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The Earl of Chicago (1940)

Silky has always moved booze. In prohibition, he smuggled it from Canada, but now that it is legal, he produces his own brand. Seven years before, he sent Doc to prison because Doc was an ... See full summary »


Richard Thorpe, Victor Saville (uncredited)


Lesser Samuels (screen play), Charles de Grandcourt (story) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Robert Montgomery ... 'Silky' Kilmount
Edward Arnold ... 'Doc' Ramsey
Reginald Owen ... Gervase Gonwell
Edmund Gwenn ... Munsey
E.E. Clive ... Redwood
Ronald Sinclair ... Gerald Kilmount
Norma Varden ... Maureen Kilmount
Halliwell Hobbes ... Lord Chancellor
Ian Wolfe ... Reading Clerk (as Ian Wulf)
Peter Godfrey ... Judson
Billy Bevan ... Guide


Silky has always moved booze. In prohibition, he smuggled it from Canada, but now that it is legal, he produces his own brand. Seven years before, he sent Doc to prison because Doc was an honest man. Now that he is getting out, Silky wants an honest man as his general manager. When an English solicitor arrives to show that Silky is the new Earl of Gorley, Doc sees his chance to get Silky out of the way. But Silky takes Doc with him to England to see about selling his holdings and taking the money. While Doc knows that none of the property can be sold, he does not tell Silky. While Silky is shown all his duties and responsibilities, Doc is busy bankrupting his business in Chicago. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Can a Lord of England Be a Czar of the Underworld? See more »




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English | French

Release Date:

5 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Conde de Chicago See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to contemporary articles in the contemporary press, David O. Selznick owned the film rights to the novel and planned to have Edward G. Robinson as the lead. The Hollywood Reporter noted that MGM bought the rights from Selznick in 1938 as a vehicle for Spencer Tracy. But Motion Picture Daily correctly stated the studio bought it for Robert Montgomery to star, and shooting was planned for MGM's studio in Denham, England. This plan was nixed when WWII broke out in September 1939, and the Denham studio was temporarily closed. MGM then moved the production to the USA. See more »


Referenced in From the Ends of the Earth (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Can a common mug become a first-class earl?
27 September 2019 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Silky (Robert Montgomery) is a dim crook who made his fortune selling bootleg liquor. The film begins, inexplicably, with Silky meeting Doc Ramsey (Edward Arnold) as Doc is released from prison. This is confusing because Doc was sent there thanks to Silky....and you'd think they would want nothing to do with each other. However, Silky knows Doc is actually an honest man and trusts that Doc will be an able assistant in his 'business ventures'.

Silky's life is about to take a huge turn in another direction...and it comes as quite the shock. It seems that Silky is the heir to a title and property in England...though he never knew it since he was raised in an orphanage. Not surprisingly, Silky is quite lost in his new position and Doc is counting on this so he can repay him for his former 'kindness' and plans on relieving Silky of his American holdings while Silky is busy playing an Earl. This is going to come as a shock, as Silky's English estates are not exactly flush with money. What's next? See the film to find out for yourself.

It is quite enjoyable watching Robert Montgomery playing such a coarse and dim-witted criminal...mostly because the role was so unlike most of his others. Unfortunately, this didn't last, as about 3/4 of the way through the film Silky realized what Doc was doing and the film became very, very dark. In fact, I'd give the first 3/4 an 8 (it was really very good) and the last portion a 2....as it was too dark and left me very unsatisfied.

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