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THE STRANGER'S RETURN


cody1949
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  After many years of not being able to screen this movie,it finally appeared on TCM.  An excellent story with wonderful acting by Barrymore, Hopkins, Tone and Erwin. There is one major problem with the print shown on TCM tonight. About 60 seconds at the very end is missing. It does not end on such  a down note as seen on TCM tonight. I know !  I have the movie in my collection. I hope that if the Warner Archive plans to release a DVD of this movie,they will restore the missing footage. It is so much more uplifting.

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  After many years of not being able to screen this movie,it finally appeared on TCM.  An excellent story with wonderful acting by Barrymore, Hopkins, Tone and Erwin. There is one major problem with the print shown on TCM tonight. About 60 seconds at the very end is missing. It does not end on such  a down note as seen on TCM tonight. I know !  I have the movie in my collection. I hope that if the Warner Archive plans to release a DVD of this movie,they will restore the missing footage. It is so much more uplifting.

So why was the last minute cut out on the TCM version shown?  I had not seen the movie before.  Enjoyed it a lot.  Why and who cut out the last minute you mention?  A Hays Code mutilation of later years "for the public good"?

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So why was the last minute cut out on the TCM version shown?  I had not seen the movie before.  Enjoyed it a lot.  Why and who cut out the last minute you mention?  A Hays Code mutilation of later years "for the public good"?

  

 I have no idea as to why and who. The missing part would be of no interest whatsoever to the Hays office.  

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  After many years of not being able to screen this movie,it finally appeared on TCM.  An excellent story with wonderful acting by Barrymore, Hopkins, Tone and Erwin. There is one major problem with the print shown on TCM tonight. About 60 seconds at the very end is missing. It does not end on such  a down note as seen on TCM tonight. I know !  I have the movie in my collection. I hope that if the Warner Archive plans to release a DVD of this movie,they will restore the missing footage. It is so much more uplifting.

 

can you describe the missing 60 sec.?? :unsure:

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can you describe the missing 60 sec.?? :unsure:

      I would be most happy to do that.  I thought my post was going to drift into thread oblivion. Glad to see there is someone out there who cares about completeness.  I am going to use capital letters. I am not yelling; just want to make things clear.

 

           TCM  VERSION  

 

MIRIAM HOPKINS AND FRANCHOT TONE  MEET BY A FENCE OUT IN THE FIELD. FRANCHOT TONE TELLS MIRIAM HOPKINS HE IS GOING TO ACCEPT THE COLLEGE TEACHING JOB. MIRIAM HOPKINS IS SAD BUT UNDERSTANDS. FRANCHOT TONE SAYS,"GOODBYE....YOU'RE A GRAND GIRL".  THEN WE SEE A CLOSE-UP OF A PLOW TILLING THE EARTH WITH THE WORDS THE END ON THE SCREEN.

       

         THE COMPLETE VERSION

          

MIRIAM HOPKINS AND FRANCHOT TONE MEET BY A FENCE OUT IN THE FIELD. FRANCHOT TONE TELLS MIRIAM HOPKINSHE IS GOING TO ACCEPT THE COLLEGE TEACHING JOB. MIRIAM HOPKINS IS SAD BUT UNDERSTANDS. FRANCHOT TONE SAYS,"GOODBYE....YOU'RE A GRAND GIRL".  STU ERWIN ATOP A HORSE APPEARS ON SCREEN AND YELLS TO MIRIAM HOPKINS,"COME ON BOSS, WE'RE STARTIN'".  A SMILING MIRIAM HOPKINS STILL STANDING NEXT TO FRANCHOT TONE SAYS TO FRANCHOT TONE,"BOSS...HE MEANS ME". AS SHE WALKS AWAY FROM FRANCHOT  TONE SHE WAVES GOODBYE AND RIDES OFF WITH STU ERWIN. SHE NOW HAS FULLY ACCEPTED HER NEW LIFE AS A FARMER AND COUNTRY GIRL. THEN , AS IN THE VERSION SHOWN ON TCM,WE SEE A CLOSE-UP OF A PLOW TILLING THE EARTH WITH THE WORDS THE END ON THE SCREEN.

 

   I hope, not only you , but others who care about completeness will take note of what I have just written; especially the Warner Archive who might want to release this excellent film on DVD.

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      I would be most happy to do that.  I thought my post was going to drift into thread oblivion. Glad to see there is someone out there who cares about completeness.  I am going to use capital letters. I am not yelling; just want to make things clear.

 

           TCM  VERSION  

 

MIRIAM HOPKINS AND FRANCHOT TONE  MEET BY A FENCE OUT IN THE FIELD. FRANCHOT TONE TELLS MIRIAM HOPKINS HE IS GOING TO ACCEPT THE COLLEGE TEACHING JOB. MIRIAM HOPKINS IS SAD BUT UNDERSTANDS. FRANCHOT TONE SAYS,"GOODBYE....YOU'RE A GRAND GIRL".  THEN WE SEE A CLOSE-UP OF A PLOW TILLING THE EARTH WITH THE WORDS THE END ON THE SCREEN.

