Cast & Crew
Soon after arriving at the prison honor farm where he is to begin serving time for his involvement in a robbery, young and petulant Johnny Lorgen starts a fight with Jim Breedin, the prisoner foreman and a fifteen-year honor farm veteran. After knocking the newcomer unconscious, Jim earns his respect and starts him on the path to self-reform. Johnny's friendship with Jim angers fellow prisoner and hardened criminal Jig Johnson, who later attempts to knife Johnny. Jim, however, steps in front of Jig as he lunges for Johnny and takes the knife himself. Later, when Jim is offered $250,000 for his abandoned farm in Oklahoma by Jim Carruthers, an oil company representative, he becomes concerned that his daughter Nora, from whom he has kept his sentence a secret, has disappeared and is no longer tending the farm. Unaware that Nora was killed in an automobile accident some time before, Jim signs a deal with Carruthers when the oil man promises to search for her. In the meantime, Jim makes preparations for life after prison by learning the rules of gentlemanly etiquette and trying them out on No End, his ill-mannered pal. Upon his release from prison, Jim turns his dream of living in a lavish penthouse into reality, and uses the money he made from the oil sale to buy a new place for himself. Despite having sworn off the world of crime, Jim soon finds himself entangled with his old crime boss, mobster Matt Enley, who accuses Jim of making off with money stolen during past jobs. In the hope of getting at the missing money, and realizing that Jim could not possibly recognize his daughter after his fifteen-year absence, Enley has his girl friend, Elaine Carter, pose as Nora and presents her as Jim's long-lost daughter. Jim readily accepts Elaine as Nora and lavishes all the affection he has on her. When Johnny, who is now out of prison, drops by to visit Jim, he immediately falls in love with Elaine. Johnny has not reformed, however, and asks Jim to introduce him to Enley for a "job." Jim offers Johnny money to keep him out of trouble, but Johnny refuses Jim's help and soon goes to work for Enley. Unable to bear Enley's impossible demands, Elaine tells Johnny the truth about the Enley's scheme and prepares to leave town. Jim, too, learns the truth about Elaine, but he forgives her and rushes to her aid when she is attacked by Enley's men. Jim then marches over to Enley's office and takes a slug at the mob boss, but Enley counters by ransoming Elaine, who has been taken hostage, for all Jim's money. Jim follows Enley's orders and brings the money to Enley's nightclub, but he manages to gain the upper hand when he grabs a partly concealed gun from a passing waiter and points it a Enley. A gun battle ensues until the police arrive and arrest the gangsters. Jim then adopts Elaine as his daughter and invites Johnny to move in with them.
John A. Butler
Robert E. O'connor
Fred Datig Jr.
William R. Lipman
Alfred E. Spencer
Edwin B. Willis
Alias a Gentleman -
Alias a Gentleman starts with Jim Breedin (Wallace Beery) in jail, serving out his last week and making the best of it. He works a prison farm and when a brash, young kid shows up, Johnny Lorgen (Tom Drake), he tries his best to guide him down the good path. He likes Johnny and wants him to end up good in life and not become an old man with nothing like him. That's just before he finds out that the dried up patch of land he has waiting for him on the outside has oil on it and before he's even released, he's a rich man. Rather than revel in his newfound wealth, he bemoans the fact that his daughter left years ago and he doesn't know where she is. He'd love to give her the life she deserves and now that he's rich, he can.
Once released, some of his old partners in crime want to cut him in on deals but he shows no interest. He's clean now and wants to stay that way. What he won't say is how he got all the money and his old partners naturally suspect he's working deals without him. That's when they call in an actress, Elaine (Dorothy Patrick), to play his long lost daughter in an effort to find out where the money's coming from and maybe steal it while they're in the process.
Alias a Gentleman is the kind of ridiculous comedy that would have been a screwball in the thirties or a madcap TV sitcom in the sixties (think Beverly Hillbillies) but in the forties, it does its level best to be a sophisticated comedy instead, playing most of the jokes at the expense of Beery's lack of refinement. When Elaine, disguised as his daughter Nora, makes him breakfast, naturally it's all French food. Otherwise we'd have no recourse to hear Wallace Beery pronounce "soufflé" incorrectly or puzzle over what exactly is "café au lait" (if only he had a Starbucks handy).
That it succeeds most of the time is a tribute to Wallace Beery in the lead and Gladys George as his lady. The two have a great chemistry and though their back and forth is limited (Beery spends more time with Elaine and his old partners in crime than Gladys), it's a pleasure to watch.
Gladys George was also to die relatively soon after Alias a Gentleman, making it only six more years before a host of debilitating illnesses cut her down at the young age of 50. Before that, she'd been Madame DuBarry in Marie Antoinette (1938), Iva Archer (Miles Archer's widow) in The Maltese Falcon (1941), and the title character in Madame X (1937). Alias a Gentleman may not match those earlier efforts for either George or Beery but it's a pleasure to watch and a reminder that a movie is only as good as the actors in it and when those actors are Wallace Beery and Gladys George, well, that's good enough.
Producers: Nat Perrin Director: Harry Beaumont Writers: Peter Ruric (story), William Lipman Original Music: David Snell Cinematography: Ray June Film Editing: Ben Lewis Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Stan Rogers Cast: Wallace Beery (Jim Breedin), Tom Drake (Johnny Lorgen), Dorothy Patrick (Elaine Carter), Gladys George (Madge Parkson), Leon Ames (Matt Enley), Warner Anderson (Capt. Charlie Lopen), Sheldon Leonard (Harry Bealer)
By Greg Ferrara
Alias a Gentleman -
While the Screen Achievements Bulletin lists Sidney Sidman as the assistant director, Hollywood Reporter production charts list Tom Andre.