His Family Tree (1935)

59 or 68-69 mins | Comedy | 29 September 1935

Director:

Charles Vidor

Cinematographer:

Lucien Andriot

Editor:

Jack Hively

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Old Man Murphy ... More Less

The working title of this film was Old Man Murphy . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Aug 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 Sep 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
16 Aug 35
p. 12.
Motion Picture Herald
5 Oct 35
p. 42, 45
Variety
12 Feb 35
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Old Man Murphy by Patrick Kearney and Harry Wagstaff Gribble (New York, 16 May 1931).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Old Man Murphy
Release Date:
29 September 1935
Production Date:
late June--mid July 1935
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
20 September 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5811
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
59 or 68-69
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1102
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Because his son Charles has not responded to any of his letters, Patrick Murphy, an Irish boatswain and pub owner, leaves his Kerry County home to find Charles in America. When Patrick arrives at his son's lavish house, he discovers that, at the insistence of Charles' ambitious, social-climbing wife Margaret, Charles has changed his name to Murfree and is running for mayor against the incumbent, John J. "Jolly John" Holtsapple. To protect Charles' campaign, only Margaret, his daughter Elinor and his campaign managers, Mike Donovan and Stonehill, are told of Patrick's presence. Soon after, however, Holtsapple's managers spread a rumor that Charles is not the descendent of the aristocratic Tennessee Murfree family, but is a common Irish immigrant named Murphy. These rumors cause widow Nellie Oulihan, the political leader of the Irish fourth precinct, to withdraw her support of Charles and to hold an "indignation meeting" above the Gilligan brothers' bar. The fun-loving Patrick, however, turns the meeting into a dance and, in front of Elinor and her fiancé, the snobbish Dudley Weatherby, convinces Nellie and her followers that Charles really is a Murfree. After Holtsapple's supporters send a spy to Tennessee to "dig dirt" on Murfree, Patrick sprays the portly candidate with a fire extinguisher as he concludes a particularly insipid radio speech. Disgusted by Patrick's display, Dudley ridicules him in front of Elinor, who in anger rejects him and reveals her grandfather's identity. Margaret then insults Nellie, who has fallen in love with widower Patrick, and causes Charles to lose the fourth precinct once again. Discouraged, Patrick gets drunk one evening and, as Holtsapple discloses in a rally that Charles' real ... +


Because his son Charles has not responded to any of his letters, Patrick Murphy, an Irish boatswain and pub owner, leaves his Kerry County home to find Charles in America. When Patrick arrives at his son's lavish house, he discovers that, at the insistence of Charles' ambitious, social-climbing wife Margaret, Charles has changed his name to Murfree and is running for mayor against the incumbent, John J. "Jolly John" Holtsapple. To protect Charles' campaign, only Margaret, his daughter Elinor and his campaign managers, Mike Donovan and Stonehill, are told of Patrick's presence. Soon after, however, Holtsapple's managers spread a rumor that Charles is not the descendent of the aristocratic Tennessee Murfree family, but is a common Irish immigrant named Murphy. These rumors cause widow Nellie Oulihan, the political leader of the Irish fourth precinct, to withdraw her support of Charles and to hold an "indignation meeting" above the Gilligan brothers' bar. The fun-loving Patrick, however, turns the meeting into a dance and, in front of Elinor and her fiancé, the snobbish Dudley Weatherby, convinces Nellie and her followers that Charles really is a Murfree. After Holtsapple's supporters send a spy to Tennessee to "dig dirt" on Murfree, Patrick sprays the portly candidate with a fire extinguisher as he concludes a particularly insipid radio speech. Disgusted by Patrick's display, Dudley ridicules him in front of Elinor, who in anger rejects him and reveals her grandfather's identity. Margaret then insults Nellie, who has fallen in love with widower Patrick, and causes Charles to lose the fourth precinct once again. Discouraged, Patrick gets drunk one evening and, as Holtsapple discloses in a rally that Charles' real name is Murphy, defiantly reveals his relationship to Charles. The news of Charles' deception sends his campaign into a tailspin, and desperate to prevent his defeat, Donovan and Elinor talk Patrick into campaigning. Aided by a plaster pig named "Johnny John," Patrick begins to turn the townspeople against Holtsapple. At the start of a crucial radio debate, however, the vengeful Dudley connives to have Patrick abducted and held prisoner in an apartment building so that Holtsapple can accuse Charles of turning out his own father. Using his boatswain's whistle, the bound and gagged Patrick alerts the Gilligan brothers to his whereabouts and is rescued in time to prevent Holtsapple from defaming Charles. After Charles wins the election as a Murphy, Elinor and Donovan, and Patrick and Nellie vote for marriage. +

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.