       

         THE COMPLETE VERSION

          

MIRIAM HOPKINS AND FRANCHOT TONE MEET BY A FENCE OUT IN THE FIELD. FRANCHOT TONE TELLS MIRIAM HOPKINSHE IS GOING TO ACCEPT THE COLLEGE TEACHING JOB. MIRIAM HOPKINS IS SAD BUT UNDERSTANDS. FRANCHOT TONE SAYS,"GOODBYE....YOU'RE A GRAND GIRL".  STU ERWIN ATOP A HORSE APPEARS ON SCREEN AND YELLS TO MIRIAM HOPKINS,"COME ON BOSS, WE'RE STARTIN'".  A SMILING MIRIAM HOPKINS STILL STANDING NEXT TO FRANCHOT TONE SAYS TO FRANCHOT TONE,"BOSS...HE MEANS ME". AS SHE WALKS AWAY FROM FRANCHOT  TONE SHE WAVES GOODBYE AND RIDES OFF WITH STU ERWIN. SHE NOW HAS FULLY ACCEPTED HER NEW LIFE AS A FARMER AND COUNTRY GIRL. THEN , AS IN THE VERSION SHOWN ON TCM,WE SEE A CLOSE-UP OF A PLOW TILLING THE EARTH WITH THE WORDS THE END ON THE SCREEN.

 

   I hope, not only you , but others who care about completeness will take note of what I have just written; especially the Warner Archive who might want to release this excellent film on DVD.

Thanks for telling us what the original real ending is.  Sounds better.  I can't understand why "the powers that be" cut the last minute out.  Amazing are the screen mutilations big and small that take place for no good reason or seemingly for no good reason.

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Thanks for telling us what the original real ending is.  Sounds better.  I can't understand why "the powers that be" cut the last minute out.  Amazing are the screen mutilations big and small that take place for no good reason or seemingly for no good reason.

 

   You're quite welcome. I wonder if "the powers that be" will restore the missing footage. If I have it,they should have it. If they care...???

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   You're quite welcome. I wonder if "the powers that be" will restore the missing footage. If I have it,they should have it. If they care...???

 

The Stranger's Returns is a Pre-Code movies.   Often pre-code movies were re-released after the production code was enforced in July 1934,  and changes were made to the movie because of the code.     Note that this is just one reason there are multiple versions of films.  e.g.  there were different versions for different parts of the country (theaters in the south and midwest would get a different version than theaters in the west or northeast),   US versions (usually with a ligher ending),  verses European versions (with a more realistic \ darker ending),   there were versions for the troops overseas and than the US release (e.g. The Big Sleep)  etc...

 

So in many ways there is no such thing as the 'original' version.   e.g. what is 'original' for the south isn't the same for the west.

 

The owners of the copyright decides what version they release.  Do they care?  Well in most cases NO.   They are releasing a movie to make money not to protect the integrity of the film as art.   In the perfect world all versions would be made available so one could choose which one they want.

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The Stranger's Returns is a Pre-Code movies.   Often pre-code movies were re-released after the production code was enforced in July 1934,  and changes were made to the movie because of the code.     Note that this is just one reason there are multiple versions of films.  e.g.  there were different versions for different parts of the country (theaters in the south and midwest would get a different version than theaters in the west or northeast),   US versions (usually with a ligher ending),  verses European versions (with a more realistic \ darker ending),   there were versions for the troops overseas and than the US release (e.g. The Big Sleep)  etc...

 

So in many ways there is no such thing as the 'original' version.   e.g. what is 'original' for the south isn't the same for the west.

 

The owners of the copyright decides what version they release.  Do they care?  Well in most cases NO.   They are releasing a movie to make money not to protect the integrity of the film as art.   In the perfect world all versions would be made available so one could choose which one they want.

     I beg to differ with you. Not all versions should be made available. The version that really matters is the one directed by the director, King Vidor.  By the way, the complete version I have is on a disc and doesn't look to be that old. I would venture to guess that it might have been on TNT before TCM ever got started.

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     I beg to differ with you. Not all versions should be made available. The version that really matters is the one directed by the director, King Vidor.  By the way, the complete version I have is on a disc and doesn't look to be that old. I would venture to guess that it might have been on TNT before TCM ever got started.

 

Well I don't agree that the only one that matters is the one the director approved of.   While I agree the director is the main person responsible for the final content of a film in the studio-era the producer had major power over the final content especially over a director that was under contract with the studio.    Often input from the producer lead to a better 'final' product and often the best movies released during the studio era were when the producer and the director were able to work together as a team.    e.g.  Hal Wallis and Michael Curtiz at Warner Brothers.  

 

Darryl Zanuck is a producer that clearly had a hand in the process and I would argue that a Zanuck produced movie is just as driven by his vision as that of the director he hired for the job.   Of course there are many other examples.

 

Also,  some screenwriters would disagree with your POV big time;  e.g. BIlly Wilder.   He became a director because he felt directors were not doing his screenplays justice.  So he was both the producer and director.  I'm sure there are other screenwriters and book authors that wished the director had less control and that there was a stronger producer to rein them in when necessary. 

