The Mad Genius

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This article is about the film. For the American football coach, see Mike Leach (coach).
The Mad Genius
The Mad Genius 1931 Poster.jpg
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Written by Harvey Thew
based on the play The Idol (1929) by Martin Brown
Starring John Barrymore
Marian Marsh
Donald Cook
Charles Butterworth
Music by David Mendoza conducting the Vitaphone Orchestra
Cinematography Barney McGill
Edited by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • November 7, 1931 (1931-11-07)
Running time 89 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Mad Genius (1931) is an all-talking pre-code horror drama film produced and distributed by Warner Bros. and directed by Michael Curtiz. The film stars John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Donald Cook, Charles Butterworth, and in small roles, Boris Karloff and Frankie Darro. The film is based on the play The Idol (1929) by Martin Brown, which opened in Great Neck, New York but never opened on Broadway.

Synopsis[edit]

A crippled puppeteer, Ivan Tsarakov (Barrymore), is frustrated that he will never dance ballet. He adopts a protegé, Fedor Ivanoff (Cook), whom he makes into the greatest dancer in the world. Fedor falls in love with a dancer, Nana Carlova (Marsh), but Tsarakov fears that she will ruin Fedor as a dancer. He tries to separate them and ultimately fires Nana from the ballet troupe. Fedor runs away with Nana to Paris, but Tsarakov has blacklisted him, and he cannot get ballet jobs and is reduced to working in a cabaret. Nana begs Tsarakov to give Fedor his job back. Tsarakov agrees, if Nana will leave Fedor and marry another man; she agrees. Fedor returns embittered; he sees Nana on opening night and realizes that she still loves him; he refuses to dance. Tsarakov threatens to kill him, but the ballet master, under the influence of drugs that Tsarakov has given him, kills Tsarakov. Fedor is reunited with Nana.

In the film Svengali, released earlier the same year, Barrymore played the title character who similarly manipulated the life of a female singer, also played by Marsh.

Production[edit]

Warner Bros. was so pleased by the box office returns for Svengali (1931) and their first talking feature The Terror (1928), also starring Barrymore and Marsh, that they rushed The Mad Genius into production, and released it on 7 November 1931.

Cast[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]