The Devil Is a Sissy (1936)

92 mins | Drama | 18 September 1936

Director:

W. S. Van Dyke

Producer:

Frank Davis

Cinematographers:

George Schneiderman, Harold Rosson

Editor:

Tom Held

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

In the onscreen credits, photographer George Schneiderman's surname was incorrectly spelled "Schneidermann." Although the Var review listed a running time of 131 minuntes for the film, that undoubtedly was a typographical error as all other sources listed it at 92 minutes and the picture was copyrighted at nine reels. According to a 31 Oct 1935 news item in HR, Rowland Brown and Frank Fenton were developing an original story for M-G-M entitled "The Devil Is a Sissie." When the picture began production in late Jun 1936, Brown was the sole director. According to news items in HR and DV, W. S. Van Dyke was initially brought in to assist Brown, then, a few days later, was given the assignment to complete the picture alone, the fourth time another director was called in to finish one of Brown's films. According to a 4 Aug 1936 news item in DV, all of Brown's work, with the exception of one or two scenes, was discarded and reshot by Van Dyke. Van Dyke received sole credit for direction in the onscreen credits and in all reviews. ...

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In the onscreen credits, photographer George Schneiderman's surname was incorrectly spelled "Schneidermann." Although the Var review listed a running time of 131 minuntes for the film, that undoubtedly was a typographical error as all other sources listed it at 92 minutes and the picture was copyrighted at nine reels. According to a 31 Oct 1935 news item in HR, Rowland Brown and Frank Fenton were developing an original story for M-G-M entitled "The Devil Is a Sissie." When the picture began production in late Jun 1936, Brown was the sole director. According to news items in HR and DV, W. S. Van Dyke was initially brought in to assist Brown, then, a few days later, was given the assignment to complete the picture alone, the fourth time another director was called in to finish one of Brown's films. According to a 4 Aug 1936 news item in DV, all of Brown's work, with the exception of one or two scenes, was discarded and reshot by Van Dyke. Van Dyke received sole credit for direction in the onscreen credits and in all reviews.

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PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12-Sep-36
---
Daily Variety
28 Jul 1936
p. 5
Daily Variety
4 Aug 1936
p. 5
Daily Variety
5 Sep 1936
p. 3
Film Daily
9 Sep 1936
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 1935
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1936
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 1936
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 1936
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1936
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
8 Sep 1936
p. 4
Motion Picture Herald
5 Sep 1936
p. 45
New York Times
17 Oct 1936
p. 21
Variety
21 Oct 1936
p. 15
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A W. S. Van Dyke production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"Say Ah!" music and lyrics by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 September 1936
Production Date:
20 Jun--10 Aug 1936
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
19 September 1936
LP6607
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
92
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2529
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Claude Pierce is delighted to be reunited in New York with his struggling architect father Jay when his mother Hilda leaves him for the sixth month's custody given Jay in their divorce. At his first day in a New York City public school, the aristocratic, English bred Claude becomes the butt of some childish practical jokes because of his polished manners, especially from "Gig" Stevens, whose father is going to the electric chair that night for murder, and Gig's pal, "Buck" Murphy. A few days later, when Buck accidentally throws Claude's football through a window, Claude takles the blame, but Mr. Crusenberry, the principal, punishes Gig and Buck for lying and the boys turn their anger towards Claude. To defend himself, Claude takes boxing lessons, and in a street fight with Buck, betters him, and wins his grudging respect. Gig goes to his aunt, Rose Hawley, a "kept" woman, to ask for money for a tombstone for his father, but because he doesn't want to tell her what the money is for, she is hesitant to give it to him. Buck and Gig try to steal to raise the money, but when they are unsuccessful, Claude suggests "stealing from the rich" like the fictional jewel thief Raffles and leads the boys to a vacant house to steal toys which Buck and Gig don't know actually belong to Claude. After they pawn the things, a policeman becomes suspicious and the boys are summoned to court. Though no theft has been reported, Claude reveals the truth. The judge puts Buck and Gig on probation, but not Claude because only Claude knew that they were taking things from his ...

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Claude Pierce is delighted to be reunited in New York with his struggling architect father Jay when his mother Hilda leaves him for the sixth month's custody given Jay in their divorce. At his first day in a New York City public school, the aristocratic, English bred Claude becomes the butt of some childish practical jokes because of his polished manners, especially from "Gig" Stevens, whose father is going to the electric chair that night for murder, and Gig's pal, "Buck" Murphy. A few days later, when Buck accidentally throws Claude's football through a window, Claude takles the blame, but Mr. Crusenberry, the principal, punishes Gig and Buck for lying and the boys turn their anger towards Claude. To defend himself, Claude takes boxing lessons, and in a street fight with Buck, betters him, and wins his grudging respect. Gig goes to his aunt, Rose Hawley, a "kept" woman, to ask for money for a tombstone for his father, but because he doesn't want to tell her what the money is for, she is hesitant to give it to him. Buck and Gig try to steal to raise the money, but when they are unsuccessful, Claude suggests "stealing from the rich" like the fictional jewel thief Raffles and leads the boys to a vacant house to steal toys which Buck and Gig don't know actually belong to Claude. After they pawn the things, a policeman becomes suspicious and the boys are summoned to court. Though no theft has been reported, Claude reveals the truth. The judge puts Buck and Gig on probation, but not Claude because only Claude knew that they were taking things from his own home and not actually stealing. Angry, Buck and Gig refuse to have anything more to do with Claude. Before their first report to their probation officer, Buck and Gig decide to run away. Claude, who has caught a bad cold, determines to stop the boys, despite heavy rain, and sneaks out of his apartment and follows them to the cemetary where they have stopped to see the newly made tombstone. Claude tries to talk sense into the boys, but they won't listen. All three are soon picked up by a passing car that turns out to contain three crooks on the run. The crooks take the boys to a dinner and Claude speaks French to the French proprietor, telling him to summon the police. The boys escape during a shootout with police, but when Claude becomes delirious with fever, Buck and Gig take him to a doctor. After learning at the hospital that Claude has pneumonia, the boys decide to report to their probation officer. Hilda then arrives and sneaks Claude out to go to a better hospital and is distraught when she realizes that she has caused his condition to become critical. The boys go to Claude and tell him how much they have come to like him and an encouraged Claude recovers. Some time later, the now reformed boys are taken off probation and they happily ride bicycles with Claude, and are joined by Jay and Rose, who have started a new life.

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

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