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Way Back Home (1931)

Seth Parker takes in Robbie Turner and protects him from his cruel father Rube. When the father disappears, Seth intends to raise Robbie as his own son. The vindictive father attacks Mary ... See full summary »


William A. Seiter (as William Seiter)


Jane Murfin (story), Jane Murfin (screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Phillips Lord Phillips Lord ... Seth Parker (as Phillips H. Lord)
Effie Palmer Effie Palmer ... Mother Parker (as Effie L. Palmer)
Frank Albertson ... David Clark
Bette Davis ... Mary Lucy
Frankie Darro ... Robbie
Dorothy Peterson ... Rose Clark
Stanley Fields ... Rufe Turner
Oscar Apfel ... Wobbling Duffy
Sophia M. Lord Sophia M. Lord ... Lizzie
Bennett Kilpack Bennett Kilpack ... Cephus
Raymond Hunter Raymond Hunter ... Captain Bang


Seth Parker takes in Robbie Turner and protects him from his cruel father Rube. When the father disappears, Seth intends to raise Robbie as his own son. The vindictive father attacks Mary Lucy, a neighbor's daughter who is also trying to help Robbie. Mary's boyfriend David rescues her and Rube runs off with his son. But not for long. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

13 November 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Old Greatheart See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Phillips Lord and his character name "Seth Parker" appear above the title. They were familiar to 1931 audiences from the radio program on which the film is based. Some RKO executives, however, expressed concern that the radio program appealed only to older folks and that people 15 to 30 years old, do not listen to the program and would not go to see the movie. See more »


Lizzie: [arriving at the barn dance in a flustery huff after a bone-jarring ride over bumpy roads with Cephus in his tin lizzie] You folks is awful lucky that you still travel by horse-and-buggy! I hain't NEVER had such a ride in my life! Stone walls don't mean a THING to Cephus - - you ride with HIM and you go four miles forward and TEN miles UP AND DOWN!
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Love's Old Sweet Song (Just a Song at Twilight)
(1884) (uncredited)
Music by J.L. Molloy
Lyrics by G. Clifton Bingham
Played on organ by Effie Palmer and sung by all at the taffy pull party
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful Mellerdrama based on Radio Favorite
27 October 2008 | by 16mmRaySee all my reviews

This is NOT a movie for a wised-up 21st century audience. This is a picture designed specifically for the millions of fans of Phillips Lord's popular radio series Sunday Evenings at Seth Parker's. The story is a cracker barrel melodrama, the type that would be elevated a few years later by Philip Stong in his A VILLAGE TALE (also filmed by RKO, in 1934). The acting in WAY BACK HOME is sincere and quaint. Stanley Fields is the perfect villain, even without a moustache to twirl. The hilarious opening scene between Seth Parker and the tax man (Wade Boteler) was perhaps an inspiration for MGM's THE MATING GAME. Little Frankie Darro is terrific as Robbie. But the big prize goes to Bette Davis. Even amidst the tried-and-true showboat dramatics she pulls off a 100% believable, emotional performance. There was no question that this girl was going places and a lot farther than Jonesport! The community sing sequences in the Parkers' parlor are perhaps the most reminiscent of a bygone era. The harmonies are wonderful and they brought a great big smile to this audience member. Finally, a mention of the character "Cephus." I suspect Edgar Bergen was one of the listeners of SETH PARKER and might have based his Mortimer Snerd characterization on Bennett Kilpack's Cephus. This was Kilpack's only apparent film appearance, yet he became a titan in radio, creating and starring in MR. KEEN, TRACER OF LOST PERSONS. If WAY BACK HOME should come your way, give it a chance. But put yourself in the proper mood. It must be viewed in context and without a jaded mind or stony heart!

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