Two Seconds (1932)

68 or 70 mins | Drama | 28 May 1932

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writer:

Harvey Thew

Cinematographer:

Sol Polito

Editor:

Terry Morse

Production Designer:

Anton Grot

Production Company:

First National Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to a contemporary article, Preston Foster was the only cast member from the stage production to appear in the film. FD noted that Guy Kibbee replaced John Wray in the ... More Less

According to a contemporary article, Preston Foster was the only cast member from the stage production to appear in the film. FD noted that Guy Kibbee replaced John Wray in the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
6 Mar 32
p. 4.
Film Daily
9 May 32
p. 6.
Film Daily
22 May 32
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
28 May 32
p. 88.
New York Times
May 32
p. 25.
Photoplay
Jun 32
p. 129.
Variety
May 32
p. 37.
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 May 1932
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 18 May 1932
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 May 1932
Copyright Number:
LP3017
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68 or 70
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At the execution of John Allen, a convicted murderer, the warden speculates that during the two seconds after he is electrocuted, Allen will review his life: John is a riveter at a construction site during Prohibition, and lives with his best friend and co-worker Bud Clark. Bud is engaged to be married and tries to fix John up with a date. Uninterested, John goes to a dance hall, where he meets taxi dancer Shirley Day. He defends Shirley against an amorous patron, and her boss and lover, Tony, fires her as a result of his interference. Since John wants to be with an educated woman, Shirley feigns interest in attending a lecture with him, but instead persuades him to go to a nightclub and gets him drunk on "tea." Shirley then bribes a justice of the peace to marry them, and after returning to John's apartment, kicks Bud out. Three weeks later John and Bud discuss Shirley at work, and Bud tells John about all the lies Shirley has told him, suggesting that Shirley still spends her afternoons with Tony at the dance hall. John furiously lunges at Bud, who falls twenty stories to his death. Overcome by grief, John quits his job; however, living on Shirley's ill-gotten dance hall money demoralizes him. When Shirley tells him that she is helping Annie, Bud's innocent fiancée, to get a job at the dance hall, John becomes enraged. With money he wins at the racetracks, John pays Tony what he thinks he owes him, then shoots Shirley. At his trial, John refuses all defense, claiming that he should have been "burned" before, when he ... +


At the execution of John Allen, a convicted murderer, the warden speculates that during the two seconds after he is electrocuted, Allen will review his life: John is a riveter at a construction site during Prohibition, and lives with his best friend and co-worker Bud Clark. Bud is engaged to be married and tries to fix John up with a date. Uninterested, John goes to a dance hall, where he meets taxi dancer Shirley Day. He defends Shirley against an amorous patron, and her boss and lover, Tony, fires her as a result of his interference. Since John wants to be with an educated woman, Shirley feigns interest in attending a lecture with him, but instead persuades him to go to a nightclub and gets him drunk on "tea." Shirley then bribes a justice of the peace to marry them, and after returning to John's apartment, kicks Bud out. Three weeks later John and Bud discuss Shirley at work, and Bud tells John about all the lies Shirley has told him, suggesting that Shirley still spends her afternoons with Tony at the dance hall. John furiously lunges at Bud, who falls twenty stories to his death. Overcome by grief, John quits his job; however, living on Shirley's ill-gotten dance hall money demoralizes him. When Shirley tells him that she is helping Annie, Bud's innocent fiancée, to get a job at the dance hall, John becomes enraged. With money he wins at the racetracks, John pays Tony what he thinks he owes him, then shoots Shirley. At his trial, John refuses all defense, claiming that he should have been "burned" before, when he was at his lowest, not when he found personal justice. Finally, at the scene of the execution, the lever is pulled. +

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.