7 user 4 critic

The Sins of the Children (1930)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 28 June 1930 (USA)
A German immigrant to a small American town is a barber with four children. He has saved enough money to invest in a savings-and-loan company with a friend. Unfortunately, one of his sons ... See full summary »


Sam Wood


Elliott Nugent (story), J.C. Nugent (story) | 3 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Louis Mann ... Adolf Wagenkampf
Robert Montgomery ... Nick Higginson
Elliott Nugent ... Johnnie Wagenkampf
Leila Hyams ... Alma Wagenkampf
Clara Blandick ... Martha Wagenkampf
Mary Doran ... Laura
Francis X. Bushman Jr. ... Ludwig Wagenkampf aka Dr. Lawrence Warren
Robert McWade ... Joe Higginson
Dell Henderson ... Ted Baldwin
Henry Armetta ... Tony the Barber
Jane Reid Jane Reid ... Katherine Wagenkampf Taylor
James Donlan James Donlan ... Bide Taylor
Jeane Wood Jeane Wood ... Muriel Stokes
Lee Kohlmar Lee Kohlmar ... Dr. Heinrich Schmidt


A German immigrant to a small American town is a barber with four children. He has saved enough money to invest in a savings-and-loan company with a friend. Unfortunately, one of his sons has been stricken with tuberculosis, and the investment money goes to pay for the son's treatment in Arizona. Twenty years later, the wastrel son of the now-rich man who was to have been his partner, falls in love with the barber's daughter. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>, A. Nonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Father pays the bills - youth has its fling! A great human document. (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Palace Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - September 11, 1930) See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film's working title and release title in the British Isles was "The Richest Man In The World", yet it is advertised as that in some American newspapers with a prepared ad mat supplied by a newspaper cut service (Not from MGM). (San Jose (Calif.) Evening News 9 July 1930). See more »


When Johnnie arrives home for Christmas, he takes off his scarf and puts it in his coat pocket. In a subsequent scene seconds later the scarf is back around his neck and he takes it off again. See more »

Alternate Versions

MGM also issued this movie as a silent film. See more »


Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht
("Silent Night, Holy Night") (1818) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Xaver Gruber
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
Sung a cappella in German by the entire Wagenkampf family at the end
See more »

User Reviews

Bravo Performance By Louis Mann
8 July 2005 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

THE SINS OF THE CHILDREN cause their father grief, but he never stops loving them.

Despite its slightly lurid title, this film is all about love. Full of small moments beautifully played, it gives a portrait of an American family over a series of several years, held together through times of tribulation by a proud papa who adores his family unstintingly. This is a 'feel good film' in the best sense of the phrase and perfect to enjoy at the Christmas Holidays. It is a shame that this little gem has become so obscure.

As Adolf Wagenkampf, immigrant German barber, Louis Mann is nothing short of magnificent, giving one of the first great performances of the sound era. Showing enormous confidence in front of the camera, Mann steals the show with his mannerisms and accent, his pliable face registering every triumph or tragedy, every hope or defeat, which comes his way. Mann's beautiful soul is authentic, his talent undeniable. Unfortunately, this was to be virtually his only film. Louis Mann died in February of 1931, at the age of 65.

A very fine cast supports Mann throughout: Clara Blandick as his gentle wife; Francis X. Bushman Jr as the doctor son ashamed of his family name; Elliott Nugent as the inventor son, whose unwise impulse costs his father dearly; pretty Leila Hyams as the headstrong youngest daughter; and James Dolan as the obnoxious son-in-law.

(It was actor Nugent, playing the part of the youngest Wagenkampf son, who was largely responsible for both the original story and dialogue for the film. It's success is his, as well.)

In one of his earliest roles, Robert Montgomery scores as the local cad who compromises Hyams; Robert W. Wade is his heartless father, the richest man in Harristown. Henry Armetta is excellent as Tony, the exuberant and intensely loyal Italian barber who works for Mann. Mary Doran is the feisty new manicurist and Dell Henderson is the town's genial sheriff.

Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Jackie Searl playing Montgomery as a child.

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English | German | Italian

Release Date:

28 June 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Richest Man in the World See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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