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Brother Orchid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brother Orchid
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLloyd Bacon
Written byEarl Baldwin
Jerry Wald
Richard Macaulay
Based onBrother Orchid
1938 story
by Richard Connell
Produced byHal B. Wallis
Mark Hellinger
StarringEdward G. Robinson
Ann Sothern
Humphrey Bogart
CinematographyTony Gaudio
Edited byWilliam Holmes
Music byHeinz Roemheld
Release dates
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States

Brother Orchid is a 1940 American crime/comedy film directed by Lloyd Bacon and starring Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sothern and Humphrey Bogart, with featured performances by Donald Crisp, Ralph Bellamy and Allen Jenkins. The screenplay was written by Earl Baldwin, with uncredited contributions from Jerry Wald and Richard Macauley, based on a story by Richard Connell originally published in Collier's Magazine on May 21, 1938.[1] Prior to the creation of the movie version of Connell's story, a stage adaptation was written by playwright/novelist Leo Brady. The script was originally produced at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

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Crime boss Little John Sarto retires suddenly, giving leadership of his gang to Jack Buck, while he leaves for a tour of Europe to acquire "class". However, Sarto is repeatedly swindled and finally loses all his money.

He decides to return home and take back his gang, as if nothing has changed after five years, but Buck has him thrown out of his office. The only ones who remain loyal to Sarto are his girlfriend Flo Addams and Willie "the Knife" Corson. Sarto raises a new gang and starts encroaching on Buck's territory.

When Flo tries to get Buck to reconcile with Sarto, Buck sees his chance. He agrees, getting Flo to lure Sarto to a tavern without telling him why. Flo is not totally fooled; she brings along a strong, good-natured admirer, mid-western rancher Clarence P. Fletcher, just in case, but he is knocked out by Buck's men. Sarto is taken for a ride, believing Flo has double-crossed him.

Sarto escapes, but is shot several times. He manages to make his way to the Floracian monastery, a group of charitable agriculturalists run by Brother Superior. Finding it a good place to hide out, Sarto signs up as a novice, naming himself "Brother Orchid". At first, he treats it as a joke, calling the monks the "biggest chumps in the world", but the kindness and simple life of the brothers begin to change his opinion.

Then Sarto sees a newspaper announcement that Flo is going to marry Clarence. He rides into the city with Brother Superior when he goes to sell the flowers that provide the monastery's meager income. After Flo gets over the shock of seeing Sarto alive, she proves she did not betray him and agrees to break up with Clarence.

Sarto breaks the news to Brother Superior that he is leaving, but then learns that the flowers have not been sold. The "protective association" run by Buck bans flower growers that do not pay for its services. Buck is hiding out from the police, but Sarto has a good idea where he is. Reinforced by Clarence and some of his friends from Montana, Sarto pays a visit to the association and a brawl breaks out. When the police arrive, Sarto presents them with Buck and his men. Then, he gives up Flo to Clarence and returns to the monastery, where he has finally found "real class".


Cast notes

Award nominations

American Film Institute

See also


External links

This page was last edited on 20 September 2023, at 01:28
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