Broadway
Universal Pictures 

Directed by William A. Seiter
Screenplay by Felix Jackson and John Bright
Adaptation by Bruce Manning  
Based on a stage play produced by Jed Harris
Stage play written by George Abbott & Philip Dunning


A Bruce Manning/Frank Shaw Production


Released May 6, 1942

    
Universal's modernized presentation of 'Broadway' retains the thrilling tenseness and dramatic suspense of the original Philip Dunning/George Abbott play.  George Raft and Pat O'Brien are spotlighted in two excellent performances.
 
     Producer Bruce Manning ingeniously delivers new twists for the present version to stimulate the drama of the forgotten prohibition era.  A deftly contrived prolog gives the impression that this could be the autobiography of George Raft himself.  

     Picture opens with Raft airlining to New York with companion-bodyguard-shadow Mack 'Killer' Gray for a short visit between pictures.  Wandering onto Broadway alone, he stops at a cellar being re-modeled into a bowling alley.  Looking around, he starts reminiscing to the old night watchman about the heyday of the spot a a cabaret during the lush prohibition era - when Raft got his start as a hoofer in the place.

     I then swings into the Dunning-Abbott tale - a suspenseful and fast-moving drama of backstage; Raft's interest in his girl dancing partner; giggle-water; bootleg kings;, muscle-men; racketeers; and the strange and unusual characters found about a nightclub of the prohibition period.  Raft gains the enmity of bootleg boss Broderick Crawford when the latter makes a play for Raft's dancing partner, Janet Blair, and is framed by Crawford for the murder of a rival bootleg czar.  Crawford is finally bumped off by
Anne Gwynne, chorine and bent on avenging her boyfriend's death.

     Prominent throughout is O'Brien as the homicide squad plainclothesman, wise to the ways of gangdom.  Script finishes with cutback to Raft and the night watchman in a matter-of-fact, but most effective, climax
.


 

Cast:

George Raft

Pat O'Brien

Broderick Crawford

Anne Gwynne ... Pearl

Janet Blair

S.Z. Sakall

Anne Nage

Marjorie Rambeau

 

Production:

Felix Jackson and John Bright- Writer 

William A. Seiter- Director 

Bruce Manning/Frank Shaw- Producer

George Barnes- Cinematographer

Jack Otterson- Production Designer

Ted Kent- Editor

Charles Previn- Composer

John Mattison- Choreographer

Full Storyline

Motion picture actor George Raft flies from Hollywood to New York with his old friend and aide, Mack "Killer" Gray. George decides to take a walk on the streets of Broadway, where he discovers that "The Paradise," an old nightclub where he once worked, is about to be converted into a bowling alley. He then reminisces with the night watchman about the days of prohibition, when he was a dancer at the club:

On the night of the Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney fight in 1926, George's dance partner, Billie Moore, is nearly fired from the club for missing a rehearsal, but her current boyfriend, gangster Steve Crandall, fixes things for her with the nightclub's owner, Nick. George asks Steve to leave Billie alone, and the two men show mutual disdain for each other's career.

Later that day, Steve murders rival bootlegger Jim "Scar" Edwards in the nightclub's office, only to have homicide detective Dan Alyosius McCorn arrive at the club that night and question him about Edwards' disappearance. Backstage, Dan recognizes chorus girl Pearl (Anne Gwynne) as the murdered gangster's fiancée, though she is unaware of Scar's death until she overhears Steve bragging about it to a group of out-of-town gangsters.

That night, Steve has a party for gangster boss Rinalti, and Billie breaks her date with George to attend. The drunken Rinalti and Steve nearly come to blows over Billie, after which Steve tells Billie that "she is his girl." Although Billie then warns George to stay away from Steve, he confronts the gangster anyway. Steve is about to shoot George when his henchman, Porky, warns him that Dan is about to enter the room.

Steve then hands the gun to George, and the two gangsters tell the detective that George was attempting to rob them. Despite the gangsters' interference, Dan gets George safely out of the nightclub, taking Steve's gun, the same one used to kill Scar, with him. After bringing George to the morgue to see Scar's body, the police question George about the gun and the murder.

Later George is allowed to escape by Dan, and he returns to the nightclub to learn that Nick and aging singer Lillian "Lil" Rice have gotten married. Steve then agrees to perform that night if he and Billie are finally allowed to perform their "specialty" number, a tango, which becomes a big hit. Thinking that George has "squealed," Steve plans to ambush the dancer, but George is alerted by Nick.

George then confronts Steve in his office, and after the gangster confesses all, the two men begin to fight. They are interrupted, however, by Pearl, who shoots and kills Steve. After rushing Pearl out of the room, George is confronted by Dan, and he tells the policeman that Steve was already dead when he entered the room. Knowing the truth, Dan tells the gangsters that Steve committed suicide and orders his gang to leave the nightclub for good.

Back in the abandoned nightclub, George tells the watchman that Pearl confessed to the murder the next day, served her prison term, and is now living quietly in Albany. Dan became the police commissioner of New York and married cigarette girl Mary. George and Billie, however, never got married, as he "never got the chance." George then walks out the old nightclub and back onto the streets of Broadway.


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