The Way of All Flesh (1940)

86 mins | Melodrama | 5 July 1940

Full page view
HISTORY

A silent version of this story was made by Paramount in 1927 starring Emil Jannings and Belle Bennett and directed by Victor Fleming (see above). Jules Furthman wrote the screenplay for the 1927 film, and Lajos Biro wrote the adaptation. That film credits the story "The Way of All Flesh" by Perley P. Sheehan as its literary source. The 1940 version does not credit the Sheehan story as a literary source, but instead credits Furthman and Biro with ... More Less

A silent version of this story was made by Paramount in 1927 starring Emil Jannings and Belle Bennett and directed by Victor Fleming (see above). Jules Furthman wrote the screenplay for the 1927 film, and Lajos Biro wrote the adaptation. That film credits the story "The Way of All Flesh" by Perley P. Sheehan as its literary source. The 1940 version does not credit the Sheehan story as a literary source, but instead credits Furthman and Biro with story. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 May 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
11 Jun 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
28 May 40
p. 9.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Jan 40
p. 48.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Jun 40
p. 41.
New York Times
6 Jun 40
p. 33.
Variety
29 May 40
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
MUSIC
Mus score
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Way of All Flesh" by Perley P. Sheehan (publication undetermined).
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 July 1940
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 6 June 1940
Production Date:
began mid November 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
5 July 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9760
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
86
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5978
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1925, in Linzua, Pennsylvania, Hungarian immigrant Paul Kriza makes an honest living as a bank cashier, content to support his devoted wife Anna and four children on a meager salary. Paul's boss, Franz Henzel, sends him to New York to deliver $100,000 cash to client Sandor Nemzetti. Varno, a spy in Henzel's bank, has notified crook Reginald L. Morten of Paul's arrival at the Hotel Empress. When Nemzetti is delayed, Morten's moll, Mary Brown, poses as a journalist and seduces Paul into drinking until he passes out. Upon awakening the next morning, Paul realizes that he has been robbed and accuses Mary, but she pretends not to know him. Morten's men then knock him out and put him on the railroad tracks. While one of them picks his pockets, Paul wakes and defends himself, and the thug is killed by an oncoming train. The police find Paul's inscribed watch on the tracks and assume that the mutilated corpse is Paul, and the papers report that a cashier died a hero's death while defending his trust. Although Paul recognizes his picture in the paper, no one believes that he is Paul Kriza because Mary had him shave off his beard, and his badly beaten body makes him look like a hobo. Suffering from psychological devastation and partial amnesia, Paul wanders the streets of New York for years, unsure of who he is. Meanwhile, his son Paul, Jr. grows up and becomes a world-class violinist. When Paul, Jr. makes his New York debut, his father is in the audience and cries when he plays his father's favorite piece for ... +


In 1925, in Linzua, Pennsylvania, Hungarian immigrant Paul Kriza makes an honest living as a bank cashier, content to support his devoted wife Anna and four children on a meager salary. Paul's boss, Franz Henzel, sends him to New York to deliver $100,000 cash to client Sandor Nemzetti. Varno, a spy in Henzel's bank, has notified crook Reginald L. Morten of Paul's arrival at the Hotel Empress. When Nemzetti is delayed, Morten's moll, Mary Brown, poses as a journalist and seduces Paul into drinking until he passes out. Upon awakening the next morning, Paul realizes that he has been robbed and accuses Mary, but she pretends not to know him. Morten's men then knock him out and put him on the railroad tracks. While one of them picks his pockets, Paul wakes and defends himself, and the thug is killed by an oncoming train. The police find Paul's inscribed watch on the tracks and assume that the mutilated corpse is Paul, and the papers report that a cashier died a hero's death while defending his trust. Although Paul recognizes his picture in the paper, no one believes that he is Paul Kriza because Mary had him shave off his beard, and his badly beaten body makes him look like a hobo. Suffering from psychological devastation and partial amnesia, Paul wanders the streets of New York for years, unsure of who he is. Meanwhile, his son Paul, Jr. grows up and becomes a world-class violinist. When Paul, Jr. makes his New York debut, his father is in the audience and cries when he plays his father's favorite piece for his encore. Paul, Jr. returns home to Linzau for Christmas and his father follows. He watches as his family visits his grave, then follows them home and peers in the window as they sing Christmas carols. When a policeman tries to arrest him, Paul, Jr. and Anna invite the stranger inside, but he declines and walks away into the snowy night. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.