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Mothers Cry (1930)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 7 December 1930 (USA)
A widowed mother must struggle to raise her four children. She insists that the youngest of them, who turns out to be a gifted architect, must leave the family in order to save his career and to avoid a scandal.


Hobart Henley


Helen Grace Carlisle (from the novel by), Lenore J. Coffee (screen version)

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Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Peterson ... Mary Williams
Helen Chandler ... Beattie Williams
David Manners ... Arthur 'Artie' Williams
Edward Woods ... Daniel 'Danny' Williams
Evalyn Knapp ... Jenny Williams
Sidney Blackmer ... Mr. Gerald Hart
Jean Laverty ... Sadye Noonan Williams (as Jean Bary)
Pat O'Malley ... Frank Williams


Having raised four children alone, widow Mary Williams still manages to love her eldest son, vicious and sadistic Danny Williams, who has led a life of crime and now returns to inflict his insane behavior on the family household. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A mother who reaches the height of glory, and her children who drag her to the depths of disgrace. (Print Ad-Register-Herald, ((Pine Plains, NY)) 26 February 1931)


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »





English | German

Release Date:

7 December 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mother's Cry See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Turner Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Vitaphone (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reels #4559-4566 and #4530 (trailer) See more »


Let Me Call You Sweetheart
(1910) (uncredited)
Music by Leo Friedman
Played as background music and danced by Helen Chandler and Sidney Blackmer
See more »

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User Reviews

campy but watchable
30 October 2003 | by paulwlSee all my reviews

This family weepie takes full advantage of the static, austere feel of genre filmmaking in the early sound years. In no way exceptional, even for 1930, "Mother's Cry" and its actors nonetheless do the job, despite some talky speechifying and a particularly tacked-on ending. Edward Woods (not the 50s schlock director, although they share a fondness for heavy eyeliner) plays eldest brother Danny Williams, gangster in the making and prime mover of the plot. With his insane mugging, canned "I'll-say-she-isms" and tight-vested jazzbo suit, he's a regulation foot soldier in the Vitaphone crim army. Woods is better, and better remembered, as sidekick to Jimmy Cagney in "The Public Enemy," made the following year. The family home, where the camera stands as still as the 1900 furniture, offers a bit of subtext for dedicated pre-Coders. Silver-haired Ma Williams clucks and gushes in expected manner over budding architect Artie (beta-male lead David Manners) and baby sister Beattie (the exquisitely fragile Helen Chandler). These two cuddle, kiss and coo in a way not at all appropriate for siblings. Meanwhile, older sister Jennie marries much older Karl, whose only role is to add German (Yiddish?) comedy relief and father cuddly twin babies. Danny's crimes eventually strike closer to home than we expect, as he falls victim to an appalling failure of judgment. Here, near the end, occurs some real heart-tugging drama. The ultimate happy ending isn't worthy of that pre-climax (to give you an idea, it implies Artie has designed the Chrysler Building, which changes appearance three times in one short sequence).

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