One Sunday Afternoon (1933)

85 mins | Comedy-drama | 1 September 1933

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HISTORY

According to the pressbook in the copyright descriptions, James Hagan's play came within one vote of tying the leader for the Pulitzer prize for Best American Play. It had been rejected for three years before it was staged on Broadway by Leo Bulgakov, formerly of the Moscow Art Theatre. According to modern sources, the play opened to mixed reviews, and during the bank holiday of 1933, it was withdrawn. However, it was revived afterward and became a big success. Paramount, according to modern sources, turned it down before it was produced, when the price was a few hundred dollars, but after it became a hit, they purchased the rights for $26,000. Modern sources also state that Fredric March, after reading the play, told Gary Cooper about it, and Cooper persuaded Paramount to buy it. Playwright Hagan was signed to the RKO scenario staff in Apr 1933, following the play's success, according to HR , but modern sources note that his contract expired before he worked on anything. This was stage actress Frances Fuller's first film role. According to the pressbook, the studio picked her, looking for a "Helen Hayes" type for the role, and then signed her to a five-year contract. However, it appears that she was in only one other film, Paramount's 1934 production Elmer and Elsie (see above). Modern sources note that Frank Tuttle and Frank Borzage were scheduled to direct at different times before shooting began. Modern sources also list Johnny St. Claire in the cast and give the following additional credits: Art dir W. B. Ihnen (along with Hans Dreier, who received screen credit); Cost ... More Less

According to the pressbook in the copyright descriptions, James Hagan's play came within one vote of tying the leader for the Pulitzer prize for Best American Play. It had been rejected for three years before it was staged on Broadway by Leo Bulgakov, formerly of the Moscow Art Theatre. According to modern sources, the play opened to mixed reviews, and during the bank holiday of 1933, it was withdrawn. However, it was revived afterward and became a big success. Paramount, according to modern sources, turned it down before it was produced, when the price was a few hundred dollars, but after it became a hit, they purchased the rights for $26,000. Modern sources also state that Fredric March, after reading the play, told Gary Cooper about it, and Cooper persuaded Paramount to buy it. Playwright Hagan was signed to the RKO scenario staff in Apr 1933, following the play's success, according to HR , but modern sources note that his contract expired before he worked on anything. This was stage actress Frances Fuller's first film role. According to the pressbook, the studio picked her, looking for a "Helen Hayes" type for the role, and then signed her to a five-year contract. However, it appears that she was in only one other film, Paramount's 1934 production Elmer and Elsie (see above). Modern sources note that Frank Tuttle and Frank Borzage were scheduled to direct at different times before shooting began. Modern sources also list Johnny St. Claire in the cast and give the following additional credits: Art dir W. B. Ihnen (along with Hans Dreier, who received screen credit); Cost Travis Benton. Warner Bros. made two later films based on the play, both of which were directed by Raoul Walsh: Strawberry Blonde , produced in 1941 and starring James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Jack Carson and Rita Hayworth; and One Sunday Afternoon , a musical produced in 1948, with Dennis Morgan, Janis Paige, Don DeFore and Dorothy Malone. Three television productions based on the play have been made: in 1949, Ford Television Theatre broadcast over CBS One Sunday Afternoon , directed by Marc Daniels and starring Burgess Meredith, Francesca Bruning, Hume Cronyn and Augusta Roeland; the 1957 Lux Video Theatre production, also entitled One Sunday Afternoon , directed by David McDearmon and starring Gordon McCrea, Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy and Sheila Stevens; and a 1959 David Susskind-Talent Associates production of the same name broadcast on NBC, directed by William Corrigan and starring David Wayne, Janet Blair, Eddie Bracken and Dolores Dorn-Heft. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
2 Sep 33
p. 3.
HF
27 May 33
p. 8.
HF
17 Jun 33
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 33
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 33
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Jul 33
p. 39.
Motion Picture Daily
2 Sep 33
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Jun 33
p. 59.
Motion Picture Herald
26 Aug 33
p. 78.
New York Times
2 Sep 33
p. 14.
Variety
5 Sep 33
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Transparency process
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SOUND
Rec eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Chief elec
Chief elec
Chief grip
Props
Still photog
STAND INS
Stand-in for Gary Cooper
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play One Sunday Afternoon by James Hagan (New York, 15 Feb 1933).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home," words and music by Hughie Cannon
"In the Good Old Summertime," words by Ren Shields, music by George Evans
"Good-bye, Little Girl, Good-bye," words by Will D. Cobb, music by Gus Edwards
+
SONGS
"Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home," words and music by Hughie Cannon
"In the Good Old Summertime," words by Ren Shields, music by George Evans
"Good-bye, Little Girl, Good-bye," words by Will D. Cobb, music by Gus Edwards
"Wait 'Til the Sun Shines, Nellie," words by Andrew B. Sterling, music by Harry Von Tilzer
"The Last Rose of Summer" and "Ach du Lieber Augustine," composer unknown.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 September 1933
Production Date:
late May--mid June 1933
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 September 1933
Copyright Number:
LP4087
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in feet):
8,971
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

