blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Sympathy (1929, Bryan Foy)

A scene from SYMPATHY, directed by Bryan Foy for Warner Bros.

Sympathy is a Vitaphone one-reeler about a married man (Hobart Cavanaugh) stepping out on his wife. It’s not his fault, of course, he was just responding to peer pressure.

Harry Shannon plays the peer in question and he’s awful. He drags Sympathy down for the first half. Once he’s absent and the wife, played by Regina Wallace, comes in, the short greatly improves.

Both Cavanaugh and Wallace are good–they only have a couple moments together, unfortunately. Sympathy doesn’t give its cast much to do, which might be a good thing since director Bryan Foy can’t shoot a picture.

Synchronized sound is in its infancy here, not filmmaking. Foy can’t figure out how to place actors on a set, can’t imply scale. If Sympathy weren’t just talking and some tepid slapstick, he’d do it a far greater disservice.

As is, it’s indistinct except as an example of early talkies.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Bryan Foy; written by Murray Roth and Edmund Joseph; director of photography, Edwin B. DuPar; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Hobart Cavanaugh (William Maxwell), Regina Wallace (Laura Maxwell), Harry Shannon (Larry), Wynne Gibson (Trixie) and Loretta Shea (Flo).


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