Tag Archives: An American Tragedy film 1931

“foul tactics”

 

 

‘Dreiser Defends Norris on Power’ – NY Times 1-2-1931

 

‘Dreiser Attacks Power Trust,’Chicago Daily Tribune 7-2-1931

 

‘Foul Tactics’ – NY Times 7-3-1931

 

 

Posted here (above) as downloadable PDF files are two news stories and an editorial focusing on controversy that Theodore Dreiser was involved in in 1931. As is well known, Dreiser did less writing after the publication of his only bestseller, An American Tragedy, and became an outspoken critic of the capitalist system. The articles posted above focus on a controversy which occurred in July 1931 when Dreiser attacked monopolistic practices of utility companies.

 

 

DREISER DEFENDS NORRIS ON POWER

The New York Times

July 2, 1931

 

 

DREISER ATTACKS “POWER TRUST” AND TELLS WHY

Chicago Daily Tribune

July 2, 1931

 

 

FOUL TACTICS (editorial)

The New York Times

July 3, 1931

 

 

The New York Times editorial in whimsical fashion segues from a discussion of Dreiser’s attack on utilities to a billboard advertising the forthcoming film An American Tragedy and Dreiser’s dissatisfaction with the film, which he tried to prevent from being shown.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

    June 2018

TCM screens 1931 film version of “An American Tragedy”

 

 

It was great to see a rare screening of the original 1931 film version of An American Tragedy on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this evening. I am convinced that this version is superior to the acclaimed film A Place in the Sun, which I, personally, do not feel deserves the praise it has been accorded. See my post to this effect at

https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/mary-gordon-on-a-place-in-the-sun/

Particularly appealing — indeed, gratifying — to me was the quality of the print. I have seen the 1931 film several times, and the image was always grainy.

The host for the program, Ben Mankiewicz, got most of the details about the circumstances associated with the making of the film — and Theodore Dreiser’s objections to it — right. But, at the end of the program, he made a serious factual error. He stated that Chester Gillette’s mother sued Paramount. This is not true.

It was Grace Brown’s mother who sued the producers, as is indicated in the following news item:

“Ithaca Picked for Trial of Movie Suit; ‘American Tragedy’ Producers Denied Pre-Trial Questioning Petition,” Syracuse Herald, September 7, 1934, pg. 16

$150,000 libel action of Mrs. Grace Brown, 78, of Smyrna [NY], against Paramount-Publix moving picture corporation for alleged destructive character delineation in the film version of “An American Tragedy.” … Clifford Searl of Syracuse, counsel for Mrs. [Minerva] Brown. “Mrs. Brown claims in her suit she was depicted as ‘illiterate’ in the film version.”

Also see below a PDF file of a New York Times article dated November 9, 1934 about the settlement of the suit.

 

 

Roger W. Smith

May 17, 2017

 

 

‘Paramount Settles Suit’ – NY Times 11-9-1934