Penthouse (1933)

88 or 90-91 mins | Mystery | 8 September 1933

Director:

W. S. Van Dyke

Cinematographers:

Harold Rosson, Lucien Andriot

Editor:

Robert J. Kern

Production Designer:

Alexander Toluboff

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

Arthur Somer Roche's novel also appeared as a serial in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan (publication date undetermined). The working title of the film was Penthouse Legend. According to an Aug 1933 HR news item, Ayn Rand worked on the film's screenplay. The exact nature of her contribution, if any, has not been determined. Although HR announced that Lucien Hubbard was to be the associate producer on the production, Hunt Stromberg is credited on the screen in that capacity. M-G-M borrowed Warner Baxter from Fox for the production. A mid-Jul 1933 FD news item announced Madge Evans as a co-star, but she did not appear in the film. In 1939, M-G-M remade Roche's story as Society Lawyer (See Entry). ...

More Less

Arthur Somer Roche's novel also appeared as a serial in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan (publication date undetermined). The working title of the film was Penthouse Legend. According to an Aug 1933 HR news item, Ayn Rand worked on the film's screenplay. The exact nature of her contribution, if any, has not been determined. Although HR announced that Lucien Hubbard was to be the associate producer on the production, Hunt Stromberg is credited on the screen in that capacity. M-G-M borrowed Warner Baxter from Fox for the production. A mid-Jul 1933 FD news item announced Madge Evans as a co-star, but she did not appear in the film. In 1939, M-G-M remade Roche's story as Society Lawyer (See Entry).

Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
13 Jul 1933
p. 28
Film Daily
11 Aug 1933
p. 2
Film Daily
9 Sep 1933
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 1933
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 1933
p. 2
Motion Picture Daily
9 Sep 1933
p. 2
Motion Picture Herald
9 Sep 1933
p. 34
New York Times
9 Sep 1933
p. 9
Variety
12 Sep 1933
p. 17
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Cosmopolitan Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Penthouse by Arthur Somers Roche (New York, 1935).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Penthouse Legend
Release Date:
8 September 1933
Production Date:
completed early Aug 1933
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
5 September 1933
LP4107
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
88 or 90-91
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

As a result of Jackson Durant's brilliant defense, Tony Gazotti, a notorious racketeer on trial for murder, is acquitted and saved from the electric chair. Although Tony is deeply grateful for Jackson's help, Jackson's law partners are less than thrilled with his choice of clients and drop him from their firm. Jackson's fiancée, socialite Sue Leonard, also loathes his disreputable clients and breaks their engagement. Then, while a dejected Jackson drinks himself into a stupor, Sue accepts the proposal of Tom Siddall, a longtime admirer. As a condition of the engagement, Tom agrees to end his relationship Mimi Montagne, a former moll. When Tom tells the impetuous Mimi that their romance is over, she explodes with anger and threats. Mimi then contacts racketeer Jim Crelliman, her previous lover, and announces her breakup with Tom. Crelliman expresses interest in a reunion and invites Mimi to a party at his apartment. There Crelliman informs Mimi that he has asked Tom to the party so that she can tell him face-to-face that she is through with him. When Tom arrives at Crelliman's, Mimi takes him out on the balcony, and a short time later, a gunshot is heard. Mimi is found dead on the balcony, and Tom, who is holding the gun, is arrested for her murder. The next morning, Sue comes to Jackson and, convinced of Tom's innocence, begs him to take the case. Although at first outraged, Jackson agrees to take on Tom's defense after he receives an anonymous telephone call warning him to stay off the case. To help in his investigation, Jackson asks Tony for inside information regarding ...

More Less

As a result of Jackson Durant's brilliant defense, Tony Gazotti, a notorious racketeer on trial for murder, is acquitted and saved from the electric chair. Although Tony is deeply grateful for Jackson's help, Jackson's law partners are less than thrilled with his choice of clients and drop him from their firm. Jackson's fiancée, socialite Sue Leonard, also loathes his disreputable clients and breaks their engagement. Then, while a dejected Jackson drinks himself into a stupor, Sue accepts the proposal of Tom Siddall, a longtime admirer. As a condition of the engagement, Tom agrees to end his relationship Mimi Montagne, a former moll. When Tom tells the impetuous Mimi that their romance is over, she explodes with anger and threats. Mimi then contacts racketeer Jim Crelliman, her previous lover, and announces her breakup with Tom. Crelliman expresses interest in a reunion and invites Mimi to a party at his apartment. There Crelliman informs Mimi that he has asked Tom to the party so that she can tell him face-to-face that she is through with him. When Tom arrives at Crelliman's, Mimi takes him out on the balcony, and a short time later, a gunshot is heard. Mimi is found dead on the balcony, and Tom, who is holding the gun, is arrested for her murder. The next morning, Sue comes to Jackson and, convinced of Tom's innocence, begs him to take the case. Although at first outraged, Jackson agrees to take on Tom's defense after he receives an anonymous telephone call warning him to stay off the case. To help in his investigation, Jackson asks Tony for inside information regarding Crelliman, his racketeering rival. In turn, Tony introduces Jackson to Gertie Waxted, Mimi's beautiful roommate, who agrees to stay with Jackson until he has exhausted her memory regarding Crelliman's activities. After a night of fruitless questioning, Jackson receives a ballistics report from a friend at police headquarters and concludes that the fatal shot was fired from above. Gertie then reveals that her penthouse overlooks Crelliman's balcony, and that Crelliman owns the apartment building. Armed with this information, Jackson telephones Tony and is given a set of master keys with which to break into Crelliman's building. While he is snooping in Gertie's apartment, Crelliman shows up and offers him a bribe to drop the case. When Jackson refuses the offer, Crelliman orders his men to ambush the lawyer in the building. Aided by a sympathetic elevator operator, Jackson escapes the building, after determining the apartment in which Mimi's killer was living. Later, Tony tells Jackson that the apartment belongs to Murtoch, Crelliman's "finger man," and Jackson heads for Murtoch's favorite speakeasy. When he arrives, he is stunned to see Murtoch drinking with Gertie and, unaware that Tony tipped off Gertie about Murtoch, assumes that she is betraying him. Jackson angrily confronts Gertie with his suspicions and learns that she was trying to stall Murtoch in order to protect him. Chagrined, Jackson apologizes to Gertie, confesses his love and proposes. Before Gertie can accept, however, Jackson hears from Tony that Crelliman is about to kill Murtoch. Seized with an idea, Jackson asks Gertie to go to Crelliman's apartment and somehow maneuver him onto his balcony, while he and the police confront Murtoch. Through intimidation, Jackson and the police frighten Murtoch to the point of confession, but Crelliman, who is wise to Gertie's manipulations, orders her execution. Before Crelliman can act on his threats, however, Tony bursts in and, after killing all of his rival's men, kills Crelliman as well. Fatally shot in the foray, Tony dies in Jackson's arms. While a freed Tom reunites with Sue, Jackson proposes again to Gertie and arranges for a long honeymoon in Europe.

Less

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

TOP SEARCHES

Night Moves

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Matt Stepanski, a student at ... >>

Stagecoach

The American folk songs adapted for the score included the traditional ballads "Lily Dale," "Rosa Lee," "Joe Bowers," "Joe the Wrangler," "She's More to Be Pitied Than Censured," "She ... >>

The Hurricane

Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall's novel was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post (28 Dec 1935--1 Feb 1936). A 5 Dec 1935 HR ... >>

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.