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The Man Who Played God (1932)

TV-G | | Drama, Romance | 19 February 1932 (USA)
After losing his hearing, a musician uses lip-reading to help others.

Director:

John G. Adolfi

Writers:

Jules Eckert Goodman (based on the play by), Gouverneur Morris (from the short story by) (as Governeur Morris) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Arliss ... Montgomery Royle (as Mr. George Arliss)
Violet Heming ... Mildred Miller
Bette Davis ... Grace Blair
André Luguet ... The King (as Andre Luguet)
Louise Closser Hale ... Florence Royle
Donald Cook ... Harold Van Adam
Ivan F. Simpson ... Battle (as Ivan Simpson)
Oscar Apfel ... Appleby - the Lip Reader
Charles E. Evans Charles E. Evans ... The Doctor (as Charles Evans)
Hedda Hopper ... Mrs. Alice Chittendon
William Janney ... First Boy
Fred Howard Fred Howard ... Man (scenes deleted)
Murray Kinnell ... King's Aide
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Storyline

Montgomery Royle is a famed pianist whose student, the much younger Grace Blair, believes herself to be in love with him. When an explosion destroys Royle's hearing, he is bitter at the loss of his art and profession. His sister Florence persuades him to learn lip-reading as a way to break out of the isolation of deafness. Royle discovers a new meaning to his life when he uses his new lip-reading knowledge to help others. But the new skill has serious ramifications for his relationship with Grace. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

'A Modern Drama From Real Life'

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

19 February 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Covek koji se dopao Bogu See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 21, 1938 with George Arliss reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

When Royle goes to his desk after observing the couple in the park, the shadow of the boom microphone dips onto the window curtain behind him. See more »

Quotes

Grace Blair: You're my ideal!
Montgomery Royle: I shall always be... your friend.
See more »


Soundtracks

Fantaisie-Impromptu in C Sharp Minor, Op.66
(1834) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Played on piano by George Arliss (dubbed by Salvatore Santaella) at the concert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A lot more going on here besides Bette Davis
30 December 2007 | by tpatbourSee all my reviews

First and foremost, "The Man Who Played God" (1932) is not a Bette Davis vehicle. She was still a few years away from receiving top billing and graduating into 'A' pictures. However, the mere fact that she's in this overlooked and forgotten film will only push it into wider circulation and rapidly increase its number of viewers. So much has already been said about her, there's very little one can add to further compliment her. Personally, I think she gave some of her best performances in these early 1930s B programmers for Warner Bros. Sure, the material wasn't nearly as good, which only made her performances stand out all the more. But Bette Davis has little to do with what stands out about this movie.

After losing his hearing, a well-loved and respected piano player (George Arliss) becomes a recluse. He rejects most of his old friends and companions, and is cruel to the few he does see. He learns to read lips, but grows more and more depressed at the same time. And finally when he has hit rock bottom, he finds a purpose in his life,... philanthropy. Putting aside his own problems and selfishness, his salvation comes from helping others. This is a theme that would recur over and over again to varying degrees in the Depression era 30s (especially in Frank Capra's movies).

The other thing of interest here is the act of voyeurism. Through the aid of binoculars, he's able to read lips, and essentially, spy on everyday New Yorker's. One can't help but wonder if this little movie may have had some influence or have been the basis for the idea of Cornell Woolrich's short story "It Had to Be Murder", which would be eventually adapted into Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" (1954).

This movie, is, by no means a masterpiece, but its still an important one. With so many interesting ideas going on here, its well worth the watch.


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