Man’s Castle 1933

Embarrassed to say but I just watched Frank Borzage’s Man’s Castle for the first time this week.

Wow, what a movie!

Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young are both excellent but the way the movie plows headlong into the plight of desperate people during the despression is remarkable. There are some obvious hard cuts in the movie because when they re-released it a few years later, they cut out 9 minutes of stuff considered too offensive in the era of the production code. But, hell, what they left in is still pretty amazing.

And that ending! If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it.

Favorite line in the whole movie: “Murder? This ain’t murder. This is housecleaning.”

Great stuff.

16 Responses Man’s Castle 1933
Posted By robbushblog : February 7, 2018 9:49 pm

I haven’t seen it. And darn it! Of course, Netflix doesn’t have it on DVD either. I’m glad you popped back in, Greg! But now I want to see that movie and can’t. You’ve bummed me out, dude.

Posted By Susan G : February 7, 2018 9:50 pm

I loved Man’s Castle. The other day I watched Tomorrow is Another Day (1951, Ruth Roman and Steve Cochran) and it reminded me of Man’s Castle. Have you seen it?

Posted By robbushblog : February 7, 2018 10:18 pm

I watched that the other day too. I liked it for the most part, until that copout of an ending. I was like “What?!” Ruth Roman was dreamy though. So lovely.

Posted By Arthur : February 7, 2018 11:10 pm

Yes. It was pretty good. Because of the Production Code we have long missed some key slices of history as revealed through the movies.

And, yes, the directors fleeing the rise of Hitler did add a lot to Hollywood. But to a large degree all of their polish and finesse when coupled with the Production Code, for decades gave us what, in retrospect, now looks like a lot of schmaltz.

Posted By swac44 : February 8, 2018 6:35 am

We’ve been blessed with a high number of pre-code releases from the WB/MGM/RKO axis, thanks to companies like Warner Home Video and TCM, but sadly fewer titles from Columbia (like this one), Paramount and Fox have surfaced in accessible form. The flavour of each studio is a little different, and Borzage had a special touch that it seems has only come to be appreciated in recent years.

Haven’t seen Man’s Castle in quite a few years, but it does turn up on TCM from time to time (usually in the middle of a Spencer Tracy retrospective), so I look forward to revisiting.

Posted By George : February 8, 2018 11:25 pm

I watched MAN’S CASTLE on YouTube a few months ago. No idea if it’s still there, but you can check.

Here’s another Spencer Tracy movie from the early ’30s worth seeing: ME AND MY GAL, co-starring Joan Bennett and directed by Raoul Walsh.

YouTube remains a great resource for movies that are elusive on DVD. Recently watched THE BIG POND (Chevalier and Colbert, 1930), I TAKE THIS WOMAN (Cooper and Lombard, 1931), ACCENT ON YOUTH (Sylvia Sidney, 1935), and VIRTUE (Lombard and Pat O’Brien, 1932). All new to me.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 9, 2018 8:54 am

Rob, and everybody, I saw a copy on YouTube and it was a pretty good transfer.

Started watching a lot of Borzage lately. Watched BAD GIRL from 1931, for which he won his second Best Director, and honestly it doesn’t hold a candle to MAN’S CASTLE. But my favorite Borzage ever is still MORTAL STORM. That one is great!

Posted By swac44 : February 9, 2018 10:33 am

Finally saw The Mortal Storm last year, and kicked myself for waiting so long. What a powerful film!

Posted By George : February 9, 2018 4:44 pm

AFTER TOMORROW (1932) is a little-known and absorbing Borzage film that can be viewed on YouTube. So is the outstanding HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT (1937).

The fantasy film LILLIOM (1930) used to be on YouTube, but seems to be gone now, except for clips.

Last year I finally watched SEVENTH HEAVEN (1927), the ending of which influenced the ending of LA LA LAND, according to the latter film’s director. It still works.

Posted By robbushblog : February 12, 2018 3:18 pm

Yes! THE MORTAL STORM is great! Of course, I am biased, since I am partial to anything with Jimmy Stewart in it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 12, 2018 8:59 pm

I need to see several of these. Thanks for all the recommendations.

And Rob, you know I am in total agreement with you. Jimmy Stewart is one of the all time greatest actors, hands down. I think I like him in everything he ever did. Everything.

Posted By robbushblog : February 12, 2018 10:25 pm

I even like him in THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, which is, while not great, unfairly maligned as being worse than it actually is simply because it somehow ended up winning best picture for 1952. It’s clearly not best picture material, but 1952 was an especially egregious year for it to win the coveted award.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 13, 2018 8:20 pm

I can take or leave most of THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH but I will always love the train wreck scene. The miniatures are great. But, yeah, up against HIGH NOON and THE QUIET MAN, it was a damned odd choice for Best Picture.

Posted By George : February 13, 2018 9:07 pm

“it was a damned odd choice for Best Picture.”

I see it as more of a career achievement award for De Mille than anything else. It’s a movie I really liked as a kid, but I find it hard to sit through as an adult. But, yes, Jimmy Stewart is very good in it.

Posted By robbushblog : February 13, 2018 9:46 pm

And yet De Mille didn’t win best director. Ford won that for the much more deserving THE QUIET MAN.

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