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Brother Orchid (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 8 June 1940 (USA)
When retired racket boss John Sarto tries to reclaim his place and former friends try to kill him, he finds solace in a monastery and reinvents himself as a pious monk.

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writers:

Earl Baldwin (screen play), Richard Connell (based on the story by: Collier's Magazine)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward G. Robinson ... Little John Sarto
Ann Sothern ... Flo Addams
Humphrey Bogart ... Jack Buck
Donald Crisp ... Brother Superior
Ralph Bellamy ... Clarence Fletcher
Allen Jenkins ... Willie The Knife
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Brother Wren
Cecil Kellaway ... Brother Goodwin
Morgan Conway ... Philadelphia Powell
Richard Lane ... Mugsy O'Day
Paul Guilfoyle ... Red Martin
John Ridgely ... Texas Pearson
Joseph Crehan ... Brother MacEwen
Wilfred Lucas ... Brother MacDonald
Tom Tyler ... Curley Matthews
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Storyline

Gang boss Little John Sarto returns from Europe where he was looking for "class" to find the new gang leader Jack Burns unwilling to relinquish his control. When Sarto puts together a rival gang he gets wounded and seeks refuge in a monastery. He is gradually transformed by the simple, sincere brothers and, after one last gangland appearance, decides he has found class at last in the monastery. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

We'd like youse to meet Brother Orchid!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 June 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Orchid, der Gangsterbruder See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

Possibly deliberate mistake by the film makers, when John Sarto goes to get Willie the Knife (Allen Jenkins) released from the SanatoRium, the sign of the institution is misspelt "Pattonsville Private Sanitarium" See more »

Quotes

Flo Addams: Now, wait a minute, Clarence. Johnny didn't never say no such thing.
Little Johnny Sarto: Certainly, I didn't. I never said anything about you. Never even thought anything about you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Footsteps in the Dark (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

My Little Buckaroo
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by M.K. Jerome
Lyrics by Jack Scholl
Played on piano by John Ridgely
Sung by John Ridgely, Tom Tyler and Dick Wessel
See more »

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User Reviews

A Versatile Robinson, An Irrelevant Bogart
3 May 2002 | by lawprofSee all my reviews

Worth renting or catching on late night TV, "Brother Orchid" is a 1940 hybrid, a film that uneasily coasts between comedy and drama. With both Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart capturing theater marquees with both violent crime and some serious drama roles this film is sort of a detour but it's a good one.

Robinson plays a gangster chief who quits the mob to undertake a long and financially ruinous Grand Tour of Europe. Returning to the U.S. he is astounded to discover that he can't pick up the reins he once held firmly and that his former underboss, Bogart, wants him out of the way - permanently. Bogart's talent is not very much on display in this movie.

Robinson winds up hiding in a friary populated by gentle souls and, of course, his condition is gentled under their patient ministration.

Ann Sothern is terrific as his "fiancee," a gang moll waiting long and patiently for the march to the altar. Ralph Bellamy is amusing as a Western rancher who exudes a patience and understanding more often associated with saints than cowboys.

For those who enjoy the pre-World War II Hollywood crime films this one is just different enough from the formula, and very violent, ones.


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