Captain Applejack Film Details
Overview: An ordinary man is confronted by gangsters who have reason to believe a treasure is buried somewhere on his property.
Review: “Captain Applejack” (1931) with John Halliday, Mary Brian, Louise Closser Hale, Kay Strozzi, Alec B. Francis, Claud Allister, Julia Swayne Gordon, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Otto Hoffman, and William B. Davidson is the perfect example of how tastes change over a one hundred year period. This began as a play in 1921 which ran again in Chicago in 1923, the same year it was turned into a silent film called “Strangers of the Night” (Otto Hoffman played the same character he played later in the ’31 version); then this film was made. By 1931 the story was already very much old hat. This film was directed by Hobart Henley, and the sound effects of wind and rain are ceaseless and by the end annoying and very fake. The film is a mystery/crime/comedy/Old Dark House drama. How do you combine all of these? 1920’s stage could easily do this, and it was very popular. With films like “Frankenstein”, “Dracula”, “The Old Dark House”, etc., etc., etc., the genre developed well over-and-above what “Captain Applejack” seemed to be. It is loads of fun in its own way, but only to a crowd that enjoys what was being done in 1931 and before in theater transferred to the movies. To a modern crowd this film will be laughable! It’s supposed to be in some respects: it’s made to be smiled at the whole way through. The audience is supposed to smile WITH it. But this will be now laughed AT. Halliday, playing Ambrose Applejohn, is bored with all, and so has put up his old family mansion for sale. Seems that several are aware that somewhere in the old place a vast treasure is hidden that was put there centuries before by an earlier ancestor pirate called Captain Applejack. These several come in all shapes, sizes, sexes, and job descriptions, from Russian something-like-a-countess to a cop. Strozzi’s accent, by the way, is over-the-top just-plain-awful!! Not that her acting is any better. The former Broadway actress (1912-1936) only made one other film. She had been in a play in 1929 with Halliday, so their combo may have been because of the acquaintance. This is pure camp which I had seen once before years ago in an inferior print. The one I watched last night was the Warner Archive Collection release, and its sound is very, very antiquated and now truly scratchy and bad. It’s a Vitaphone sound release, and almost sounds as though it’s still sound-on-disc! Discs worn out! If you watch this as if it were a play being shown in a theater in 1929/30 you’ll enjoy it a lot and for what it is. If you watch it from the viewpoint of a filmic endeavor of 2021 you’ll turn it off within five minutes. I’ve now seen it twice all the way through. It was fun. But this kind of fun only needs to be experienced once or twice before it wears itself thin to the falling-through point. When you fall through you could hurt yourself, but only pride-wise…
Country: United States
Duration: 63 min
Genre: Crime, Comedy, Drama
Also known as: Captain Applejack