Counsellor at Law (1933)

Directed by William Wyler

Drama | Comedy

Most recently watched by sleestakk


Successful attorney has his Jewish heritage and poverty-stricken background brought home to him when he learns his wife has been unfaithful.

Length 82 minutes


John Qualen | Robert Gordon | Richard Quine | Vincent Sherman | Melvyn Douglas | John Barrymore | Bebe Daniels | Isabel Jewell | Frederick Burton | Onslow Stevens | Mayo Methot | Thelma Todd | Doris Kenyon | Clara Langsner | John Hammond Dailey | Angela Jacobs | Marvin Kline | Barbara Perry | Elmer Brown | Malka Kornstein

Viewing Notes

CFS feature tonight to kick off the new season.

Holy shit. This is one of the best movies that CFS has programmed (that I’ve seen)... which is saying a lot given their propensity for screening cool shit.

Kyle gave a nice intro but it was still not enough to prepare me for the crackling dialogue and unrelenting pace of this flick. It presses the gas and never lets up. Most of the time I was wishing there were subtitles b/c of all the fast talking + accents. My hope is that this gets a good restored release from Universal (or Kino Lorber). This movie is funny yet poignant.

Part of me sympathizes with these characters and another part of me is like Harry Becker (the kid arrested for spouting communistic views in Union Square) and wants to say fuck all to these upper class wealthy white people. BUT it’s not that simple when you realize that George Simon (portrayed admirably by John Barrymore) is more complex than “rich lawyer taking advantage of his privilege” dude. Suppose that’s why this movie is so effective; it’s hitting on multiple levels. I do want to see this again so let’s hope there’s a good release on the horizon (beyond whatever DVD release currently exists; this film deserves the best treatment).

Honorable mention to Isabel Jewell as the receptionist Bessie who is fucking fantastic in that role and also the glue of this entire movie. I’m in awe of her and want to see her in more films.


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