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Up the River (TCF Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart)

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Spencer Tracy’s first screen appearance (and Humphrey Bogart’s second) in a prison comedy by John Ford. Ex-con Tracy gets himself and former cell-mate Hymer thrown back into a pen, only this time it’s a comfy medium-security prison with lots of athletics, amateur theatricals, and romance with the women just over the wall. They’re joined by cell-mate Bogart, who gets mixed up in a romance with Luce and a blackmail plot by Wallace.

John Ford said Spencer Tracy, ‘Spence was as natural as if the camera wasn’t there, or if there had always been a camera when he acted before. His speech was decisive. He knew a straight line from a laugh line.’

production details
USA | Twentieth Century Fox | 85 minutes | 1930

Director: John Ford
Producer: William Fox
Original Story: Maurine Watkins
Cinematography: Joseph H. August
Editor: Frank E. Hull
Music: James F. Hanley
Joseph McCarthy
Script: William Collier
John Ford
Production Design: Duncan Cramer

cast
Spencer Tracy as Saint Louis
Warren Hymer as Dannemora Dan
Humphrey Bogart as Steve Jordan
Claire Luce as Judy Fields
William Collier Sr. as Pop
Joan Marie Lawes as Jean
Ward Bond as Inmate Socked by Saint Louis (uncredited)
Robert Emmett O’Connor as Prison Warden (uncredited)
Bob Burns as Slim – Bazooka Player (uncredited)

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