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Brother Orchid

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Genre  Comedy, Crime, Drama
Screenplay  Richard Connell
Language  English
7.1/10 IMDb

Director  Lloyd Bacon
Music director  Heinz Eric Roemheld
Country  United States
Brother Orchid movie poster
Writer  Richard Connell, Earl Baldwin, Jerry Wald
Release date  June 7, 1940 (1940-06-07) (New York City) June 8, 1940 (1940-06-08) (U.S.)
Cast  Edward G. Robinson (Little John T. 'Johnny' Sarto), Ann Sothern (Florence 'Flo' Addams), Humphrey Bogart (Jack Buck), Donald Crisp (Brother Superior), Ralph Bellamy (Clarence P. Fletcher), Allen Jenkins (Willie 'The Knife' Corson)
Similar movies  Blackhat, Salt, Brooklyn's Finest, Fair Game, Into Great Silence, The Monk
Tagline  We'd like youse to meet Brother Orchid!

Brother Orchid is a 1940 American crime/comedy film directed by Lloyd Bacon and starring Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sothern and Humphrey Bogart, with featured performances by Donald Crisp, Ralph Bellamy and Allen Jenkins. The screenplay was written by Earl Baldwin, with uncredited contributions from Jerry Wald and Richard Macauley, based on a story by Richard Connell originally published in Collier's Magazine on May 21, 1938.


Brother Orchid movie scenes

Brother orchid original trailer


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Crime boss Little John Sarto (Edward G. Robinson) retires suddenly, giving leadership of his gang to Jack Buck (Humphrey Bogart), while he leaves for a tour of Europe to acquire "class". However, Sarto is repeatedly swindled and finally loses all his money.

Brother Orchid Real Mens Talk Brother Orchid 1940 YouTube

He decides to return home and take back his gang, as if nothing has changed after five years, but Buck has him thrown out of his office. The only ones who remain loyal to Sarto are his girlfriend Flo Addams (Ann Sothern) and Willie "the Knife" Corson (Allen Jenkins). Sarto raises a new gang and starts encroaching on Buck's territory.

Brother Orchid Nice mug Edward G Robinson as BROTHER ORCHID 1940 Once upon a

When Flo tries to get Buck to reconcile with Sarto, Buck sees his chance. He agrees, getting Flo to lure Sarto to a tavern without telling him why. Flo is not totally fooled; she brings along a strong, good-natured admirer, mid-western rancher Clarence P. Fletcher (Ralph Bellamy), just in case, but he is knocked out by Buck's men. Sarto is taken for a ride, believing Flo has double crossed him.

Brother Orchid Watching with Warner BROTHER ORCHID 1940 Now Voyaging

Sarto escapes, but is shot several times. He manages to make his way to the Floracian monastery, run by Brother Superior (Donald Crisp). Finding it a good place to hide out, Sarto signs up as a novice, naming himself "Brother Orchid". At first, he treats it as a joke, calling the monks the "biggest chumps in the world", but the kindness and simple life of the brothers begins to change his opinion.

Brother Orchid Brother Orchid

Then Sarto sees a newspaper announcement that Flo is going to marry Clarence. He rides into the city with Brother Superior when he goes to sell the flowers that provide the monastery's meager income. After Flo gets over the shock of seeing Sarto alive, she proves she did not betray him and agrees to break up with Clarence.

Brother Orchid Brother Orchid

Sarto breaks the news to Brother Superior that he is leaving, but then learns that the flowers have not been sold. The "protective association" run by Buck bans flower growers that do not pay for its services. Buck is hiding out from the police, but Sarto has a good idea where he is. Reinforced by Clarence and some of his friends from Montana, Sarto pays a visit to the association and a brawl breaks out. When the police arrive, Sarto presents them with Buck and his men. Then, he gives up Flo to Clarence and returns to the monastery, where he has finally found "real class".


Cast notes
  • James Cagney was originally intended to play the lead role.
  • Producer Hal Wallis wanted Lee Patrick to play the role of Flo, but producer Mark Hellinger appealed directly to Warner Bros. head of production Jack L. Warner to have Ann Sothern cast in the part.
  • At the time that the film was made, Robinson was attempting to expand the kind of roles he played, having gotten bored with playing gangsters. He agreed to play the lead in Brother Orchid in return for being cast in the historical drama A Dispatch from Reuter's.
  • Brother Orchid is one of five films that Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart made together. The others were Bullets or Ballots (1936), Kid Galahad (1937), The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938), and Key Largo (1948). As noted by Lauren Bacall, Robinson killed or otherwise subdued Bogart in every one of their films except for Key Largo, Bogart having by that time eclipsed Robinson as a star and leading man.
  • Award nominations

    American Film Institute

  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs - Nominated
  • AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Gangster Film
  • References

    Brother Orchid Wikipedia
    Brother Orchid IMDbBrother Orchid AlloCineBrother Orchid