Now on DVD! George Arliss in ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1931)

Perhaps inspired by the mammoth hit musical HAMILTON, Warner Archive recently announced the DVD release of Mr. A’s stage and screen success, ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1931). It is interesting to note that the hip-hop musical used the same plot as the Arliss historical drama. Co-written by Mr. A and Mary Hamlin, a then-amateur playwright – they would both claim that the other did most of the writing – the play debuted in 1917 during the time of America’s entry into World War I. Later in 1931, Warner Bros. decided to film it although Mr. A said that he did not push the idea because it was too self-serving. In any event today, Independence Day aka the 4th of July in the states, seems to be the perfect time to announce this news:

This is also a good opportunity to post some original color lobby cards from the film:

Doris Kenyon played Hamilton’s wife, Betsy. She had retired following the sudden death of her husband, actor Milton Sills, in September 1930. But Mr. A encouraged her to return to work and offered her the role. They had appeared together in silent films a decade earlier:

Dudlely Digges had been Mr. A’s stage manager for many years before becoming an actor. Mr. A invited him to repeat his stage role as the villain:

Sweet June Collyer stepped out of her familiar screen persona to play the seductive Mrs. Reynolds who lures Hamilton into a trap that threatens to ruin his reputation and his career:

Lionel Belmore plays Hamilton’s father-in-law, General Schuyler. Hard to believe but Mr. A is only a year younger than Mr. Belmore!

When it was learned that this unknown actor’s wife lay dying in a local hospital, he was allowed to leave the studio. But he refused saying that he needed the money. After filming this scene, a studio car drove him directly to the hospital:

Alan Mowbray played George Washington but was almost unrecognizable under the makeup. However, his distinctive voice made him easily recognized:

Finally, your blogmeister can’t resist the temptation to post this Photoshopped picture of himself shaking hands with the great Mr. A:

Published in: on July 4, 2018 at 2:54 PM  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. When are they going to release “The Millionaire”? I have a very very bad tape of it; it surely deserves putting on DVD!! Any chance of this happening?

    From a great fan of Arliss and of you!

    Christopher Cusumano

    • I have a dvd-r of this film from when it was shown on TCM… it is quite watchable!

    • THE MILLIONAIRE (1931) was Mr. A’s first modern dress film (in talkies) and his first sound film not based on one of his stage successes. It was a remake of his silent THE RULING PASSION (1922), which has recently turned up in one of the European archives. This film was quite successful and indicated that light comedies were another genre that Mr. A excelled in. Warners followed MILLIONAIRE with other comedies such as A SUCCESSFUL CALAMITY (1932) and THE WORKING MAN (1933), both of which are available on DVD through the Warner Archive. In the meantime, TCM (in the US) shows THE MILLIONAIRE once or twice a year.

  2. I can think of other Arliss films more deserving of DVD release…

    • True but AH is good on its own terms and the back story is worth a movie of its own. Mary Hamlin left us her impressions of working at Warner’s for this film and had opinions on lots of people including Florence and GA.

  3. This film as well was shown on TCM a few years ago & I have it on dvd-r…

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