6.7/10
148
7 user 1 critic

Beg, Borrow or Steal (1937)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 3 December 1937 (USA)
A con man must pass himself off as the owner of a château on the French Riviera when he is expected to host his estranged daughter's wedding.

Director:

Wilhelm Thiele (as William Thiele)

Writers:

William C. White (short story), Leonard Lee (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frank Morgan ... Ingraham Steward
Florence Rice ... Joyce Steward
John Beal ... Count Bill Cherau
Janet Beecher ... Mrs. Agatha Steward
Herman Bing ... Von Giersdorff, aka Count Herman
Erik Rhodes ... Lefevre
George Givot ... Izmanov
E.E. Clive ... Lord Nigel Braemer
Tom Rutherford ... Horace Miller (as Tom Rutherfurd)
Cora Witherspoon ... Mrs. Elizabeth Miller
Reginald Denny ... Clifton Summitt
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Sascha
Harlan Briggs ... Mr. Virgil Miller
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Storyline

We find con-man Ingraham Steward living by his wits by steering wealthy Paris visitors to sellers of fake paintings and other assorted dodges. He and his wife, Agatha, have been separated for 15 years, but he promises to give their daughter, Joyce, a lavish wedding at his "château" in France. The fact that he doesn't have a château in France is just a minor trifle. He induces the caretaker, Bill Cherau, of a large country estate to allow it to be used for the wedding. The wedding party arrives and Bill falls madly in love with Joyce and she with him, but a gal has gotta do what a gal has gotta do, and her intended marriage to stuffed-shirt Horace Miller stays on the books. But Steward has a change of heart and he tells one and all that he and his friends, Von Gersdorff, Lefevre, Iznamof, Clifton Summitt and Sasch, are all frauds and crooks. Horace and his family stalk out, which is just fine with Joyce as her true love, the caretaker, is waiting on the grounds. That he turns out to be... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

3 December 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Huijarikerho See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This film received its initial television broadcast in Los Angeles Monday 20 May 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Chicago 5 June 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), by Memphis 29 August 1957 on WHBQ (Channel 13), by Seattle 30 August 1957 on KING (Channel 5), by Altoona PA 18 September 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), by Spokane 8 October 1957 on KHQ (Channel 6), by Philadelphia 10 December 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6) and by Honolulu 26 December 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13); its earliest documented telecasts in San Francisco occurred 1 December 1959 on KGO (Channel 7) and in New York City 29 November 1962 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »

Soundtracks

Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here
(1917)
Music by Theodore Morse and Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by Dolly Morse
Played by the orchestra after all guests have arrived
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Just an okay story that is brought to life thanks to an excellent ensemble cast and a lot of charm
2 June 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Just a few years later, the basic plot elements from BEG, BORROW OR STEAL were re-worked into THE WILD MAN OF BORNEO--and both starred Frank Morgan. However, of the two, BEG, BORROW OR STEAL is a far superior film due mostly to the great ensemble cast as well as its charm. BORNEO, by contrast, was a stale recycled idea and the film limped along solely on the power of Frank Morgan's acting--and it was not nearly enough to make the picture worth seeing.

So why is this a film good enough to earn a score of 7? Well, I already mentioned the cast. Morgan's character in both films is a bit of a scoundrel but this time he's accompanied by a group of five friends who are also crooks but exude charm. Later in the film, E. E. Clive makes a wonderful appearance and practically steals the show due to his funny delivery and great lines. This means that the entire production does NOT rest on Morgan's shoulders but is more of a group effort. Plus, the supporting actors are funny, whereas in BORNEO, they are at times pretty annoying. In addition to the acting, the music, direction and setting all work together to give the film a much needed infusion of charm and romance.

In many ways, this film also reminds me of some of W. C. Fields' films--ones where he is a bit of a rogue but by the end, everything works together to bring him a happy ending. A cute and enjoyable film from start to finish.


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