Downstairs (1932)

77 mins | Drama | 6 August 1932

Director:

Monta Bell

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

A news item in HR on 13 Jun 1932 noted that M-G-M scenario editor Sam Marx had written lyrics for a melody composed by Edmund Goulding for the picture; however, neither is credited in any other contemporary source, and there is no song in the film. Many ads and reviews for the picture proclaimed, "starring Mr. and Mrs. John Gilbert," in an attempt to capitalize on the marriage of Gilbert to Virginia Bruce shortly after the release of this film. According to NYT review, Gilbert sold his original story for the picture to M-G-M for one dollar. ...

More Less

A news item in HR on 13 Jun 1932 noted that M-G-M scenario editor Sam Marx had written lyrics for a melody composed by Edmund Goulding for the picture; however, neither is credited in any other contemporary source, and there is no song in the film. Many ads and reviews for the picture proclaimed, "starring Mr. and Mrs. John Gilbert," in an attempt to capitalize on the marriage of Gilbert to Virginia Bruce shortly after the release of this film. According to NYT review, Gilbert sold his original story for the picture to M-G-M for one dollar.

Less

PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
CREDIT
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
Music note credit:
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
10 Oct 1932
p. 3
HF
4 Jun 1932
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 1932
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1932
p. 2
Motion Picture Herald
6 Aug 1932
p. 36
New York Times
8 Oct 1932
p. 15
Variety
11 Oct 1932
p. 20
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 August 1932
Production Date:
began early Jun 1932
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
15 August 1932
LP3198
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

On the Austrian estate of Baron von Burgen, butler Albert and maid Anna are given a wedding by their employers, who appreciate their years of loyal service. During the reception, Karl Schneider, the new chauffeur, arrives, disturbing the Countess De Marnac, a guest and his former employer, with whom he once had an affair. That night, as Albert and Anna are about to start their honeymoon, Albert is summoned by the baron to serve his guests when Françoise, another butler, gets too drunk to work. While Albert is serving, Anna is visited by Karl, who wins her sympathy by telling her about a sad childhood. One day, the baroness requests Karl to drive her to Vienna and they become lovers. When they return late, she says that they had an accident, and though Karl tells Albert the truth, Albert insists that Karl maintain respect for the "upstairs" people no matter what they do. They soon become friends and Karl impresses Anna, whom he says he regards "like a sister," but who slaps him when he tries to kiss her. Later, Karl insults the cook Sophie, with whom he had been intimate the night before, then tells her fabricated stories about being the illegitimate son of royality to extort money from her. Sometime later, he offers Anna a jewel of the baroness' that he found and did not return, but she refuses, then chides him for his treatment of Sophie. He pins the jewel on her crucifix necklace anyway, and when the baroness recognizes the clip, she accuses Anna of stealing. Just then, Karl comes in, and says that he ...

More Less

On the Austrian estate of Baron von Burgen, butler Albert and maid Anna are given a wedding by their employers, who appreciate their years of loyal service. During the reception, Karl Schneider, the new chauffeur, arrives, disturbing the Countess De Marnac, a guest and his former employer, with whom he once had an affair. That night, as Albert and Anna are about to start their honeymoon, Albert is summoned by the baron to serve his guests when Françoise, another butler, gets too drunk to work. While Albert is serving, Anna is visited by Karl, who wins her sympathy by telling her about a sad childhood. One day, the baroness requests Karl to drive her to Vienna and they become lovers. When they return late, she says that they had an accident, and though Karl tells Albert the truth, Albert insists that Karl maintain respect for the "upstairs" people no matter what they do. They soon become friends and Karl impresses Anna, whom he says he regards "like a sister," but who slaps him when he tries to kiss her. Later, Karl insults the cook Sophie, with whom he had been intimate the night before, then tells her fabricated stories about being the illegitimate son of royality to extort money from her. Sometime later, he offers Anna a jewel of the baroness' that he found and did not return, but she refuses, then chides him for his treatment of Sophie. He pins the jewel on her crucifix necklace anyway, and when the baroness recognizes the clip, she accuses Anna of stealing. Just then, Karl comes in, and says that he gave the clip to Anna and alludes to the baroness' indiscretions. The baroness apologizes to Anna, who thinks that Karl is wonderful for standing up for her. In retaliation, the baroness, knowing that Albert can hear her in the next room, tells the baron that Karl gave Anna jewelry and that they are involved in a scandal. She then tells Albert to make some changes on the staff while they are away on a fishing trip, and use his discretion. At the last moment, the baron insists on taking Albert with him and Albert warns Karl to stay away from Anna. Telling her that Albert asked him to take her out to dinner and have a good time, Karl then takes Anna to an inn and gets her drunk. Meanwhile, the fishing party turns back because the baron has slightly injured himself. At home, Karl tells Anna he loves her and plans to leave, but after he kisses her goodbye, they become lovers. The next morning, when Albert comes home, he fires Karl, even though he doesn't know for certain what has happened. Anna confesses to Albert when he coldly calls her "a servant," then leaves. Karl, meanwhile, goes to the baroness and blackmails her into reinstating him, which she does, in front of all the servants. When Albert goes to the baroness to resign, she tearfully admits her affair and begs him to stay, and also to forgive and understand Anna, who is too young not to be taken in by Karl. That night Sophie tearfully goes to Karl and gives him all her savings so that they can buy a coffee shop together in Vienna. The next morning, he packs to leave and asks Anna to go with him, but she begs him to leave her alone because she loves Albert. In a struggle in the wine cellar, they knock over a rack of bottles, creating a disturbance that brings Albert. He then fights with Karl, but is stopped by the baron, who thinks that it is over the spoiled wine. Albert apologizes to Karl and they have a drink together in the celler, but when Albert orders Karl out, they begin to fight. Anna, seeing the violence of their fight, again summons the baron, in front of whom she makes Karl give Sophie's money back. The baron then congratulates Albert, and he and Anna make up. Some time later, Karl introduces himself to another rich woman as "madame's new chauffeur."

Less

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

TOP SEARCHES

The Black Cauldron

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, The Black Cauldron took twelve years to complete, and began in 1971 when Walt Disney Pictures, Inc., bought the ... >>

The Great Mouse Detective

According to a 20 Jun 1986 Back Stage article, animator Eric Larson, the last of Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men” from his original stable of artists, served ... >>

Mother's Cry

An item in the 26 March 1930 Variety announced that Helen Grace Carlisle, author of the 1930 novel Mother’s Cry, had entered into a writing ... >>

The Fox and the Hound

Production notes in AMPAS library files state that production began in the spring of 1977. Articles in the 4 Jan 1978 HR and 26 Feb ... >>

Bravestarr: The Legend

       Referring to the picture by its working title, Bravestarr, the 9 Jun 1986 DV announced that Filmation, a division of Group W Productions, was ... >>

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.