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The World Changes (1933)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 25 November 1933 (USA)
An ambitious farmer becomes a pioneer in the meat packing business, finding financial success but private disappointment over the course of many decades.


Mervyn LeRoy


Edward Chodorov (screenplay), Sheridan Gibney (story "America Kneels")


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Muni ... Orin Nordholm Jr.
Aline MacMahon ... Anna Nordholm
Mary Astor ... Virginia 'Ginny' Clafflin Nordholm
Donald Cook ... Richard Nordholm
Jean Muir ... Selma Peterson II / Her Grandaughter Selma II
Guy Kibbee ... James Clafflin
Patricia Ellis ... Natalie Clinton Nordholm
Theodore Newton ... Paul Nordholm
Margaret Lindsay ... Jennifer Clinton Nordholm
Gordon Westcott ... John Nordholm
Alan Dinehart ... Ogden Jarrett
Henry O'Neill ... Orin Nordholm Sr.
Anna Q. Nilsson ... Mrs. Peterson
Arthur Hohl ... Mr. Patten
William Janney ... Orin Nordholm III


A three-generations saga over many decades in which Orin Nordholm Jr. (Paul Muni), an ambitious Dakota farm boy of immigrant parents moves to Chicago and into the meat-packing business where he makes a fortune by inventing the refrigerated-railway-freight car or ice-boxes-on-wheels but is unhappy in his marriage to Virginia Claffin (Mary Astor), a snobbish socialite who is willing to accept his money but not his method of making it. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 November 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Kneels See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The story begins in 1856, at which time Anna Nordholm (Alice MacMahon) appears to be at least 30 years old. By the time the story wraps up, in the early 1930s, this would put her well past 100, a bit of a stretch considering the life expectancy of that era. See more »


At around an hour into the film, when Paul enters the office holding a newspaper, in the second shot of him, a moving shadow of the boom microphone is visible to the right of the doorway. See more »


Orin Nordholm Jr.: Ice boxes on wheels!... Ice boxes on wheels!... Ice boxes on wheels!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Title card: Dakota Territory 1856 See more »


Rosen aus dem Süden, Op. 388 (Roses from the South)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played at the party after Ginny makes the announcement
See more »

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User Reviews

Paul Muni ages for the first time
4 March 2019 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

Ladies, go out and rent The World Changes because Paul Muni is gorgeous! If you thought he was handsome as a brunette, just wait until you see him as a blond. Of course, by the end of the film, he's undergone severe age makeup, but feel free to drool your way through the first half of the film.

Paul lives out in the country with his family, but a chance meeting with Buffalo Bill, played by Douglass Dumbrille, inspires him to explore and make his way in the world. He gets a job in a meat-packing factory, and after marrying the boss's daughter, he transforms the industry. In addition to showing one man's struggle in the business world, the movie explores themes of ambition, ingratitude, family quarrels, and marital problems. Parts of the film are very good, but keep in mind that it was made in the early 1930s. It's worth noting that this was the first film Paul Muni made in which his character aged decades, something that would become his signature throughout his career.

Enjoy the eye candy, and the supporting cast, including Mary Astor, Guy Kibbee, Aline MacMahon, Margaret Lindsay, and Donald Cook, but you might want to watch a musical afterwards. The film takes place over several decades, and each time change shows a globe turning. The scene-change music can get stuck in your head quite easily.

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