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BROADWAY LIMITED (director: Gordon Douglas; screenwriter: Rian James; cinematographer: Henry Sharp; editor: Bert Jordan; music: Charles Previn; cast: Victor McLaglen (Mike Monohan), Marjorie Woodworth (April Tremaine), Dennis O’Keefe (Dr. Harvey North), Patsy Kelly (Patsy Riley), ZaSu Pitts (Myra Pottle), Leonid Kinskey (Ivan Ivanski), George E. Stone (Lefty), Eddie Acuff (Engineer’s Assistant), George Chandler (Photographer at Train), Gibson Gowland (Café Customer); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal Roach; United Artists; 1941)
“Never generates laughs despite its talented cast.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The Broadway Limited is an express train from Chicago-to-Manhattan whose passengers are Hollywood types who fuel this romantic comedy over a publicity stunt that backfires. One thing is certain, this misfire is no “Twentieth Century.” That’s the hilarious screwball comedy from a few years before, starring John Barrymore & Carole Lombard, that had the viewer rocking with laughter as that train roared into New York. Director Gordon Douglas (“Saps at Sea”/”Them!”/”Tony Rome”) has no such luck, as his limp backstage fluff piece never generates laughs despite its talented cast.

Oscar winning film director/producer Ivan Ivanski (Leonid Kinskey) and his meal ticket star April Tremaine (Marjorie Woodworth) and his loyal press agent Patsy Riley (Patsy Kelly) board the Broadway Limited for New York. The slimy Ivan, through his press agent, has arranged for his no-nonsense star from the Midwest to obtain through shady dealings a baby for her to show off for her next pic as a publicity stunt. Patsy calls her boyfriend, Maurice “Mike” Monohan (Victor McLaglen), an engineer on the train, and he gets a stranger to deliver him the baby for $500.

The Chicago press go with the baby story of the star adopting a child and it gets newspaper headlines, but at the same time the newspaper headlines report the kidnapping of the Pierson baby.

Aboard the train is Myra Pottle (ZaSu Pitts), the scatterbrained president of the April Tremaine fan club, who was asked by Patsy and Ivan to report on the star for her fan magazine. Coincidentally, April’s childhood crush, Dr. Harvey North (Dennis O’Keefe), is on the train and she wants to marry the eligible bachelor hunk. Also following the Hollywood crowd is a mysterious man named Lefty (George E. Stone), who has his own agenda for being on the train with the baby.

Aside from some good location shots of the Pennsylvania RR and shots of the photogenic locomotive featured, this stinker really stunk up the joint with its weak story line, flat acting by Woodworth and unconvincing melodrama.

REVIEWED ON 11/10/2008 GRADE: C-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”