Cast & Crew
One Sunday afternoon in the first decade of the twentieth century, small-town dentist Lucius "Biff" Grimes is seized with the thought of revenge when his former rival, Hugo Barnstead, arrives in town and comes to his office with an aching tooth. While his friend, Snappy Downer, stands by and Hugo lies unconscious from nitrous oxide, Biff reminisces about the night years ago when he and Virginia Brush met in Avery's Park: Although Virginia's shy friend, Amy Lind, has been infatuated with Biff since high school, he has always wanted to meet Virginia and gets his chance when she drops her handkerchief. Full of himself, Biff is unaware that Virginia is really interested in his friend Hugo, as the four cavort at the park. Sometime later, Biff slugs a fellow in a poolhall who teases him about Virginia, and his new straw hat, which he bought to impress Virginia, is stomped on in the subsequent brawl. At a picnic in Schneider's Park, Biff learns which basket that is about to be auctioned was prepared by Virginia, and he wins it in the bidding, which allows him the opportunity to eat with her. Although Virginia is upset to be with Biff, having arranged for Hugo to choose her basket, Biff is oblivious to her true feelings about him. Another fight breaks out in the park, and when it is over, Biff sees Virginia with Hugo. When Virginia elopes with Hugo, as Biff waits for her to keep a date in the park, a crowd of guys decide to go give Biff "the horse laugh." Amy gets to Biff first, and when the others arrive and taunt him, she says, to shut them up, that Biff is engaged to her. Biff and Amy walk off to a lake, where, although he is disheartened that Virginia married Hugo, he asks Amy to marry him. Two years later, Biff learns that Hugo has returned to town with Virginia, sent by his uncle to take charge of the carriage factory, where Biff works. Biff excitedly practices saying hello to Virginia and forgets that it is his and Amy's anniversary. Amy cries when she realizes that he has forgotten, and as Biff embraces her, Hugo and Virginia come in and invite them to an anniversary dinner in their hotel suite. Amy is upset because she has worked preparing her own dinner all day and is wearing a new dress, which no one has noticed. Hugo puts on airs and denigrates Biff's ambition to continue to study dentistry at night and instead offers him a "better" position at the factory as a company spy, reporting on the men who should be fired. Biff is insulted, and afterward tells Amy that she looks as nice as Virginia. Hugo soon fires Biff for incompetency, and when Biff returns home, he finds that Amy has invited her mother to live with them. Without relating that he has been fired, Biff returns to Hugo's office and vows to work harder in his old job. Hugo gives him the job back, but then says he wants the names of the men he should get rid of. Biff calls Hugo a "weasel" and as a guard struggles to put him out, the guard's gun goes off and he falls, having been shot in the leg. Hugo blames Biff and he is sentenced to two years in the state penitentiary. Biff vows to Snappy that he will revenge himself on Hugo when he gets out. Upon his release, Biff vows to make it up to Amy, who has remained devoted to him and worked hard during his term in prison. He suggests that they go someplace else to start over, and she says she will go anywhere with him. Back in the office, Biff turns down the oxygen on Hugo and increases the flow of nitrous oxide. Virginia then arrives with a painted face and an outlandish hat. Biff immediately knows from her crass manner that he married the right woman, and he quickly turns off the nitrous oxide and puts the oxygen on. Relieved that Hugo is alive, Biff pulls his tooth. Virginia's crude attempt to flirt is ridiculed by Biff and Snappy after she and Hugo leave, and the sound of their uproarious laughter brings Amy to the office, where she accuses the two of drinking. Biff then tells his wife that she's very sweet and beautiful, and that he loves her, and after she returns the sentiment, he carries her out, and they go for a long walk in the summertime air.
A. S. Byron
E. F. Adams
Will D. Cobb
Louis D. Lighton
William Slavens Mcnutt
Harry D. Mills
Andrew B. Sterling
Harry Von Tilzer
William Walling Jr.
Donald E. Wilson
One Sunday Afternoon (1933)
The original cinematic incarnation of One Sunday Afternoon stars Cooper as Biff Grimes, a dentist who grows convinced that a lothario named Hugo Barnstead (Neil Hamilton) ruined his life years ago when he stole Biff's girlfriend, a sexpot named Virginia (Fay Wray). Biff, who is now married to a perfectly lovely woman (Frances Fuller), but is still convinced that he should have married Virginia, is intent on getting revenge on Hugo. Biff imagines that the best way to do this is to give Hugo a little too much gas while working on one of his molars. But things don't work out quite that way.
Several critics at the time complained that Cooper wasn't intimidating enough to play a larcenous type like Biff, that the role should have rightfully gone to Lloyd Nolan who originated it on Broadway (Cooper adopted a bulldog shortly after the film opened, and named it Biff, since it seemed more properly suited to the role.).
During filming, Cooper, who had already earned a reputation as a playboy, was happily dating Countess Dorothy DiFrasso, whose wealth brought the young actor into social circles that were utterly new to him. However, Fay Wray mentions in her autobiography, On the Other Hand, that she was surprised when actress Dolores Del Rio told her that Coop had dropped the Countess in favor of Veronica Balfe, the niece of MGM's brilliant art director, Cedric Gibbons. In fact, Cooper actually asked Gibbons for permission to marry Balfe, which was a formal enough move to stun Wray even further. Wray describes Balfe as follows: "She was stunning, sleek eyes, the same gray of Gary's eyes. She had won a bit role in King Kong . She leans out a hotel window in New York, sees Kong, and screams."
Cooper survived One Sunday Afternoon, of course, since his screen presence could withstand pretty much any critical onslaught. Within two years, he'd be starring in The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), after which there would be no looking back for this American screen icon.
