Three Sons (1939)

72 mins | Drama | 13 October 1939

Director:

Jack Hively

Writer:

John Twist

Producer:

Robert Sisk

Cinematographer:

Russell Metty

Editor:

Theron Warth

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The onscreen credits note that actors Virginia Vale and Robert Stanton won their roles through Jesse Lasky's "Gateway to Hollywood" talent search. Three Sons was the first film in which Stanton was billed under that name. He previously appeared in the 1938 film Red River Range under his real name, Kirby Grant. After appearing in at least two additional films under the name "Robert Stanton," the actor changed his name back to Kirby Grant. He later became a popular television star in the 1950s series Sky King . According to a news item in HR , Tim Holt was originally slated to appear in this film. This picture was a remake of the 1933 RKO film Sweepings (see above), in which William Gargan played one of the sons. Although the two films are similar, the earlier version ends with the death of the father, who is despondent over the failures of his children, and threatens to leave the store to his faithful aide if the family does not prove itself worthy within six ... More Less

The onscreen credits note that actors Virginia Vale and Robert Stanton won their roles through Jesse Lasky's "Gateway to Hollywood" talent search. Three Sons was the first film in which Stanton was billed under that name. He previously appeared in the 1938 film Red River Range under his real name, Kirby Grant. After appearing in at least two additional films under the name "Robert Stanton," the actor changed his name back to Kirby Grant. He later became a popular television star in the 1950s series Sky King . According to a news item in HR , Tim Holt was originally slated to appear in this film. This picture was a remake of the 1933 RKO film Sweepings (see above), in which William Gargan played one of the sons. Although the two films are similar, the earlier version ends with the death of the father, who is despondent over the failures of his children, and threatens to leave the store to his faithful aide if the family does not prove itself worthy within six months. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Sep 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Oct 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 39
pp. 4-5.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
29 Sep 39
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
9 Sep 39
p. 59.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Sep 39
p. 39.
New York Times
24 Nov 39
p. 29.
Variety
4 Oct 39
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod exec
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Sweepings by Lester Cohen (New York, 1926).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 October 1939
Production Date:
mid July--mid August 1939
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
13 October 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9195
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5561
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After the great Chicago fire, Daniel Pardway moves to the windy city to be near his brother Thane and build a department store dynasty. Daniel selects a site where all the car lines will converge and sets about building his empire with the help of his faithful employee, Abe Ullman. Four children are born to Daniel and his wife Abigail, and with the advent of each child, a new department is opened in the store. Abigail dies before Daniel can realize his dream of building a family empire, and as the children grow to adulthood, they disappoint their father by pursuing their own dreams rather than joining the family business. Daughter Phoebe marries a phony prince, while her married brother Gene gets mixed up with Viola, a dance hall singer who inadvertently causes Thane's death. Yet another son, Bert, leaves the store to conduct music, while Daniel's final hope is shattered when his youngest son Freddie gets in trouble with Mamie, a greedy store employee, and leaves home. Despite his disappointment, Daniel divides eighty percent of the store stock among his children, only to have all but Freddie sell the stock to pursue their own ambitions. Abe, now general manager of the store, buys back all the stock from the bank, thus saving the Pardway empire, and Daniel finally sees his dream realized when Freddie returns to the store as an employee, thus ensuring the continuation of the Pardway ... +


After the great Chicago fire, Daniel Pardway moves to the windy city to be near his brother Thane and build a department store dynasty. Daniel selects a site where all the car lines will converge and sets about building his empire with the help of his faithful employee, Abe Ullman. Four children are born to Daniel and his wife Abigail, and with the advent of each child, a new department is opened in the store. Abigail dies before Daniel can realize his dream of building a family empire, and as the children grow to adulthood, they disappoint their father by pursuing their own dreams rather than joining the family business. Daughter Phoebe marries a phony prince, while her married brother Gene gets mixed up with Viola, a dance hall singer who inadvertently causes Thane's death. Yet another son, Bert, leaves the store to conduct music, while Daniel's final hope is shattered when his youngest son Freddie gets in trouble with Mamie, a greedy store employee, and leaves home. Despite his disappointment, Daniel divides eighty percent of the store stock among his children, only to have all but Freddie sell the stock to pursue their own ambitions. Abe, now general manager of the store, buys back all the stock from the bank, thus saving the Pardway empire, and Daniel finally sees his dream realized when Freddie returns to the store as an employee, thus ensuring the continuation of the Pardway legacy. +

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.