Under Pressure (1935)

70 mins | Comedy-drama | 1 February 1935

Producer:

Robert T. Kane

Cinematographers:

L. W. O'Connell, Hal Mohr

Editor:

Robert Bischoff

Production Designer:

Jack Otterson

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Bed-Rock , Man Lock and East River . Fox purchased the novel before it was published, when it was entitled Sand Hog . It subsequently appeared in serial form in Argosy , 6 Oct--3 Nov 1934 under the title of East River . According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, J. Robert Bren and Norman Houston wrote and submitted to Fox a story on speculation expressly for Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe in which the climax dealt with the troubles and conflicts of two tunnel workers; however, the studio determined that the Bren and Houston story bore no similarity to the one used for the film, and thus refused to compensate them for it. On 25 Aug 1934, the Gaelic American , a newspaper called the "Irishman's Bible" by author Frank G. Fowler, published an editorial warning that the film should be protested if a reported demeaning portrayal of an Irish wake was included in the film. George Wasson, of Fox's legal department, responded with a letter instructing the filmmakers that "Every endeavor should be made to see that there are no objectionable scenes from the standpoint of Irish or Irish-American groups." Fowler, who worked for ten years in river tunnels, responded by pointing out that there was no scene of an Irish wake in the script and that it did not show the Irish in an unfavorable light. He further stated that some shots were made in New York with the complete cooperation of the president of the ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Bed-Rock , Man Lock and East River . Fox purchased the novel before it was published, when it was entitled Sand Hog . It subsequently appeared in serial form in Argosy , 6 Oct--3 Nov 1934 under the title of East River . According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, J. Robert Bren and Norman Houston wrote and submitted to Fox a story on speculation expressly for Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe in which the climax dealt with the troubles and conflicts of two tunnel workers; however, the studio determined that the Bren and Houston story bore no similarity to the one used for the film, and thus refused to compensate them for it. On 25 Aug 1934, the Gaelic American , a newspaper called the "Irishman's Bible" by author Frank G. Fowler, published an editorial warning that the film should be protested if a reported demeaning portrayal of an Irish wake was included in the film. George Wasson, of Fox's legal department, responded with a letter instructing the filmmakers that "Every endeavor should be made to see that there are no objectionable scenes from the standpoint of Irish or Irish-American groups." Fowler, who worked for ten years in river tunnels, responded by pointing out that there was no scene of an Irish wake in the script and that it did not show the Irish in an unfavorable light. He further stated that some shots were made in New York with the complete cooperation of the president of the "sandhogs'" union, 55% of which was Irish.
       According to news items, after the original shooting was completed in mid-Oct 1934, James Tinling was selected to direct new scenes and major revisions instead of Raoul Walsh, who directed the original scenes. It was subsequently announced that Tinling would not direct the film and that a number of other directors were looking at the footage shot. Irving Cummings eventually was selected to direct the reshoot, which lasted for most of the month of Dec 1934. According to a DV news item in Nov 1934, $400,000 had already been spent on the production, and the reshoot was expected to cost another $200,000. At the time, a new treatment was being rewritten for the film. Grace Bradley, who appeared as "Pat" in the footage shot by Walsh, was replaced by Florence Rice for the reshoot. According to the legal records, Guinn Williams was originally signed to play "Nipper Moran." Williams is listed in early production charts, as is Ruth Peterson; while Williams was replaced by Charles Bickford, it is not known if Ruth Peterson was in the final film. Jack Donohue was the dance director for the original shooting, but it is not known if any of his work survived in the final film. The song "I'll Go to Flannigan," lyrics by Jack Yellen, music by Dan Dougherty, was written for the film, but was not in the final film. According to an unidentified article dated 30 Nov 1934 in the AMPAS file for the film, a huge tube, nearly 500 feet long and seventeen feet in diameter, an exact replica of a vehicle tunnel during construction, was copied as a set from the Fulton Street tunnel in New York, which connects Brooklyn and Manhattan.
       Author Frank G. Fowler took the pseudonym Borden Chase soon after arriving in Hollywood. The name was supposedly derived from Borden Dairies and Chase Manhattan Bank. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16-Feb-35
---
Daily Variety
7 Sep 34
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Nov 34
p. 1.
Daily Variety
19 Nov 34
p. 3.
Daily Variety
3 Dec 34
p. 3.
Daily Variety
31 Dec 34
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Jan 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Feb 35
p. 6.
Gaelic American
25-Aug-34
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 34
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
9 Jan 35
p. 12.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Oct 34
pp. 54-55.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Jan 35
p. 62.
MPSI
1 Feb 35
p. 7.
New York Evening Journal
15-Aug-34
---
New York Times
4 Feb 35
p. 11.
Variety
5 Feb 35
p. 31.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Siegfried Rumann
Melissa Teneyck
Al Frazier
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dir of revisions
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Revisions and addl dial
Revisions
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Miniature photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Cable man
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr clerk
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Sand Hog by Frank G. Fowler and Edward J. Doherty published serially in the 6 Oct-3 Nov 1934 issues of Argosy Magazine under the title "East River." This may or may not be the same story published in hard cover under the title Sandhog by Borden Chase [pseudonym of Frank G. Fowler] by Penn Publishing (Philadelphia, 1938).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
East River
Man Lock
Bed-Rock
Release Date:
1 February 1935
Production Date:
7 September--13 October 1934
3 December--31 December 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 February 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5450
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70
Length(in feet):
6,353
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
526
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While Jumbo Smith leads his "sand hogs," or tunnel builders, digging under the East River in New York City from the Brooklyn side for a subway route, his rival, Nipper Moran, leads his men from the Manhattan side. When a worker collapses coming up the subway stairs, Pat Dodge, a reporter passing by, sees by the man's badge that he is a "Compressed Air Worker" and takes him in a taxi to an emergency medical lock for medical care. After Jumbo and his iron boss, Shocker Dugan, leave a decompression chamber, they help Pat take the worker to the doctor, who explains that she rescued him just in time. In gratitude, Jumbo and Shocker, both attracted to Pat, take her to a beer hall run by Amelia "Amy" Hardcastle, where the sand hogs congregate. Moran comes in and bets Jumbo $500 and Shocker $200 that he and his men will push them back to Flatbush when they meet in the middle. Pat tries to interest her editor in the competition, but she is fired for neglecting a horse show she was supposed to cover. She then gets a job with a Brooklyn paper and awakens Jumbo and Shocker at Amy's apartment with her first byline, a story about them. To celebrate, they go to the fancy Paradise Club. At the club, Jumbo experiences the "itch," a mild case of compressed air still in his body, and a brutish boxer, Hanley, taunts him. Shocker slugs Hanley, to the applause of onlookers. Later, in the tunnel, when the workers hit a snag, Jumbo orders them to use dynamite. The explosion starts a fire, and ... +


