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BROADWAY (director: Paul Feyos; screenwriters: based on the play by Philip Dunning and George Abbott/Tom Reed/Edward T. Lowe Jr. /Charles Furthman; cinematographer: Hal Mohr; editors: Edward Cahn/Robert Carlisle; music: Howard Jackson; cast: Paul Porcasi (Nick Verdis), Glenn Tryon (Roy Lane), Robert Ellis (Steve Crandall), Merna Kennedy (Billie Moore), Evelyn Brent (Pearl), Otis Harlan(Porky), Leslie Fenton (Scar Edwards), Thomas Jackson (Dan McCorn), Marion Lord (Lil Rice), Fritz Feld (Mose Levett), Arthur Hausman (Dolph), George Davis (Joe the waiter), Edythe Flynn (Ruby), Florence Dudley (Ann), Ruby McCoy (Grace), Betty Francisco (Mazie); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Carl Laemmle Jr.; The Criterion Collection; 1929-silent)

The highlight being the nightclub vaudeville Broadway number as the finale, which is shot in a primitive but arresting color.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A stylish gangster musical set in a NYC nightclub that is capably helmed by the Hungarian-born Paul Fejos (“Ray of Sunshine”/”A Handful of Rice”/”Captain of the Guard”). It’sbased on the play by Philip Dunning and George Abbott.The dialogue is stagy and the acting is only fair, but the art deco stage sets are visually pleasing and the mix of crime drama, music, comedy and romance comes smoothly together.The highlight being the nightclub vaudeville Broadway number as the finale, which is shot in a primitive but arresting color and was shot on a giant crane invented by Freyos.

Uptown bootlegger Scar Edwards (Leslie Fenton) visits the downtown Paradise Club, run by the cowardly and shady Greek foreigner Nick (Paul Porcasi), to warn downtown bootlegger and club liquor supplier Steve Crandall (Robert Ellis) to stay out of his turf and return the truckload of stolen booze, Steve plugs him in the back and has henchman Dolpf (Arthur Hausman) help him dump his body in the street. Naive and chaste chorus girl, Billie Moore (Merna Kennedy), witnesses the vic being transported out of the club but is told by sugar-daddy Steve to remain mum because the drunk’s an important politician who can’t afford to have his name smeared in the newspaper. Meanwhile the egotistical dimwitted hoofer Roy Lane (Glenn Tryon), Billie’s ambitious dance partner, pines after Billie and keeps warning her to stay away from the dangerous bootlegger Steve. Homicide detective Dan McCorn (Thomas Jackson) shadows Steve at the club, and lets on to chorus gal Pearl (Evelyn Brent), who is secretly engaged to marry Scar, that Steve is the prime suspect of her man.

The screenplay byEdward T. Lowe Jr. and Charles Furthman has a clever resolution, and overall it’s an adequately entertaining film. Hollywood has a knack for doing musicals and gangster films, even in its infancy.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”