BEST ACTOR George Arliss, Academy Awards (1930)
NOMINATION Best Picture, Best Writing; Academy Awards (1930)
MEDAL OF HONOR Photoplay Awards (1929)
In the early days of sound film, one of Warner Bros.' big box-office draws was the aging stage actor George Arliss and, in Disraeli, Arliss scored his biggest box-office hit. He is at his best as the foxy British prime minister (in a role he created on-stage and re-created earlier in a 1921 silent film version of the same play). The film concerns the machinations of Disraeli in his efforts to secure the Suez Canal for England.
After his liberal opponent Gladstone defeats Disraeli's attempt to raise a line of credit to buy the Suez Canal, Disraeli retires to his country estate to plot a new strategy. When he intercepts a coded telegram from an Egyptian potentate indicating Egyptian financial problems and a willingness to make a deal on the canal, Disraeli jumps on the chance to secure funding from the Bank of England but is denied the credit. Searching for another funding source, he obtains the services of international banker Hugh Meyers (Ivan Simpson). However, when Disraeli's emissary arrives in Cairo with a check to purchase Suez, it is discovered that Meyer has gone bankrupt. Now Disraeli must enlist all his charm and wiles to persuade the Bank of England to honor the bad check.
- Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide
USA, 1978, 89 minutes, B&W
Directed by Alfred E. Green
Public Exhibition 16mm Rental also available