Ten Nights in a Bar Room


1h 10m 1931

Brief Synopsis

Dr. Romaine arrives in Cedarville in 1910 and checks into the Sickle and Sheaf Hotel, which is owned by Simon Slade, who is aided in running the hotel and its bar by his daughter Ann and his son Frank. Mill owner Joe Morgan is very happy to hear of the new doctor's arrival, for his young daughter M...

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1931
Premiere Information
New York opening: 27 Feb 1931
Production Company
Roadshow Production, Inc.
Distribution Company
State Rights
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Ten Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There by Timothy Shay Arthur (Philadelphia, 1839).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m

Synopsis

Dr. Romaine arrives in Cedarville in 1910 and checks into the Sickle and Sheaf Hotel, which is owned by Simon Slade, who is aided in running the hotel and its bar by his daughter Ann and his son Frank. Mill owner Joe Morgan is very happy to hear of the new doctor's arrival, for his young daughter Mary is ill and slowly wasting away. Joe tells his wife Sara and his mother about Dr. Romaine, then goes to the hotel to find him. At the hotel, Ann reminds Slade of his promise to her late mother that Frank would never work in the bar. Slade takes Romaine into the bar to get acquainted with the townspeople, and it is there that Joe meets the doctor, after much persuading on Slade's part, as Joe does not like bars. Inside, Joe punches a man who insults him for not drinking, and the crowd cheers Joe on until finally he takes a drink. One drink leads to another, and soon Joe is getting drunk while Ann takes Romaine to see Mary. The doctor instructs Sara to keep Mary quietly in bed, and later that night, Joe stumbles home. His mother berates him for neglecting Mary and reminds him of how his drunken father forced the family into poverty. Joe angrily replies that he can stop drinking at any time, but unfortunately his assertion proves false as he gradually spends more time at Slade's bar, where he also begins losing heavily at poker to Slade's resident cardsharp, Harvey Green. Joe is still devoted to Mary, and six months later, although Joe's drinking ruins his business and his relationship with Sara, he has enough strength to respond when Mary leaves her sick bed to bring him home from the bar. His resolve does not last long, however, and as he slips deeper into alcoholism, Sara is forced to accept handouts from Ann. Eventually, Joe signs his mill over to Slade in return for money for drink and poker. Joe quickly loses all his money. A year later, Joe has become a despised barfly and is seriously ill. Romaine examines Joe, who is cursed by Slade for trying to cadge drinks, and takes him home, where he cares for him for several weeks. Joe's health returns, but one night his craving returns and he goes to the bar, where Slade abuses him. As Joe is accusing Slade of ruining him and stealing his mill, Mary enters the bar. Slade, disgusted with Joe and sick of Mary, throws a heavy beer mug at Joe, but Joe ducks and it hits Mary, knocking her unconscious. Joe carries Mary home and Frank sends the doctor after them. Romaine orders Joe to leave the room, and Joe goes to the living room, where he sees himself, covered with Mary's blood, in the mirror. Shocked and repelled, Joe goes to the bar, where he begins fighting Slade. As the men struggle, Slade knocks the stove over, and the open flames are fueled by spilled alcohol. Joe knocks Slade out, but when he sees the fire growing, he reenters the bar and carries Slade to the street. As the hotel burns to the ground, Joe returns home, where Mary is sleeping peacefully. Joe sits by her bed, and after her little hand covers his, resolves to become worthy of her love once again.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1931
Premiere Information
New York opening: 27 Feb 1931
Production Company
Roadshow Production, Inc.
Distribution Company
State Rights
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Ten Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There by Timothy Shay Arthur (Philadelphia, 1839).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The print viewed did not have complete credits except for the cast. It contained the following statement after the title card: "This is the story of 10 Nights in a Barroom...This film has been produced with the sole purpose in mind as to enlighten our younger generation as to conditions that existed prior to prohibition. The clothing, scenes and settings are authentic, and exact replicas at the turn of the century." The print viewed also contained a title card that read: "Prologue: Cedarville Today-The new Sickle and Sheaf Hotel. The Story: The same place before Prohibition." The prologue, however, was not included in the print viewed. Variety notes that the address of Roadshow Production is the same as that of the American Advancement Society, Dept. of Prohibition Education, indicating that the film was intended as anti-alcohol propaganda. L. E. Goetz was the president of Roadshow and Variety lists him as a presenter. The novel formed the basis of several films including one made in 1913 by Photo Drama Co. directed by Lee Beggs and starring Robert Vaughn (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.4382). In 1921, Oscar Apfel directed a version starring Baby Ivy Ward and John Lowell, and a black version was produced in l926 with Charles Gilpin and Myra Burwell (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.5562 and F2.5563).