Sweepings (1933)

  • I noticed while watching the credits that Max Steiner did the music, & then was immediately perplexed because of the music overlaid in the (super brief) Chicago fire sequence – the tone of it didn’t fit. The music’s almost jaunty! I would never have attributed such a decision to good old Max Steiner – but hey! These movies are full of surprises.
  • Awkward editing: Early scene between LB (Lionel Barrymore) & Abigail (his wife, played by Ninetta Sunderland) – “It won’t always be this way, Abby. We’ll” *end of scene.* Maybe they hadn’t mastered the fadeout in 1933? Or it just cost extra money? Dunno.
  • What’s the deal about 5 cent socks? Was there a sock shortage? Was that super cheap for socks? If stores could turn such a robust profit by selling cheap socks, why wasn’t anyone else doing it? Weird. Weird for LB to be portrayed as some sort of sales genius by selling cheap socks. Why? Why socks?
  • It’s funny how young(er) Lionel Barrymore still has an old man voice. I guess we don’t know for sure what Baby LB sounded like in movies, because they were all silent – but I’m willing to bet that he sounded exactly like Old Man.
  • Lionel Barrymore would name his kid “Eugene.” *Rolls eyes.*
  • Nooooo! Abby’s dying? I’m so sad; I liked her soooooo much! Just kidding, I hated her.
  • Montage a quarter of the way through is perplexing & way too choppy. Did Eugene just marry his sister? Is Phoebe his sister? Who is Phoebe? All of this is unclear.
  • What has Uncle Thane (Alan Dinehart) been doing for the last 30 years? All we ever see him doing is pacing or wandering around a room, while *maybe* smoking a cigar. This is all he does? He should probably die in an exciting way, just for the hell of it.
  • Somehow I missed that LB has 4 kids. I only tallied 3 in my head. DID THREE OF THEM MARRY EACH OTHER IN EUROPE?! (This part is still unclear – all I know is there was lots of laughing involved.)
  • The writer(s?) of this film did absolutely no favors for LB. His lines suck. I could pull any number examples, but try “Weeeeellll…I did my best for them, Abby.” (Beginning AND end of what may be an emotional monologue crafted by truly inept people.) Next: “You all look so young. And strong. And beautiful. But you can’t stay that way…no one can.” …? Poor LB. This sucks for him.
  • So…Abe (Gregory Ratoff) just asked for a share of the store. The man has worked there for what – 30 years? – and has apparently never asked for a raise. He just said that his life is literally nothing but his job, but he is somehow remarkably content (and maybe even proud of this fact). Out of nowhere, LB is like, “Fuck no! How dare you even ask, because my sons own every part of the store whether they want it or not and also I might hate you for being so goddamn loyal to me & being partially responsible for my enormous wealth. HOW DARE YOU EVEN ASK, ABE. HOW DARE YOU EVEN ASK.”

Stop being such a jackass, LB. Jesus.

  • OH. OH NO.  This. This:LB, lecturing Gene on why he needs to take over the family business, gestures to the goddamn family portrait, AND SAYS:”All my hopes. Right there. Of course, [Freddie]’s just a boy. Bert’s in Europe. Phoebe – *chuckles* – she’s a woman.”Wait – I’m sorry, did that just happen?! “She’s a woman!” “Hahaha she’s a woman, so she can’t run a business HAHAHA”
  • How are there still 40 minutes left of this movie?! How will I survive?
  • I love how they use the phrase “murder mystery” to describe this shooting. There were like…30 witnesses. Wow! What a mystery!
  • My patience for this movie is definitely, definitely waning – particularly following the close-up shot of LB covering half the family portrait with some sort of sales card. Gene has been blacked out of the family photo because he is a philandering alcoholic who sleeps with murderer-prostitutes. Phoebe has been blacked out of the family photo because she is a woman. Are you fucking serious. How is this a thing. This is – without doubt – going on whatever terrible list of movies of mine that Gigi currently occupies every slot on. (Woo! That little dumbass finally has some company!)
  • “Phoebe is divorced…and going to marry a prince.” They say this with such disdain! Like she’s the biggest failure of them all! SHE’S MARRYING A GODDAMN PRINCE. Sigh.
  • (At this point I would like to point out that this movie has never clarified that all of the siblings did not, in fact, marry each other while in Europe that one time. This is extremely suspicious to me. They might now all be divorced – from each other. Tsk. Tsk.)
  • Abby’s been dead for so many years now! I don’t miss her.
  • Whatsherface the Salesgirl just collapsed. Oh, these women and their Christmas breakdowns. Can’t take the stress of working hard. Because they’re women.
  • The movie tried to have Uncle Thane actually do something (& tried to make the preposterous claim that he’s “always helping others” & has been doing so “for years”)…but everyone knows this is a blatant lie, and – not being able to take on the added responsibility of doing something other than walking around a room – it appears that Uncle Thane has up & died. Boohoo. All the people that he’s been “helping” for years I’m sure are very distraught. This is to say: no one. No one is distraught.
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Okay, this is too much. Bert has just requested to be demoted from Assistant General Manager to “Window Trimmer.” Who wrote this fucking story? They should be shot. (Yes, I know they’re already dead. But it’s the principle of the thing.)
  • LB just paid a woman $5000 to stop talking. And she took it. This just gets worse and worse.
  • Oh! A Freddie walking montage. Clearly, he takes after Uncle Thane.
  • LB just told Abe that he’s thinking of selling his house. “The children are all married now, with homes of their own.” Uh, are any of the children married? (The writers may have forgotten this.)
  • I hate LB in this movie – possibly even more than I hate him as Potter. And that’s saying something. Because I really hate Potter.

Alright, you guys – conclusion time. This is very bad movie, and not worth watching. It has lots of dumb moments, and Lionel Barrymore is given both a terrible character and terrible lines. This has a decent rating on IMDb, and it has Lionel Barrymore in it – so I thought it was worth a shot…but it was not. It was terrible.

Oh, but ps: I learned after the fact that the minor (because duh, she’s a woman) role of Phoebe was played by Gloria Stuart! Of TITANIC fame! Whaaaaat?! Yes, I know what you are thinking, because I am thinking it, too. Phoebe did very well for herself, in the end. You go, girl.


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