Personal Property (1937)

84-85 or 88 mins | Romantic comedy | 19 March 1937

Director:

W. S. Van Dyke

Cinematographer:

William Daniels

Editor:

Ben Lewis

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Man in Possession and Man in Her House. H. M. Harwood's play opened on Broadway on 1 Nov 1930. According to a HR production chart, Melville Cooper was in the cast, however, he did not appear in the released film. This was the only film in which M-G-M stars Robert Taylor and Jean Harlow appeared together. Reginald Owen, who played "Claude Dabney," and Forrester Harvey, who played the bailiff, "Herbert Jenkins," in the picture, played the same roles in M-G-M's 1931 version of the play, Man in Possession (see above). Robert Montgomery, who appeared in the 1931 film in the role of Raymond recreated the role for a 12 Aug 1935 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast version of the story. ...

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The working titles of this film were Man in Possession and Man in Her House. H. M. Harwood's play opened on Broadway on 1 Nov 1930. According to a HR production chart, Melville Cooper was in the cast, however, he did not appear in the released film. This was the only film in which M-G-M stars Robert Taylor and Jean Harlow appeared together. Reginald Owen, who played "Claude Dabney," and Forrester Harvey, who played the bailiff, "Herbert Jenkins," in the picture, played the same roles in M-G-M's 1931 version of the play, Man in Possession (see above). Robert Montgomery, who appeared in the 1931 film in the role of Raymond recreated the role for a 12 Aug 1935 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast version of the story.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27-Mar-37
---
Daily Variety
11 Mar 1937
p. 3
Film Daily
16 Mar 1937
p. 12
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 1937
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 1937
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 1937
p. 74
Motion Picture Daily
12 Mar 1937
p. 2
Motion Picture Herald
6 Mar 1937
p. 49
Motion Picture Herald
20 Mar 1937
p. 44, 49
New York Times
16 Apr 1937
p. 27
Variety
21 Apr 1937
p. 3
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
W. S. Van Dyke II
Dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr to dial
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Man in Possession by H. M. Harwood (London, 22 Jan 1930).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Man in Her House
Man in Possession
Release Date:
19 March 1937
Production Date:
5 Jan--15 Feb 1937
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
15 May 1937
LP6994
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84-85 or 88
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3083
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Because the prestigious old London lingerie firm, Dabney Lingerie and Underwear, is broke, eldest son Claude Dabney is about to marry a wealthy American widow. Shortly before the marriage, Claude's younger brother Raymond comes home after being released from prison for buying and then selling a car without paying for it. Though his mother is happy to see him, his father and Claude are worried that his return will cause a scandal and end the marriage plans, so they demand that he leave England. That evening, Raymond attends a performance of Aïda and is seated next to Crystal Wetherby, whom he does not know is Claude's prospective wife. After the performance, Crystal quickly leaves, and Raymond, who is attracted to her, follows her home in a taxi. Outside the house, Raymond runs into Herbert Jenkins, a bailiff who represents Crystal's creditors. Like Claude, Crystal has been hoping to marry for money and does not suspect that her intended is broke. When Jenkins relates to Raymond that he would like to leave because his wife is having a baby, Raymond offers to take his place as the "man in possession," and will live inside the house to make certain that nothing is stolen. Once inside, Raymond is told by Crystal that her husband is upstairs. She then stomps around the house in boots, hoping that the noise will convince Raymond of her husband's presence, but the next morning Raymond learns from her maid, Clara, that Crystal is, indeed, a widow. Now completely infatuated with Crystal, he offers to help her by serving as her butler "Ferguson" during a dinner ...

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Because the prestigious old London lingerie firm, Dabney Lingerie and Underwear, is broke, eldest son Claude Dabney is about to marry a wealthy American widow. Shortly before the marriage, Claude's younger brother Raymond comes home after being released from prison for buying and then selling a car without paying for it. Though his mother is happy to see him, his father and Claude are worried that his return will cause a scandal and end the marriage plans, so they demand that he leave England. That evening, Raymond attends a performance of Aïda and is seated next to Crystal Wetherby, whom he does not know is Claude's prospective wife. After the performance, Crystal quickly leaves, and Raymond, who is attracted to her, follows her home in a taxi. Outside the house, Raymond runs into Herbert Jenkins, a bailiff who represents Crystal's creditors. Like Claude, Crystal has been hoping to marry for money and does not suspect that her intended is broke. When Jenkins relates to Raymond that he would like to leave because his wife is having a baby, Raymond offers to take his place as the "man in possession," and will live inside the house to make certain that nothing is stolen. Once inside, Raymond is told by Crystal that her husband is upstairs. She then stomps around the house in boots, hoping that the noise will convince Raymond of her husband's presence, but the next morning Raymond learns from her maid, Clara, that Crystal is, indeed, a widow. Now completely infatuated with Crystal, he offers to help her by serving as her butler "Ferguson" during a dinner party for her future husband, his parents and some friends, and is shocked to see that her fiancé is Claude. The equally aghast Dabneys, who are surreptitiously told by Raymond that he is working as a butler to earn an honest living, will not acknowledge their son, then, while Raymond is out of the room, Claude tells Crystal that her butler has been in prison. Later, in the kitchen, Crystal begins to realize that she is attracted to Raymond and they fall in love. The next day, Claude offers Raymond five hundred pounds if he promises to leave England immediately, which Raymond accepts after having a quarrel with Crystal over her impending marriage. A short time later, Raymond pays all of Crystals debts, but, because she now owes him the money, he has Jenkins repossess all of her furniture just before her wedding to Claude is to take place. Raymond then tells Claude about Crystal's financial problems, after which Claude and all the guests leave. Crystal then goes down to the kitchen, and when she sees Raymond, they kiss.

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

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