While Jumbo Smith leads his "sand hogs," or tunnel builders, digging under the East River in New York City from the Brooklyn side for a subway route, his rival, Nipper Moran, leads his men from the Manhattan side. When a worker collapses coming up the subway stairs, Pat Dodge, a reporter passing by, sees by the man's badge that he is a "Compressed Air Worker" and takes him in a taxi to an emergency medical lock for medical care. After Jumbo and his iron boss, Shocker Dugan, leave a decompression chamber, they help Pat take the worker to the doctor, who explains that she rescued him just in time. In gratitude, Jumbo and Shocker, both attracted to Pat, take her to a beer hall run by Amelia "Amy" Hardcastle, where the sand hogs congregate. Moran comes in and bets Jumbo $500 and Shocker $200 that he and his men will push them back to Flatbush when they meet in the middle. Pat tries to interest her editor in the competition, but she is fired for neglecting a horse show she was supposed to cover. She then gets a job with a Brooklyn paper and awakens Jumbo and Shocker at Amy's apartment with her first byline, a story about them. To celebrate, they go to the fancy Paradise Club. At the club, Jumbo experiences the "itch," a mild case of compressed air still in his body, and a brutish boxer, Hanley, taunts him. Shocker slugs Hanley, to the applause of onlookers. Later, in the tunnel, when the workers hit a snag, Jumbo orders them to use dynamite. The explosion starts a fire, and when water begins to pour in, Shocker argues with Jumbo to let the men go up. Jumbo remains adamant that they should fight the river back, so Shocker hits him on the head from behind with a bolt and knocks him out. Everyone but one man gets out safely, and when Jumbo recovers, Shocker tells him that a falling piece of timber hit him. Before they are to go out with Pat, Shocker puts "cow-itch" powder in Jumbo's shirt. When Jumbo starts to scratch, Shocker takes him to the doctor, and he is put into a decompression chamber. Shocker then goes alone to see Pat, and he finds her sketching Moran for an article. Jumbo discovers the itch powder and goes fuming to Pat's apartment. When Moran taunts Jumbo, saying that his men no longer know who to take their orders from after Shocker hit him, Shocker admits that he did it. Jumbo challenges him to a fight, but Shocker develops a case of the "staggers," and Jumbo and Moran carry him out. When Shocker recovers, Jumbo hits him and fires him. After a large "blow," a rupture in the tunnel that causes the water to pour in and the compressed air to shoot out, occurs and Jumbo does not come up, Shocker goes to help. Jumbo then comes out of the emergency lock, but when he learns that Shocker is still in the tunnel, he rescues him. He refuses, however, to enter the compression chamber with Shocker. Shortly after this, Jumbo's leg becomes paralyzed. When Shocker proposes that he and Pat leave the city to raise silver foxes, she says she will think about it. Amy talks Jumbo into giving his workers a pep talk to show that he is not disabled. When Moran interrupts and offers to call off the bet, Jumbo indignantly says he wants to double it. Moran then throws a glass of beer in Jumbo's face, and when Jumbo doesn't respond, his men look at him in disgust. Shocker realizes that Jumbo's leg is gone, and he reconciles with Jumbo. With a $5,000 bonus at stake, which Shocker wants to use to fix Jumbo's leg, Shocker leads the men to close the gap with Moran's men. As they are about to break through, Shocker lets Jumbo claw his way to Moran. They fight each other, and Jumbo knocks Moran cold. Outside, Jumbo is cheered as a band plays. As Jumbo, Shocker, Amy and Pat drive off together, Amy wins from Pat a bet of five dollars that the men would head straight for a tunnel. +

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

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