Producer: Louis D. Lighten
Director: Stephen Roberts
Screenplay: William Slavens McNutt (based on the play by James Hagan)
Cinematography: Victor Milner
Editor: Ellsworth Hoagland
Art Design: Hans Dreier, Wiard Ihnen
Costume Design: Travis Banton
Cast: Gary Cooper (Biff Grimes), Fay Wray (Virginia Brush), Neil Hamilton (Hugo Barnstead), Frances Fuller (Amy Lind), Roscoe Karns (Snappy Downer), Jane Darwell (Mrs. Lind), Clara Blandick (Mrs. Brush), Sam Hardy (Dr. Startzman), Harry Schultz (Schneider), James Burtis (Dink Hoops).
BW-85m. Closed captioning.
by Paul Tatara
One Sunday Afternoon (1933)
Fay Wray (1907-2004)
She was born Vina Fay Wray, in Cardston, Alberta, Canada on September 15, 1907. Her family relocated to Arizona when she was still a toddler so her father could find employment. When her parents divorced, her mother sent her to Hollywood when Fay's eldest sister died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. The reasoning was that Southern California offered a healthier climate for the young, frail Wray.
She attended Hollywood High School, where she took some classes in drama. After she graduated, she applied to the Hal Roach studio and was given a six-month contract where she appeared in two-reel Westerns (25 minutes in length), and played opposite Stan Laurel in his pre-Oliver Hardy days.
She landed her first big role, as Mitzi Schrammell, in Erich von Stroheim's beautifully mounted silent The Wedding March (1928). It made Wray a star. She then starred in some excellent films: The Four Feathers (1929), the early Gary Cooper Western The Texan (1930), and one of Ronald Coleman's first starring roles The Unholy Garden (1931), all of which were big hits of the day.
For whatever reason, Wray soon found herself in a string of thrillers that made her one of the great screamers in Hollywood history. The titles say it all: Doctor X, The Most Dangerous Game (both 1932), Mystery of the Wax Museum, The Vampire Bat (both 1933) and, of course her most famous role, that of Ann Darrow, who tempts cinema's most famous ape in the unforgettable King Kong (also 1933).
Wray did prove herself quite capable in genre outside of the horror game, the best of which were Shanghai Madness with Spencer Tracy; The Bowery (both 1933), a tough pre-Hays Code drama opposite George Raft; and the brutal Viva Villa (1934), with Wallace Beery about the famed Mexican bandit. Yet curiously, the quality of her scripts began to tank, and she eventually found herself acting in such mediocre fare as Come Out of the Pantry (1935), and They Met in a Taxi (1936).
With her roles becoming increasingly routine, the last of which was the forgettable comedy Not a Ladies Man (1942), she decided to trade acting for domesticity and married Robert Riskin, who won two Best Screenplay Oscars® for the Frank Capra comedies It Happened One Night (1934) and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). When Riskin died in 1955, Wray found herself working to keep busy and support her three children. She landed supporting parts for films like The Cobweb (1955), Hell on Frisco Bay (1956) and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957). She also found work in television on such popular programs as Perry Mason and Wagon Train before she retired from acting all together in the mid-'60s.
To her credit, Wray did remain reasonably active after her retirement. She published her autobiography, On The Other Hand in 1989 and was attending many film festivals that honored her contribution to film, most notably in January 2003, when, at 95 years of age, she accepted in person her "Legend in Film" Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Wray is survived by a son, Robert Riskin Jr.; two daughters, Susan and Victoria; and two grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Fay Wray (1907-2004)
According to the pressbook in the copyright descriptions, James Hagan's play came within one vote of tying the leader for the Pulitzer prize for Best American Play. It had been rejected for three years before it was staged on Broadway by Leo Bulgakov, formerly of the Moscow Art Theatre. According to modern sources, the play opened to mixed reviews, and during the bank holiday of 1933, it was withdrawn. However, it was revived afterward and became a big success. Paramount, according to modern sources, turned it down before it was produced, when the price was a few hundred dollars, but after it became a hit, they purchased the rights for $26,000. Modern sources also state that Fredric March, after reading the play, told Gary Cooper about it, and Cooper persuaded Paramount to buy it. Playwright Hagan was signed to the RKO scenario staff in April 1933, following the play's success, according to Hollywood Reporter, but modern sources note that his contract expired before he worked on anything. This was stage actress Frances Fuller's first film role. According to the pressbook, the studio picked her, looking for a "Helen Hayes" type for the role, and then signed her to a five-year contract. However, it appears that she was in only one other film, Paramount's 1934 production Elmer and Elsie. Modern sources note that Frank Tuttle and Frank Borzage were scheduled to direct at different times before shooting began. Modern sources also list Johnny St. Claire in the cast and give the following additional credits: Art Director W. B. Ihnen (along with Hans Dreier, who received screen credit); Costumes Travis Benton. Warner Bros. made two later films based on the play, both of which were directed by Raoul Walsh: Strawberry Blonde, produced in 1941 and starring James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Jack Carson and Rita Hayworth; and One Sunday Afternoon, a musical produced in 1948, with Dennis Morgan, Janis Paige, Don DeFore and Dorothy Malone. Three television productions based on the play have been made: in 1949, Ford Television Theatre broadcast over CBS One Sunday Afternoon, directed by Marc Daniels and starring Burgess Meredith, Francesca Bruning, Hume Cronyn and Augusta Roeland; the 1957 Lux Video Theatre production, also entitled One Sunday Afternoon, directed by David McDearmon and starring Gordon McCrea, Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy and Sheila Stevens; and a 1959 David Susskind-Talent Associates production of the same name broadcast on NBC, directed by William Corrigan and starring David Wayne, Janet Blair, Eddie Bracken and Dolores Dorn-Heft.