 

Directors can be full of themselves just like anyone else in the movie making process and if they were granted total control over the movies made during the studio era I believe the final product wouldn't be as good as what was actually released.   i.e. directors had to be reined in and this produced a better product.

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Thanks to Cody for starting this thread, and thanks especially for pointing out the missing footage of the ending, which I thought felt a little truncated (it was a bad print with a constant hiss and some curious jump cuts that seemed to be where scenes had been lost throughout the movie.)

 

This was a film I'd never even heard of, but as Lionel as actually my favorite of the Barrymores and j'adore Mimsy Hopkins, I made it a point to check it out, and overall I liked it- although there were moments where I was a little unsure of whether I'd end up liking or not.

 

It was a curious, but overall good film- the reason why I love pre-codes so much because not only were they made back when some movies still told intimate, simple stories about "little" people (before TV and later the internet changed the game so that movies had be BIG BIG BIG with as many explosions and CGI rocket ships crashing into the Chrysler Building as possible) but they also told real stories about real people and all the messy little complications encountered by real people living their lives- no preoccupation with sewing up loose ends and moral ambiguities the way things were post 1934. (notice we never met Miriam Hopkins' husband and there was no talk of reconciliation.)

 

I think the character I Liked best was the farm boy, played by Stuart (sp?) Erwin- who some three years later would be an Oscar nominee for his leading role in Pigskin Parade (albeit in the supporting category- it was the first year it was given and they hadn't worked all the kinks out.) I think the performance I liked best was by Beulah Bondi who I think was really at her best playing dried up, hate-filled, malicious old women- there is another movie called Two Alone, which would make a great companion to The Stranger's Return wherein she plays the awful, bitter wife of a nasty farmer who conspires with him to keep their young laborer and indentured servant of a housemaid apart although they are in love. It showed on TCM a while back and was just excellent- almost Dickensian.

 

Overall, The Stranger's Return (sic?) was worth watching again and I hope they encore it- but what the hell was that "harvest dinner" scene about when Miriam has to serve everyone and they run her ragged fetching butter and drinks and such.) in real life, I seriously doubt Miss Hopkins would've agreed so readily to wait T table.

 

(Ask Miriam to get up, walk over, and hand you the cream for your coffee and you're liable to be wearing both.)

 

ps- a Friday Night Spotlight on Agricultural Movies would be intriguing.

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   By the way,there is another adaptation of a Philip Stong novel that never gets played on TCM for one reason or another. I don't have it. I have never seen it. It's called VILLAGE TALE, made at RKO in 1935 with Randolph Scott and Kay Johnson. See what Leonard Maltin has to say about it in one of his yearly film guides.

 

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   By the way,there is another adaptation of a Philip Stong novel that never gets played on TCM for one reason or another. I don't have it. I have never seen it. It's called VILLAGE TALE, made at RKO in 1935 with Randolph Scott and Kay Johnson. See what Leonard Maltin has to say about it in one of his yearly film guides.

just did a goole search, which in turn took me to...TCM and a review from Leonard's book! Has the review changed thru the years?

D: John Cromwell. Randolph Scott, Kay Johnson, Arthur Hohl, Robert Barrat, Janet Beecher, Edward Ellis, Dorothy Burgess. Little- known, well-acted adaptation of a Phil Stong novel, focusing on unhappy wife Johnson and her desire for bachelor Scott. Highly unusual (for its time) in its depiction of the underbelly of small-town life, filled with gossip, prejudice, and hypocrisy.

 

Sounds a bit like the Columbia film Party Wire, with Jean Arthur, and Victor Jory, also from 1935

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just did a goole search, which in turn took me to...TCM and a review from Leonard's book! Has the review changed thru the years?

D: John Cromwell. Randolph Scott, Kay Johnson, Arthur Hohl, Robert Barrat, Janet Beecher, Edward Ellis, Dorothy Burgess. Little- known, well-acted adaptation of a Phil Stong novel, focusing on unhappy wife Johnson and her desire for bachelor Scott. Highly unusual (for its time) in its depiction of the underbelly of small-town life, filled with gossip, prejudice, and hypocrisy.

 

Sounds a bit like the Columbia film Party Wire, with Jean Arthur, and Victor Jory, also from 1935

   Yes, that's the review I am referring to.  Mr. Maltin gave it 3 stars. I must say 90 % of the time I agree with his reviews.

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Thank you obrienmundy for referencing the Leonard Maltin blog article.  For completeness I thought I should mention that Leonard M. also refers to a nice article written by Jeremy Arnold as part of the TCM Film Festival screening earlier this year.  (If interested, go to

 

http://2014.filmfestival.tcm.com/about/blog/

 

and click on the THE STRANGER'S RETURN link at the top.)

 

In his article, Jeremy quotes King Vidor who felt after viewing the film in the 70's that some other scenes were missing.  This may explain what appears to be some other jumps during the portion of the film after the big banquet when Guy is embracing Louise and they are caught by Beatrice.

 

Regardless, it's great to get to see the wonderful performances on TCM, and here's hoping we may live to see a fully restored version on DVD at some point.

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