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14 user 3 critic

Weary River (1929)

A gangster is put in prison, but finds salvation through music while serving his time. Again on the outside, he finds success elusive and temptations abound.

Director:

Frank Lloyd

Writers:

Courtney Ryley Cooper (story) (as Courtney Riley Cooper), Bradley King (screen version) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Barthelmess ... Jerry Larrabee
Betty Compson ... Alice Gray
William Holden William Holden ... Prison Warden
Louis Natheaux ... Spadoni
George E. Stone ... Blackie (as George Stone)
Ray Turner ... Elevator Boy (as Raymond Turner)
Gladden James ... Jerry's Manager
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Storyline

Jerry Larabee (Richard Barthelmess)is a gangster who can play piano and sing, mostly to entertain his girl Alice (Betty Compson), who is quite visibly thrilled by his crooning. But as the result of a gangland shootout he had with rival mobster Spadoni (Louis Natheaux), Larabee must do a stretch in prison. The kindly warden (William Holden) sees a potential for redemption in him, and talks Mary into giving him up, so he will break all contact with his previous life. Through his musical talents, Jerry is soon doing radio broadcasts with the prison orchestra, and one of his own compositions, "Weary River" is a smash hit with listeners. In no time, he's released, with a concert tour lined up. unfortunately, hecklers cause the overly sensitive ex-gunman to lose his confidence and he's a flop. Down on his luck, he drifts back to his old gang buddies and Mary, who's never stopped loving him. After learning that his stint up the river was a frame-up by Spadoni, a showdown is arranged at their... Written by WesternOne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 February 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bag Fængslets Port See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System) (Western Electric Apparatus) (sound effects, music and talking sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was restored by The Library of Congress Motion Picture Division, the UCLA Film and Television Archive and Warner Bros./Turner Entertainment Company. See more »

Quotes

Prison Warden: [Final line, spoken to a cop intending to arrest Jerry Larrabee:] "Let him alone, he's going to see his sweetheart, that's all. And they don't want to be bothered by any blue-coated cupids."
See more »

Alternate Versions

First National also released this film in a silent version. See more »

Soundtracks

It's Up to You
(1929)
Music by Louis Silvers
Lyrics by Grant Clarke
Sung by Richard Barthelmess (dubbed by Johnny Murray)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Up the Weary River
24 February 2015 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Singing gangster Richard Barthelmess (as Jerry Larrabee) is sent "up the river" after an innocent bystander is killed in one of his orchestrated shoot 'em ups. In prison, Mr. Barthelmess (#46039) has more time for singing and less time for racketeering. He becomes a hit in the big house and decides to go straight on the outside. But, after serving his time, Barthelmess receives a rocky reception. While a wonderful singer, he's derided as an ex-con. Through it all, Barthelmess is encouraged by beautiful blonde Betty Compson (as Alice Gray). She and warden William Holden would like Barthelmess to keep trying, but he is tempted by his criminal past...

"Weary River" is a part-talking, part-silent film. It begins as a silent, with oddly primitive background music (for 1929), and turns "talkie" early in the running time. You're thinking it will remain there, but the silent style occasionally returns. Perhaps the soundtrack on these scenes was inferior and re-takes unsatisfactory. While mostly a sound film, the spirit is silent; this may be why the technology appears superior to many other early talkies. The possibly better all-silent version should be restored, if possible...

Then a very big star, Barthelmess maintained his standing during the transition from silent to sound. His voice was fine, but Barthelmess is obviously better in the older style. Barthelmess also mouths his songs for a vocal double. Taken from this film, the song "Weary River" was a big hit for the popular new singer Rudy Vallee. Randolph Scott and Sally Eilers are extras and elevator "boy" Raymond Turner looks frightened. Director Frank Lloyd's artful prison sequences require no dialogue, and photographer Ernie Haller is an obvious asset. Their assistant Alvin Knechtel was killed in a plane crash, sadly, on the verge of a promising career.

***** Weary River (2/10/29) Frank Lloyd ~ Richard Barthelmess, Betty Compson, William Holden, Louis Natheaux


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