Transatlantic (1931)

73-74 mins | Drama | 30 August 1931

Director:

William K. Howard

Writer:

Guy Bolton

Cinematographer:

James Wong Howe

Production Designer:

Gordon Wiles

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

Working titles for this film were Leviathan, Europa, and Majestic. According to an unidentified source in the AFI Mayer Library M-G-M clipping file, this film was based on Guy Bolton's unpublished and uncopyrighted story "Leviathan." According to information preserved in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Universal claimed that Fox plagiarized their story "Leviathan." Bolton responded to the claim in Dec 1931, stating that Fox production official Sol Wurtzel had given him the idea for the story, and that he used various incidents from two of his own plays, Red and Black and The Tree of Aphrodite, both copyrighted three or four years earlier, as inspiration for the story. The Twentieth Century-Fox legal files also indicate that an early draft of the screenplay was titled Majestic. The screenplay draft suggested Virginia Valli or Eileen Pringle "types" to play "Kay Graham," and Warner Baxter, Ronald Colman or Edmund Lowe "types" to play "Max Gulliver" (an earlier name used for character "Monty Greer"). John Halliday and Jean Hersholt were loaned from M-G-M. Though Fox billing instructions list actors John Swor (Trowbridge) and Robert Burns (Gambler) in the cast, their names were later crossed off the sheet, and their appearance in the film is doubtful. The billing instructions also indicate that Leila Hyams was considered for a starring role. Although the Twentieth Century-Fox legal files note that actor George E. Stone was signed to the picture, he did not appear in the released film.
       The Var review referred to the film as ...

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Working titles for this film were Leviathan, Europa, and Majestic. According to an unidentified source in the AFI Mayer Library M-G-M clipping file, this film was based on Guy Bolton's unpublished and uncopyrighted story "Leviathan." According to information preserved in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Universal claimed that Fox plagiarized their story "Leviathan." Bolton responded to the claim in Dec 1931, stating that Fox production official Sol Wurtzel had given him the idea for the story, and that he used various incidents from two of his own plays, Red and Black and The Tree of Aphrodite, both copyrighted three or four years earlier, as inspiration for the story. The Twentieth Century-Fox legal files also indicate that an early draft of the screenplay was titled Majestic. The screenplay draft suggested Virginia Valli or Eileen Pringle "types" to play "Kay Graham," and Warner Baxter, Ronald Colman or Edmund Lowe "types" to play "Max Gulliver" (an earlier name used for character "Monty Greer"). John Halliday and Jean Hersholt were loaned from M-G-M. Though Fox billing instructions list actors John Swor (Trowbridge) and Robert Burns (Gambler) in the cast, their names were later crossed off the sheet, and their appearance in the film is doubtful. The billing instructions also indicate that Leila Hyams was considered for a starring role. Although the Twentieth Century-Fox legal files note that actor George E. Stone was signed to the picture, he did not appear in the released film.
       The Var review referred to the film as "an aquatic Grand Hotel," and noted that Seymour Felix was originally slated to direct. According to modern sources, photographer James Wong Howe and art director Gordon Wiles quarreled often during production of the film, arguing over such things as the size of the sets and lighting techniques. Wiles received an Academy Award for his work on the film.

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PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
Personal note credit:
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
26 Jul 1931
p. 10
HF
25 Apr 1931
p. 24
HF
23 May 1931
p. 24
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1931
p. 26
Motion Picture Herald
18 Jul 1931
p. 40
New York Times
31 Jul 1931
p. 15
Variety
4 Aug 1931
p. 18
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Europa
Leviathan
Majestic
Release Date:
30 August 1931
Production Date:
14 Apr--late May 1931
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Fox Film Corp.
10 July 1931
LP2362
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73-74
Length(in feet):
6,627
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

As the luxury liner the S. S. Transatlantic is about to set sail, lens grinder Rudolph Kramer, a passenger aboard the ship, tells his daughter Judy how pleased he is to be able to take her on a trip for which he has been saving for all his life. Also traveling on the Transatlantic is the suave Monty Greer, a "baggage smasher" who specializes in absconding with bags belonging to wealthy passengers. Monty's rival, crime leader Handsome, is also on board, as are banker Henry Graham and his wife Kay, his intended victims. The Grahams soon become embroiled in a quarrel when Kay accuses Henry of keeping the young Sigrid Carlene as his mistress. Later, when Monty enters Henry's cabin on the pretext of searching for his misplaced bags, he is discovered by Henry. Monty apologizes for the intrusion and then scouts Kay's room next door. Soon after meeting Judy, Monty and she become fast friends, and Judy tells him that all of her father's assets lie in the Graham Investment Corporation of New York. Once at sea, the Transatlantic receives a wired message that the Graham Investment Corp. has failed for the lack of twenty million dollars. Though Henry is saved from the bankruptcy because he is carrying personal securities, Rudolph is financially ruined by the failure. Rudolph becomes despondent, and when he pleads with Henry for financial help, Henry coldly refuses and has him removed from his room. While Handsome prepares to make his move on Henry's securities, Judy tells Monty that she is concerned about the threats her father has made against ...

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As the luxury liner the S. S. Transatlantic is about to set sail, lens grinder Rudolph Kramer, a passenger aboard the ship, tells his daughter Judy how pleased he is to be able to take her on a trip for which he has been saving for all his life. Also traveling on the Transatlantic is the suave Monty Greer, a "baggage smasher" who specializes in absconding with bags belonging to wealthy passengers. Monty's rival, crime leader Handsome, is also on board, as are banker Henry Graham and his wife Kay, his intended victims. The Grahams soon become embroiled in a quarrel when Kay accuses Henry of keeping the young Sigrid Carlene as his mistress. Later, when Monty enters Henry's cabin on the pretext of searching for his misplaced bags, he is discovered by Henry. Monty apologizes for the intrusion and then scouts Kay's room next door. Soon after meeting Judy, Monty and she become fast friends, and Judy tells him that all of her father's assets lie in the Graham Investment Corporation of New York. Once at sea, the Transatlantic receives a wired message that the Graham Investment Corp. has failed for the lack of twenty million dollars. Though Henry is saved from the bankruptcy because he is carrying personal securities, Rudolph is financially ruined by the failure. Rudolph becomes despondent, and when he pleads with Henry for financial help, Henry coldly refuses and has him removed from his room. While Handsome prepares to make his move on Henry's securities, Judy tells Monty that she is concerned about the threats her father has made against Henry. Shorty thereafter, Monty hears a shot ring out in Henry's room. Upon entering the room, Monty sees Rudolph holding a gun. To protect Rudolph, Monty orders him and Judy out of the room and then wipes Rudolph's fingerprints from the gun. During a shipboard investigation into the murder, the robbery plot is discovered and Rudolph and Monty are confined to the brig by the captain. There, Rudolph confesses his intention to shoot Henry, but insists that the shot that killed Henry came from another gun. Convinced that Handsome fired the gun, Monty goes after him, and the two face off in a boiler room shootout. After Handsome is shot, he confesses to shooting Henry and robbing his cabin. All ends happily when Kay agrees to give the Kramers financial assistance and Monty kisses Judy.

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

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