...One Third of a Nation... (1939)

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...One Third of a Nation... (1939) Poster

A fire in a run-down tenement building injures young Joey Rogers. Wealthy passerby Peter Cortlant rushes the boy and his attractive older sister Mary to the hospital and pays the medical ... See full summary »


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4 July 2019 | MartinHafer
| A bit idealistic...but worth seeing.
When the story begins, Peter (Leif Erickson) comes upon a burning tenement building. He watches in horror as the bodies pile up and when a small boy is badly injured, he rushes him and his sister, Mary (Sylvia Sidney), to the hospital...vowing to help with the medical expenses. However, later Peter is horrified to learn that he is the owner of this slum and its dilapidated condition was responsible for the fire. He vows to change things...but his family vows to fight him on this. What's to become of the changes? And, what about Mary? After all, Peter has fallen in love with her!

It's interesting that during the Great Depression, most films never mentioned it in any way. And, weirdly, most of the films were about rich, happy folks! A few studios, like Warner and RKO (maker of "....One Third of a Nation"), occasionally made movies about the lower depths of society at the time....well meaning films that pushed for change. As far as this film goes, it does lay it on a bit thick (such as the scenes where the tenement building 'talks' to the boy)...though in spite of a lack of subtlety, it is enjoyable and worth your time.

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