Thursday, August 15, 2019

Rich Man's Folly (1931)

A solid melodrama, based on Dickens' "Dombey and Son", about a shipbuilder whose obsession with having a son to carry on the family business pushes away his daughter and puts a terrible strain on the son's health, ultimately leading to tragic consequences.

I love stories about the sea and the shipping business, so I was instantly drawn in to this one. The plot is high melodrama, with the family dynamics enhanced by George Bancroft's forceful performance as the father, and Frances Dee as the estranged daughter who eventually finds the love and affection she has been missing with a rival shipbuilder.

The location photography, taken at a Massachusetts shipyard, adds a great deal of authenticity and detail, particularly effective in the film's climactic scene.

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