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Man of the World [William Powell]

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Man of the World, starring William Powell and Carole Lombard
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Man of the World (1931) starring William Powell, Carole Lombard, Wynne Gibson, Lawrence Gray, Guy Kibbee, George Chandler


Man of the World is an riveting movie with a bittersweet ending. It’s the story of an American expatriate writer, living in Paris. He’s become a suave, debonair, blackmailer. He pretends to act as a go-between for the “real” blackmailer. This way, he keeps his reputation. Until he falls in love with a visiting American woman.

She’s the niece of his most recent victim. And, he slowly falls for her. And he finds himself slowing turning away from the corrupt life he’s been leading. He dreams of marrying her. And then actually becoming the novelist that he’s been pretending to be. But his criminal compatriots won’t let go of him that easily …

As I say, it’s a wonderfully acted movie. If anything, it’s more reality-based that romance. That likely explains the sad ending. It’s a very good movie, highly recommended. Just don’t go into it expecting a happy ending.


  • William Powell (Star of Midnight) as Michael Trevor. The former newspaperman turned blackmailer. Who has a change of heart, after meeting Mary. Which leads to a broken heart.
  • Carole Lombard (My Man Godfrey) as Mary Kendall. The kind, beautiful young woman that changes Michael’s outlook. She truly falls in love with him, despite knowing his story. And then, he pushes her away …. For what he thinks is her best interest.
  • Wynne Gibson as Irene Harper. One of Michael’s criminal cohorts. Who clearly has a crush on him.
  • Lawrence Gray as Frank Reynolds. Mary’s fiancée.
  • Guy Kibbee (Joy of Living) as Harry Taylor. The rich uncle of Mary. One of Michael’s victims. At first, he’s unaware of Michael’s true nature, and thanks him for rescuing himself from ruin.
  • George Chandler (The Great Rupert) as Fred. A male criminal cohort.

Editorial review of Man of the World courtesy of Amazon

1931’s Man of the World, a Parisian romance written by Herman J. Mankiewicz (10 years before Citizen Kane) and headlined by future Thin Man star William Powell as an expatriate con artist who falls for Lombard’s spoiled heiress–a romantic pairing made all the more believable by the stars’ real-life marriage later that year.

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