The Prodigal (1931)

76 mins | Drama | 21 February 1931

Director:

Snub Pollard

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Editor:

Margaret Booth

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

This film was copyrighted as The Southerner , and was reviewed as such in MPH and HR . According to the Var review, Bess Meredith and Wells Root wrote the original story with Lawrence Tibbett in mind for the lead. Var also speculates that although five writers are credited for six musical numbers in the film, "perhaps a lot of it went on the cutting room floor, either before or after the usual coast preview." While FD called the film "so meaningless that it doesn't look like an M-G-M film," HR praised almost every aspect of the film, and stated that "there is not a foot of film to spare...every moment of it holds you." The HR review also indicates that because of its "unique" and "daring" theme, the story encountered some difficulty in making its way to the screen. According to modern sources, The Prodigal contains remnants of Pollard's abandoned 1930 film Great Day , including the song "Without a ... More Less

This film was copyrighted as The Southerner , and was reviewed as such in MPH and HR . According to the Var review, Bess Meredith and Wells Root wrote the original story with Lawrence Tibbett in mind for the lead. Var also speculates that although five writers are credited for six musical numbers in the film, "perhaps a lot of it went on the cutting room floor, either before or after the usual coast preview." While FD called the film "so meaningless that it doesn't look like an M-G-M film," HR praised almost every aspect of the film, and stated that "there is not a foot of film to spare...every moment of it holds you." The HR review also indicates that because of its "unique" and "daring" theme, the story encountered some difficulty in making its way to the screen. According to modern sources, The Prodigal contains remnants of Pollard's abandoned 1930 film Great Day , including the song "Without a Song." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
28 Jun 31
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Jan 31
p. 24
Motion Picture Herald
7 Mar 31
p. 24.
New York Times
27 Jun 31
p. 20.
Variety
30 Jun 31
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Harry Pollard Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
Supv
WRITERS
Dial cont
Dial cont
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Southerner" by Bess Meredyth and Wells Root (publication undetermined).
SONGS
"Without a Song," music and lyrics by Vincent Youmans
"Pappy Song" and "Chidlins," music by Herbert Stothart, lyrics by Howard E. Johnson
"Home, Sweet Home," music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, lyrics by John Howard Payne
+
SONGS
"Without a Song," music and lyrics by Vincent Youmans
"Pappy Song" and "Chidlins," music by Herbert Stothart, lyrics by Howard E. Johnson
"Home, Sweet Home," music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, lyrics by John Howard Payne
"A Child Is Born," music and lyrics by Herbert Stothart
"Glory Road," music and lyrics by Jacques Wolfe
"Life Is a Dream," music by Oscar Strauss, lyrics by Arthur Freed
"Song of the Gambolier," anonymous.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Southerner
Release Date:
21 February 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
19 February 1931
Copyright Number:
LP1992
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
76
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When Jeffry Farraday, the black-sheep son of an aristocratic Southern family, returns to his family's plantation after five years of being a hobo, his loving mother directs him to the bathtub and then burns his soiled clothes. Jeffry's inimical brother Rodman and his discontented wife Antonia live at the Farraday estate, as does his sister Catherine, her husband George and their two children, Peter and Elsbeth. Antonia does not love Rodman and is having an affair with Carter Jerome, who sneaks into her bedroom and, after swearing his love for her, begs her to elope with him. Fearing that Rodman will discover them, Antonia tells Carter to leave, but Carter shows little concern and insists that the last place he would expect to find Rodman would be in her bedroom. Though she is not in love with Carter, Antonia decides to flee with him after Rodman strikes her. In addition to the long-standing animosity between him and his brother, Jeffry is also given a cool reception by Catherine, who reminds George that Jeffry is a jailbird and tries to keep Peter and Elsbeth from coming into contact with him. Soon after they meet for the first time, Jeffry and Antonia, both free spirits, become fast friends. Realizing that he is unwelcome at the Farraday house, Jeffry decides to leave with his hobo friends, Somerset "Doc" Greenman and Snipe, who have come to visit him. When Jeffry sees Antonia boarding a train with Carter at the train station, he removes her and tells her that she will be throwing her life away if she leaves. After Jeffry tells her that "a man can ... +


When Jeffry Farraday, the black-sheep son of an aristocratic Southern family, returns to his family's plantation after five years of being a hobo, his loving mother directs him to the bathtub and then burns his soiled clothes. Jeffry's inimical brother Rodman and his discontented wife Antonia live at the Farraday estate, as does his sister Catherine, her husband George and their two children, Peter and Elsbeth. Antonia does not love Rodman and is having an affair with Carter Jerome, who sneaks into her bedroom and, after swearing his love for her, begs her to elope with him. Fearing that Rodman will discover them, Antonia tells Carter to leave, but Carter shows little concern and insists that the last place he would expect to find Rodman would be in her bedroom. Though she is not in love with Carter, Antonia decides to flee with him after Rodman strikes her. In addition to the long-standing animosity between him and his brother, Jeffry is also given a cool reception by Catherine, who reminds George that Jeffry is a jailbird and tries to keep Peter and Elsbeth from coming into contact with him. Soon after they meet for the first time, Jeffry and Antonia, both free spirits, become fast friends. Realizing that he is unwelcome at the Farraday house, Jeffry decides to leave with his hobo friends, Somerset "Doc" Greenman and Snipe, who have come to visit him. When Jeffry sees Antonia boarding a train with Carter at the train station, he removes her and tells her that she will be throwing her life away if she leaves. After Jeffry tells her that "a man can be a tramp, but a woman can't," he convinces her to return to Rodman and attend the foxhunt and ball that she is to host with him. During the foxhunt, Antonia happens upon Jeffry, Snipe and Doc, who are fishing in a nearby lake, and talks with them until Carter shows up and accuses Jeffry of being Antonia's lover. Later, after Jeffry and Antonia, who have indeed fallen in love, kiss, he bids her farewell because he cannot betray his brother. Before Jeffry leaves, however, his mother, who believes that he is the more worthy of her two sons, instructs him to marry Antonia once she and Rodman are divorced. +

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

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