The County Chairman (1935)

78-79 or 85 mins | Comedy | 11 January 1935

Director:

John Blystone

Producer:

Edward Butcher

Cinematographer:

Hal Mohr

Production Designer:

William Darling

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

An unidentified news item from Mar 1934, in the M-G-M Story Department Property Files at the AFI Louis B. Mayer Library, states that the film was to be directed by James Cruze. John Blystone earlier directed Rogers in the 1930 Fox film So This Is London . MPH points out that "many of the cast have appeared in previous Rogers pictures. Seven of them were with him in David Harum --Evelyn Venable, Kent Taylor, Louise Dresser, Stepin Fetchit, Frank Melton, Robert McWade and Charles Middleton." According to a HR news item, this was Hal Mohr's last picture with Fox as a contract cameraman. Mohr, according to modern sources, married Evelyn Venable immediate after the film. Rogers, in a syndicated column on 4 Nov 1934, stated that some of the film was shot in Sonoma, CA. According to an interview with Mohr in a modern source, Rogers bowed to popular demand and gave a two-and-one-half hour solo show at a high school auditorium in Sonoma. Modern sources state that other scenes were shot in the Mojave Desert and that Dave O'Brien was in a crowd scene. Famous Players Film Co. produced a film based on the same play, which was distributed by Paramount in 1914 and starred Maclyn Arbuckle (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0817). Paramount sold the world-wide motion picture rights to Fox in ... More Less

An unidentified news item from Mar 1934, in the M-G-M Story Department Property Files at the AFI Louis B. Mayer Library, states that the film was to be directed by James Cruze. John Blystone earlier directed Rogers in the 1930 Fox film So This Is London . MPH points out that "many of the cast have appeared in previous Rogers pictures. Seven of them were with him in David Harum --Evelyn Venable, Kent Taylor, Louise Dresser, Stepin Fetchit, Frank Melton, Robert McWade and Charles Middleton." According to a HR news item, this was Hal Mohr's last picture with Fox as a contract cameraman. Mohr, according to modern sources, married Evelyn Venable immediate after the film. Rogers, in a syndicated column on 4 Nov 1934, stated that some of the film was shot in Sonoma, CA. According to an interview with Mohr in a modern source, Rogers bowed to popular demand and gave a two-and-one-half hour solo show at a high school auditorium in Sonoma. Modern sources state that other scenes were shot in the Mojave Desert and that Dave O'Brien was in a crowd scene. Famous Players Film Co. produced a film based on the same play, which was distributed by Paramount in 1914 and starred Maclyn Arbuckle (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0817). Paramount sold the world-wide motion picture rights to Fox in 1928. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Dec 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Jan 35
p. 22.
Harrison's Reports
12 Jan 35
p. 7.
HF
20 Oct 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 34
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 35
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Dec 34
p. 46.
Motion Picture Herald
29 Dec 34
p. 54.
New York American
19-Jan-35
---
New York Daily News
19-Jan-35
---
Time
28-Jan-35
---
Variety
22 Jan 35
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr to scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The County Chairman by George Ade (New York, 24 Nov 1903).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 January 1935
Production Date:
late October--late November 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 January 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5266
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78-79 or 85
Length(in feet):
7,100
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
486
SYNOPSIS

In a small town in Tomahawk County, Wyoming, in the early part of this century, schoolteacher Lucy Rigby, the daughter of the town's most powerful citizen, Judge Elias Rigby, is involved in a secret romance with Ben Harvey, the young law partner of her father's political rival, Jim Hackler. When the convention to nominate a candidate for public prosecutor to run against Rigby is deadlocked, Jim secures Ben's nomination by offering his popular dog Oscar to Tom Cruden if Cruden will back Ben. When Ben learns about his nomination, he is reluctant to run, but he agrees so that Jim, who has been like a father to him, will not be humiliated, and promises Lucy that he will not attack her father. Jim takes Ben campaigning and instructs him with his accumulated political acumen. Upon their return, Lucy becomes upset when she sees Ben with Lorna Cruden, with whom Jim has urged Ben to flirt. When Rigby publicly accuses Ben of cowardice, Ben stands by idly, out of deference to Lucy, but when Rigby insults Jim, Ben calls Rigby the biggest crook in the county and denigrates "a Rigby promise." Outraged, Lucy agrees to marry Henry Cleaver, the son of a newspaper publisher, if he helps her father beat Ben. Jim, who twenty years earlier lost Lucy's mother Mary to Rigby because of Rigby's lies, tries to reason with Lucy, but she pridefully stands by her "Rigby promise" to Henry. Learning that Jim plans to publish a story that will prove Rigby received $8,000 in an out-of-court settlement for his client's railroad accident and that he gave the client only $2,000, Mary, who wants ... +


In a small town in Tomahawk County, Wyoming, in the early part of this century, schoolteacher Lucy Rigby, the daughter of the town's most powerful citizen, Judge Elias Rigby, is involved in a secret romance with Ben Harvey, the young law partner of her father's political rival, Jim Hackler. When the convention to nominate a candidate for public prosecutor to run against Rigby is deadlocked, Jim secures Ben's nomination by offering his popular dog Oscar to Tom Cruden if Cruden will back Ben. When Ben learns about his nomination, he is reluctant to run, but he agrees so that Jim, who has been like a father to him, will not be humiliated, and promises Lucy that he will not attack her father. Jim takes Ben campaigning and instructs him with his accumulated political acumen. Upon their return, Lucy becomes upset when she sees Ben with Lorna Cruden, with whom Jim has urged Ben to flirt. When Rigby publicly accuses Ben of cowardice, Ben stands by idly, out of deference to Lucy, but when Rigby insults Jim, Ben calls Rigby the biggest crook in the county and denigrates "a Rigby promise." Outraged, Lucy agrees to marry Henry Cleaver, the son of a newspaper publisher, if he helps her father beat Ben. Jim, who twenty years earlier lost Lucy's mother Mary to Rigby because of Rigby's lies, tries to reason with Lucy, but she pridefully stands by her "Rigby promise" to Henry. Learning that Jim plans to publish a story that will prove Rigby received $8,000 in an out-of-court settlement for his client's railroad accident and that he gave the client only $2,000, Mary, who wants Lucy to wed Ben, pleads with Jim not to have the story printed. Jim tears the story up. On election day, Rigby seems to be the winner with returns in from all but two districts. Because of trouble with the wire, Sassafras, a black buggy driver, is sent to get the vote count from the agent at the depot. The figures he returns with confirm Rigby's victory. Ben concedes defeat, and when Jim, in publicly congratulating Rigby, states that Rigby now will turn over the entire $8,000 to his client, Rigby reluctantly agrees. Disheartened, but unwilling to break her promise, Lucy drives off with Henry in his smoky horseless carriage to the county seat to get married. When the railroad agent sees that Sassafras' figures are incorrect, Ben is declared the victor. A cavalcade of carriages, with Jim and Ben leading, rush to the county seat. In the midst of the marriage ceremony, Henry notices that his car is on fire, and while he tends to it, Ben tells Lucy about the mistake and they marry. +

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.