Counsellor at Law (1933)

Counsellor at Law (1933)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Counsellor at Law Photos

Movie Info

Adapted from the play by Elmer Rice, this film is the story of a successful Jewish lawyer George Simon. Simon's wife and children look down upon him because of his humble upbringings, while his mother reprimands him for turning his back on his heritage.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


John Barrymore
as George Simon
Doris Kenyon
as Cora Simon
Bebe Daniels
as Regina "Rexy" Gordon
Onslow Stevens
as John P. Tedesco
Isabel Jewell
as Bessie Green
Melvyn Douglas
as Roy Darwin
Thelma Todd
as Lillian La Rue
Marvin Kline
as Weinberg
John Qualen
as Breitstein
Malka Kornstein
as Sarah Becker
Angela Jacobs
as Goldie Rindskopf
Clara Langsner
as Lena Simon
T.H. Manning
as Peter J. Malone
Elmer Brown
as F.C. Baird
Vincent Sherman
as Harry Becker
Bobby Gordon
as Henry Susskind
Barbara Perry
as Dorothy
Richard Quine
as Richard
Victor Adams
as David Simon
Mayo Methot
as Zedorah Chapman
Frederick Burton
as Crayfield
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Counsellor at Law

All Critics (8)

A swift, captivating record of '30s theatrical tropes

Full Review… | August 5, 2010

Wyler really started showing his skills with this outstanding film featuring a top-notch performance by John Barrymore.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Combustible Celluloid

Pre-Production Code leftist jewel

Full Review… | January 3, 2005

This comedy-drama is one of the best lawyer films made during any time period.

Full Review… | January 2, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Ótimo estudo de personagem que traz John Barrymore numa fascinante atuação repleta de energia e o diretor William Wyler seguro em uma produção intimista.

March 29, 2003
Cinema em Cena

Stupendously entertaining... As a specific, direct adaptation of a better than average play, it could scarcely be more efficient.

Full Review… | November 19, 2002

Audience Reviews for Counsellor at Law

imagine my surprise to find a movie I hadn't seen from my fave old Hollywood director and its a precode gem= double happiness!!

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

John Barrymore gives an amazing performance. This is one of his finest roles. The entire cast actually is quite good. Great pace, very well written with nicely developed characters. Very skillfully combines humor and heavy drama, thanks to William Wyler's superb direction.

James Higgins
James Higgins

This movie is set in an office in the Empire State Building. This is never actually important to the plot. However, the building was two years old when the movie came out--and presumably less than that when the play did!--and so had the advantage of novelty. Clearly, everything was very [i]modern[/i] if it happened in the Empire State Building. John Barrymore plays George Simon, now a rich and powerful attorney who grew up poor. (The movie summary on IMDB, practically the only supplemental information they have for this film, says he's Jewish, but I missed it.) He has married well. He is generally successful in his cases; he works a wide range of them, apparently preferring not to focus on any one branch of the law like a normal big-city lawyer. We see a client he's gotten off for murder. We see him interact with a woman from the Old Neighbourhood, who needs help with her wild anarchist son. And we see him deal with the aftermath of having faked an alibi for an old client. Obviously, the client cannot be retried for the crime; that would be double jeopardy. However, it is really, really not good for a lawyer to do that. The Bar Association takes a dim view of it, as does, you know, the law. Obstruction of justice and suborning perjury, they call it. Jack McCoy would shout at him. Then again, Jack McCoy shouts at [i]everyone[/i], so that doesn't mean much. I didn't really get into this movie much. I can't fault Barrymore for it; I can't fault William Wyler, the director. I think it must be the script. There is one moment of passion--where the anarchist (Harry Becker, played by Vincent Sherman, himself investigated by HUAC) criticizes George Simon for abandoning his roots to be the kind of lawyer who has an office in the Empire State Building. However, even when Simon is about to hurl himself out his office window, he doesn't seem all that worked up about anything. His wife leaves for Europe until he sorts out his problems; he doesn't care. He does, it seems, care about his work. The needs of a client are what drive him away from that window. Perhaps that's the point. It would be nice to believe there was one.

Edith Nelson
Edith Nelson

Counsellor at Law Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Counsellor at Law on our Movie forum!

News & Features