One Sunday afternoon in the first decade of the twentieth century, small-town dentist Lucius "Biff" Grimes is seized with the thought of revenge when his former rival, Hugo Barnstead, arrives in town and comes to his office with an aching tooth. While his friend, Snappy Downer, stands by and Hugo lies unconscious from nitrous oxide, Biff reminisces about the night years ago when he and Virginia Brush met in Avery's Park: Although Virginia's shy friend, Amy Lind, has been infatuated with Biff since high school, he has always wanted to meet Virginia and gets his chance when she drops her handkerchief. Full of himself, Biff is unaware that Virginia is really interested in his friend Hugo, as the four cavort at the park. Sometime later, Biff slugs a fellow in a poolhall who teases him about Virginia, and his new straw hat, which he bought to impress Virginia, is stomped on in the subsequent brawl. At a picnic in Schneider's Park, Biff learns which basket that is about to be auctioned was prepared by Virginia, and he wins it in the bidding, which allows him the opportunity to eat with her. Although Virginia is upset to be with Biff, having arranged for Hugo to choose her basket, Biff is oblivious to her true feelings about him. Another fight breaks out in the park, and when it is over, Biff sees Virginia with Hugo. When Virginia elopes with Hugo, as Biff waits for her to keep a date in the park, a crowd of guys decide to go give Biff "the horse laugh." Amy gets to Biff first, and when the others ... +


One Sunday afternoon in the first decade of the twentieth century, small-town dentist Lucius "Biff" Grimes is seized with the thought of revenge when his former rival, Hugo Barnstead, arrives in town and comes to his office with an aching tooth. While his friend, Snappy Downer, stands by and Hugo lies unconscious from nitrous oxide, Biff reminisces about the night years ago when he and Virginia Brush met in Avery's Park: Although Virginia's shy friend, Amy Lind, has been infatuated with Biff since high school, he has always wanted to meet Virginia and gets his chance when she drops her handkerchief. Full of himself, Biff is unaware that Virginia is really interested in his friend Hugo, as the four cavort at the park. Sometime later, Biff slugs a fellow in a poolhall who teases him about Virginia, and his new straw hat, which he bought to impress Virginia, is stomped on in the subsequent brawl. At a picnic in Schneider's Park, Biff learns which basket that is about to be auctioned was prepared by Virginia, and he wins it in the bidding, which allows him the opportunity to eat with her. Although Virginia is upset to be with Biff, having arranged for Hugo to choose her basket, Biff is oblivious to her true feelings about him. Another fight breaks out in the park, and when it is over, Biff sees Virginia with Hugo. When Virginia elopes with Hugo, as Biff waits for her to keep a date in the park, a crowd of guys decide to go give Biff "the horse laugh." Amy gets to Biff first, and when the others arrive and taunt him, she says, to shut them up, that Biff is engaged to her. Biff and Amy walk off to a lake, where, although he is disheartened that Virginia married Hugo, he asks Amy to marry him. Two years later, Biff learns that Hugo has returned to town with Virginia, sent by his uncle to take charge of the carriage factory, where Biff works. Biff excitedly practices saying hello to Virginia and forgets that it is his and Amy's anniversary. Amy cries when she realizes that he has forgotten, and as Biff embraces her, Hugo and Virginia come in and invite them to an anniversary dinner in their hotel suite. Amy is upset because she has worked preparing her own dinner all day and is wearing a new dress, which no one has noticed. Hugo puts on airs and denigrates Biff's ambition to continue to study dentistry at night and instead offers him a "better" position at the factory as a company spy, reporting on the men who should be fired. Biff is insulted, and afterward tells Amy that she looks as nice as Virginia. Hugo soon fires Biff for incompetency, and when Biff returns home, he finds that Amy has invited her mother to live with them. Without relating that he has been fired, Biff returns to Hugo's office and vows to work harder in his old job. Hugo gives him the job back, but then says he wants the names of the men he should get rid of. Biff calls Hugo a "weasel" and as a guard struggles to put him out, the guard's gun goes off and he falls, having been shot in the leg. Hugo blames Biff and he is sentenced to two years in the state penitentiary. Biff vows to Snappy that he will revenge himself on Hugo when he gets out. Upon his release, Biff vows to make it up to Amy, who has remained devoted to him and worked hard during his term in prison. He suggests that they go someplace else to start over, and she says she will go anywhere with him. Back in the office, Biff turns down the oxygen on Hugo and increases the flow of nitrous oxide. Virginia then arrives with a painted face and an outlandish hat. Biff immediately knows from her crass manner that he married the right woman, and he quickly turns off the nitrous oxide and puts the oxygen on. Relieved that Hugo is alive, Biff pulls his tooth. Virginia's crude attempt to flirt is ridiculed by Biff and Snappy after she and Hugo leave, and the sound of their uproarious laughter brings Amy to the office, where she accuses the two of drinking. Biff then tells his wife that she's very sweet and beautiful, and that he loves her, and after she returns the sentiment, he carries her out, and they go for a long walk in the summertime air. +

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

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