Played God and also starring Arliss and directed by Harom Weight (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.3435). Warner Bros. remade the film in 1955 as Sincerely Yours , directed by Gordon Douglas, written by Irving Wallace and starring Liberace as the pianist. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
14 Feb 32
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jan 32
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Mar 32
p. 30.
Motion Picture Herald
13-Feb-32
---
New York Times
11 Feb 32
p. 16.
Variety
16 Feb 32
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
2d cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Vitaphone Orch cond
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story The Man Who Played God by Gouverneur Morris in Cosmopolitan (Jan 1912), and the play The Silent Voice by Jules Eckert Goodman (New York, 29 Dec 1914).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Silent Voice
Release Date:
20 February 1932
Production Date:
began week of 30 November 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 February 1932
Copyright Number:
LP2842
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80-81
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Famous pianist Montgomery Royle is the toast of Paris. He is idolized by his student, twenty-five-year-old Grace Blair, who professes her love for him. He agrees that if she still loves him in six months, he will marry her. At the special request of a king, Monty agrees to give an additional recital, where an anarchist's bomb, meant for the king, destroys Monty's hearing, which is already weakened by a hereditary illness. After their return to New York, Grace begs Monty to continue playing, but he refuses, railing against God for making him deaf. Finally, his sister Florence convinces him to learn lip reading. An old friend, Mildred Miller, suggests that perhaps this is God's first test of Monty's strength. Grace leaves for a visit to Santa Barbara, planning to marry Monty on her return. Completely distraught, Monty tries to jump from his apartment window, but is stopped by his butler, Battle. Trying to interest Monty in the life surrounding him, Battle hands him a pair of binoculars, which Monty uses to read the lips of people walking through Central Park below his window. He learns that a young couple are in trouble because the man has tuberculosis and they do not have enough money for his cure. Monty decides to help them and sends Battle down to offer them the needed money. Meanwhile, in Santa Barbara, Grace has fallen in love with Harold Van Adam, a young man her own age, but she stubbornly intends to go ahead with her plan to marry Monty. During Grace's absence, Monty has regained his faith through his efforts to help the people ... +


Famous pianist Montgomery Royle is the toast of Paris. He is idolized by his student, twenty-five-year-old Grace Blair, who professes her love for him. He agrees that if she still loves him in six months, he will marry her. At the special request of a king, Monty agrees to give an additional recital, where an anarchist's bomb, meant for the king, destroys Monty's hearing, which is already weakened by a hereditary illness. After their return to New York, Grace begs Monty to continue playing, but he refuses, railing against God for making him deaf. Finally, his sister Florence convinces him to learn lip reading. An old friend, Mildred Miller, suggests that perhaps this is God's first test of Monty's strength. Grace leaves for a visit to Santa Barbara, planning to marry Monty on her return. Completely distraught, Monty tries to jump from his apartment window, but is stopped by his butler, Battle. Trying to interest Monty in the life surrounding him, Battle hands him a pair of binoculars, which Monty uses to read the lips of people walking through Central Park below his window. He learns that a young couple are in trouble because the man has tuberculosis and they do not have enough money for his cure. Monty decides to help them and sends Battle down to offer them the needed money. Meanwhile, in Santa Barbara, Grace has fallen in love with Harold Van Adam, a young man her own age, but she stubbornly intends to go ahead with her plan to marry Monty. During Grace's absence, Monty has regained his faith through his efforts to help the people he sees below. While demonstrating his abilities to Mildred one afternoon, Grace, who has returned from her trip, walks beneath the window with Harold. By reading her lips, Monty learns of her love for Harold, and when she arrives upstairs, he sends her away. At peace, Monty visits the church to examine the organ he has donated. Mildred encourages him to play and he discovers that he can have his music after all. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.