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Three Sons (1939)

Approved | | Drama | 13 October 1939 (USA)
A poor merchant grows a highly successful department store in Chicago with the purpose of providing for his four children's future. He is misguided in thinking that giving them everything ... See full summary »


Jack Hively


John Twist (screen play), Lester Cohen (novel)


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Complete credited cast:
Edward Ellis ... Daniel Pardway
William Gargan ... Thane Pardway
Kent Taylor ... Gene Pardway
J. Edward Bromberg ... Abe Ullman
Katharine Alexander ... Abigail Pardway
Virginia Vale ... Phoebe Pardway
Kirby Grant ... Bert Pardway (as Robert Stanton)
Dick Hogan ... Freddie Pardway
Grady Sutton ... Grimson
Pamela Blake ... Mamie Donaldson (as Adele Pearce)
Alexander D'Arcy ... Prince Nicky - Phoebe's Husband
Barbara Pepper ... Viola


A poor merchant grows a highly successful department store in Chicago with the purpose of providing for his four children's future. He is misguided in thinking that giving them everything they want would give them the same ambition that he has to only find out their spoiled lives leads the oldest to a scandalous shooting cover-up, the daughter has a highly public failed marriage, the third child pursues a music career while the youngest leaves to live on the streets. Written by John M Baughn

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Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 October 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tres hijos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


William Gargan, who plays Uncle Thane here, played oldest son Gene Pardway in the 1933 version titled "Sweepings." See more »

Crazy Credits

Right after the director credit, an additional credit states "In this picture you will see Virginia Vale and Robert Stanton, selected through the second Jesse L. Lasky's 'Gateway to Hollywood' talent search," with photos of both players, their names and character names. See more »


Version of Sweepings (1933) See more »


Tales From the Vienna Woods, Op.325
(1868) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
English lyricist unknown
Played by the band in a Vienna biergarten and
Sung by Virginia Vale and others
See more »

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User Reviews

Three sons...and a daughter.
6 November 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Back in 1933, RKO made a dandy film--one of their best of the era. "Sweepings" starred Lionel Barrymore (on load from MGM) and it was the saga of Daniel Pardway, a man who built up a large and incredibly successful department store. During the course of this rise to power, Pardway got rich and spared his four children nothing. He sent them to the best schools and they traveled extensively. But, ultimately, by the end of the film they turned out to be rather worthless...and self-absorbed. And, as Pardway was nearing the end of his life, he finally comes to realize that it was all for nothing.

Now, in 1939, RKO decided to remake the film and, oddly, entitled it "Three Sons"...odd because it's the story of Pardway, his three sons AND a daughter! It's still the same basic plot...but it offers nothing in the way of originality and offers no improvement over the original. In fact, if anything, the original was better--mostly because Barrymore was perfect and the new cast never quite reached his level of acting and realism. Now this isn't to say "Three Sons" is a bad film...the original plot is essentially there. But if you had to see one version, see the original...it's the best.

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