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Mothers Cry is a 1930 American Pre-Code drama film released by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., and directed by Hobart Henley. The movie stars Dorothy Peterson, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Evalyn Knapp and Sidney Blackmer. The film is based on the popular novel of the same name written by Helen Grace Carlisle.[1]

Mothers Cry
Mothers Cry 1930 Poster.jpg
theatrical poster
Directed byHobart Henley
Produced byRobert North
Screenplay byLenore J. Coffee
Based onMothers Cry
(1930 novel)
by Helen Grace Carlisle
StarringDorothy Peterson
Helen Chandler
David Manners
Sidney Blackmer
Evalyn Knapp
Music byDavid Mendoza
Erno Rapee
CinematographyGilbert Warrenton
Edited byFrank Ware
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December¬†7,¬†1930¬†(1930-12-07) (US)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States



The film is focused on the life of widowed mother Mary Williams (Dorothy Peterson) and her struggles to raise her four children. Daniel (Edward Woods), her eldest, torments her and his siblings throughout his childhood and grows up to be a criminal. Younger son Arthur (David Manners) grows up to be a successful architect. Daughter Jennie (Evalyn Knapp) loves domestic work and homelife and is courted by Karl Muller (Reinhold Pasch), a wealthy older gentleman. The other daughter, Beattie (Helen Chandler), grows up to be an idealistic dreamer.

One day Daniel doublecrosses some gangsters, who beat him up, and he disappears for three years, returning with a moll whom he introduces as his wife. Meanwhile, Jennie has married Muller. Detectives trail Daniel to his mother's house as a suspect in a holdup. He later reappears at the house with a blackmail scheme and ends up shooting and murdering his own sister Beattie. He is convicted of cold-blooded murder and sent to the electric chair. The film ends with Mary finding consolation in her two remaining children.



A censored version of this film survives, prepared for re-release after June 1934 to remove pre-code material, which is missing at least two minutes of footage. This version has been broadcast on television and cable. The film has been released on DVD by the Warner Archive Collection.

The Library of Congress has long held a copy of the surviving version of this film.[2]



  1. ^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:..Mother's Cry
  2. ^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress (<-book title) p.121 c.1978 the American Film Institute

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