The House of Rothschild

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This article is about a film. For the banking family, see Rothschild family.
The House of Rothschild
The House of Rothschild poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alfred L. Werker
Produced by William Goetz
Raymond Griffith
Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by George Hembert Westley (playwright)
Nunnally Johnson (screenwriter)
Starring George Arliss
Loretta Young
Boris Karloff
Music by Alfred Newman
Cinematography J. Peverell Marley
Edited by Barbara McLean
Allen McNeil
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • April 7, 1934 (1934-04-07)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The House of Rothschild is a 1934 American Pre-Code film written by Nunnally Johnson from the play by George Hembert Westley, and directed by Alfred L. Werker. It chronicles the biographical story of the rise of the Rothschild family of European bankers.


The film begins at the home of Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812) and his wife Guttle Schnapper (1770–1812). As one of their sons sees the taxman coming, they hurry and hide their wealth, including currency, silver, etc. However, the taxman finds some of it hidden in the basement, and decides to charge Rothschild less than the amount due, but keep the money with him. Later, as Mayer Amschel Rothschild is lying on his deathbed, he instructs his five sons to start banks in different countries across Europe: Amschel Mayer Rothschild (1773–1855) in Germany, Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (1774–1855) in Austria, Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777–1836) in England, Carl Mayer von Rothschild (1788–1855) in Italy, and James Mayer de Rothschild (1792–1868) in France. As they funded both sides of the Napoleonic Wars of 1803–15, they aim to gain respectability from the European nobility, which shuns them and refuses to treat them as equals because they are Jews. However, at the end of film, the House of Rothschild buys when all of society sells their own country stock, and because of faith became the rich and respected through a moral decision to buy against the tyranny over Jews.


Its final sequence was one of the first shot in the three-strip Technicolor process, along with the MGM musical The Cat and the Fiddle, released in February 1934.



The film was the biggest hit of the year for Twentieth Century Pictures.[1] It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

A scene from The House of Rothschild was used in the German antisemitic propaganda film The Eternal Jew (1940)[2] without the permission of the copyright holders.


  1. ^ Douglas W. Churchill, 'The Year in Hollywood: 1984 May Be Remembered as the Beginning of the Sweetness-and-Light Era', The New York Times, December 30, 1934: X5
  2. ^ Barnouw, Erik (1993). Documentary: a history of the non-fiction film. Oxford University Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-19-507898-5. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 

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