The Devil to Pay (1930)

72 mins | Comedy-drama | 20 December 1930

Director:

George Fitzmaurice

Producer:

Samuel Goldwyn

Cinematographers:

George Barnes, Gregg Toland

Editor:

Grant Whytock

Production Designer:

Richard Day

Production Company:

Howard Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The pre-production title of the film was The Prodigal. Some sources refer to Frederick Lonsdale as author of a play on which the film was based, however, Var notes that it was an original for the screen, Lonsdale's first, and that it was written in collaboration with Benjamin Glazer. The title of Lonsdale's original story was "Monarch of the Field," according to modern sources. The character played by Myrna Loy was "Mary Crayle," although most reviews and modern sources list the name as "Carlyle." Modern sources indicate that the film's original director was Irving Cummings and that the part of Dorothy was played by Constance Cummings. After some footage was shot, George Fitzmaurice replaced director Cummings, Young replaced the actress Cummings, and all previously film scenes were ... More Less

The pre-production title of the film was The Prodigal. Some sources refer to Frederick Lonsdale as author of a play on which the film was based, however, Var notes that it was an original for the screen, Lonsdale's first, and that it was written in collaboration with Benjamin Glazer. The title of Lonsdale's original story was "Monarch of the Field," according to modern sources. The character played by Myrna Loy was "Mary Crayle," although most reviews and modern sources list the name as "Carlyle." Modern sources indicate that the film's original director was Irving Cummings and that the part of Dorothy was played by Constance Cummings. After some footage was shot, George Fitzmaurice replaced director Cummings, Young replaced the actress Cummings, and all previously film scenes were re-shot. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
1 Oct 1930
p. 2.
Film Daily
21 Dec 1930
p. 10
New York Times
19 Dec 1930
p. 30
Time
29 Dec 1930
p. 17.
Variety
24 Dec 1930
p. 20
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A George Fitzmaurice Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and dial
Dial staged by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Prodigal
Release Date:
20 December 1930
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 18 December 1930
Production Date:
began late October 1930
Copyright Claimant:
Samuel Goldwyn, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 January 1931
Copyright Number:
LP1888
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Willie Hale, the happy-go-lucky second son of Lord Leland, is forced to auction his property in Kenya and return to England because of horses with short noses and cards that were good, but not good enough. His father is furious when he hears, and promises to disown him, but when Willie returns, the two are reconciled and Lord Leland gives him money to have fun. Willie decides to spend the day with his sister Susan and her friend Dorothy Hope at the Derby. Although about to announce her engagement to Count Paul, a Russian nobelman, Dorothy falls in love with Willie. He is also attracted to her, but her wealth and his liaison with actress Mary Crayle inhibit him. That night Dorothy breaks her engagement to Paul and the next day her father tells Willie that Dorothy will be disinherited if she marries him. Delighted, Willie proposes to Dorothy, promising a happy, impoverished life. She accepts, but makes him reluctantly promise never to see Mary again, even to tell her that he is going to be married. Willie can't bring himself to write Mary a cold note, or tell her on the phone, so he arranges for a "chance" meeting. Meanwhile, Mr. Hope is having Willie followed by a private detective. When he tells Dorothy that Willie has seen Mary, she telephone's Mary's appartment and is heartbroken that Willie answers. She won't let Willie explain and offers him a check for £5,000 because she thinks that he has been after her money all along. Willie cashes the check, but instead of spending it, he sends it to the debt-ridden ... +


Willie Hale, the happy-go-lucky second son of Lord Leland, is forced to auction his property in Kenya and return to England because of horses with short noses and cards that were good, but not good enough. His father is furious when he hears, and promises to disown him, but when Willie returns, the two are reconciled and Lord Leland gives him money to have fun. Willie decides to spend the day with his sister Susan and her friend Dorothy Hope at the Derby. Although about to announce her engagement to Count Paul, a Russian nobelman, Dorothy falls in love with Willie. He is also attracted to her, but her wealth and his liaison with actress Mary Crayle inhibit him. That night Dorothy breaks her engagement to Paul and the next day her father tells Willie that Dorothy will be disinherited if she marries him. Delighted, Willie proposes to Dorothy, promising a happy, impoverished life. She accepts, but makes him reluctantly promise never to see Mary again, even to tell her that he is going to be married. Willie can't bring himself to write Mary a cold note, or tell her on the phone, so he arranges for a "chance" meeting. Meanwhile, Mr. Hope is having Willie followed by a private detective. When he tells Dorothy that Willie has seen Mary, she telephone's Mary's appartment and is heartbroken that Willie answers. She won't let Willie explain and offers him a check for £5,000 because she thinks that he has been after her money all along. Willie cashes the check, but instead of spending it, he sends it to the debt-ridden Paul and asks his father to buy him a farm in New Zealand. Just as he is packing to leave, Mary arrives, confessing that when she discovered that Willie had given the money to Paul, she realized her mistake. After Willie accepts her apology, his father informs them that Mr. Hope has just arrived, pleading for them to accept a farm in England as a wedding present. +

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.