This Mad World

(1930) 70 min. b&w

Basil Rathbone and Kay Johnson

"This Mad World" is a romantic melodrama that, although well-acted, was not a success. I have not seen the film, so I cannot offer my own review of it. What follows is a summary of two reviews, one from the TV Guide Movie Database, and one from Michael Druxman's book Basil Rathbone: His Life and Films*. Except for the first two photos, the pictures on this page are thumbnails that link to larger photos.

Rathbone plays Paul, a French secret agent in the First World War, who travels behind enemy lines into Alsace-Lorraine on a mission. His mother runs an inn in Alsace-Lorraine, so Paul stops by to visit with her. While staying at his mother's inn, Paul meets and falls in love with Victoria, a guest at the inn, and the wife of a German general. Paul and Victoria carry on a passionate romance until Victoria learns that Paul was responsible for the death of her nephew. In retaliation Victoria betrays Paul and informs the Germans. Agonizing over the betrayal, Victoria commits suicide. Subsequently Paul is executed by the Germans. Paul's mother accepts her son's death stoically and plans to carry out his mission. "A gloomy picture which was far from uplifting for a Depression era audience." (TV Guide)

"Although Rathbone turned in an above-par performance as the film's hero, as did Kay Johnson playing opposite him, they were hindered by a pedestrian script, which marred the entire project." (Druxman)

* Basil Rathbone: His Life and His Films, by Michael B. Druxman (South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes), 1975. (Out of print, but available from the author. If interested click here.)


Basil Rathbone and Kay Johnson
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Basil Rathbone and Kay Johnson
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Basil Rathbone and Louise Dresser
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Basil Rathbone and Louise Dresser
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Basil Rathbone and Louise Dresser
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Basil Rathbone and Kay Johnson
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Basil Rathbone and Louise Dresser
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Rathbone and Louis Natheaux
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Louis Natheaux, Louise Dresser, 
Rathbone and Kay Johnson
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Louis Natheaux, Rathbone and Kay Johnson
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Left and above: two posters for the film

 

Cast

Credits

Basil Rathbone.............................Paul
Kay Johnson...........................Victoria
Louise Dresser.........................Pauline
Veda Buckland............................Anna
Louis Natheaux...........................Emile
Production Co. ..........................MGM
Director..................William C. DeMille
Writers..........................Clara Beranger
.... .Arthur Caeser (based on the play "Terre Inhumaine, Drame en Trois Actes" by Francois de Curel)

Cinematographers.....Peverell Marley 
.............................Harold (Hal) Rosson
Editor..........................Anne Bauchens
Art Director.................Cedric Gibbons
Sound Engineers.........J.K. Brock and 
            Douglas Shearer
Costume Design.......................Adrian

 

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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2007