Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 1, 2020


Theodore von Eltz and Alan Hale
THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT (1933). Directed by George Melford. 

John Ross (William V. Mong) has been the lawyer to a wealthy woman for many years. When this woman dies, Ross is set to inherit most of the money, but his young associate, Wayne Winters (Theodore von Eltz), wants in on the action. To stymie Ross' plans he digs up two supposed heirs to the estate from an early marriage -- embezzler Charlie Moore (Arthur Hoyt) and dead-common Tessie  (Marie Prevost) who has pretensions of class -- and then there's also Max Stager (Alan Hale) who claims he is the father of the dead woman's daughter. Ross has two daughters: Corinne (Marian Marsh of Svengali), who is in love with Wayne, and Nina (Gloria Shea) who is engaged to Jerry Trent (Lyman Williams of Damaged Lives).  One of them is actually adopted and is Stager's daughter. It's anyone's idea who, if anyone, will wind up with the money if assorted secrets get out. 

Marie Prevost with von Eltz
Based on a stage play, Eleventh Commandment -- "thou shalt not get caught" -- sets up an interesting situation with a few intriguing characters, but it has far too many of them to make this anything but confusing and ultimately unsatisfying. It does present two of the most unethical and unlikable lawyers in the history of the movies. The performances are quite good, however, with von Eltz being pleasantly oily and Alan Hale doing his best with an under-written part. Ethel Wales is effective as the embezzler's wife. Handsome and adept, Theodore von Eltz' career ran from the silent period all the way to 1957. 

Verdict: Passable melodrama but nothing more. **. 


angelman66 said...

Alan Hale Jr looked so much like his father—every time I see Alan Hale sr in a movie or photo it makes me think of the Skipper and Gilligan. (Hopeless Gen Xer here!)
- Chris

William said...

Ha ha!