AUGUST WEEK END
US, 1936, 62 minutes, Black-and-white.
Valerie Hobson, Paul Harvey, Betty Compson, Frank Melton, Maynard Holmes.
Directed by Charles Lamont.
This is very much a drawing-room drama and comedy, very much of the mid-930s.
It sets the tone (rather pre-Code) with an older financier wooing a young woman whose finances he has managed and even supplemented when she was going broke. In the background, there are signs that he will be exposed for financial mismanagement. He is played by Paul Harvey. The young woman is played by British Valerie Hobson who spent some time in the 30s in Hollywood before returning to very British films.
There are several characters introduced, especially the patient and faithful wife of the financier, his rather fickle and moody young daughter. There is also another financier who is living on the edge and is also keen on the young woman but the financier wanting him to marry his daughter.
These are some of the guests as well as the daughter of the caretaker, a former financial man who fell on hard times because of the financier. And there is a jolly, large man who is also in love, along with a moody actress who is in need of money, tries borrowing, stages the stealing of her necklace.
The theme of the film is that the moneyed class are not particularly moral, not particularly happy as they make money their goal (even the daughter of the caretaker who disappoints her father and wants to elope with the rather socialist-minded college student, son of the financier).
So, the film is rather a moralising story are about fickle characters, questioning goals of money, helping the characters to some kind of moral reform.
The film was directed by Charles Lamont, Russian origin, who worked with Max Sennet, directed a number of dramas during the 1930s and 1940s but then moved to comedies at Universal Studios, many for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, some of the Ma and Pa Kettle films as well as one of the Francis films.