Broadway Hostess (1935)

Broadway Hostess (1935)

This minor Musical (comedy romance) directed by Frank McDonald and written by George Bricker features singer Winifred Shaw and received an Academy Award nomination for Dance Direction by Bobby Connolly (Go Into Your Dance (1935)) for the “Playboy of Paree” sequence.

In the standard “small town girl goes to New York and makes it big on Broadway” Shaw plays Winnie Wharton who gets her big chance when ‘Lucky’ Lorimer (Lyle Talbot) recognizing that she’s got something convinces a small time club owner (Joe King) to give her a shot and then manages her career to the top. Winnie is naturally grateful and attracted to Lucky but as a chorus girl (Marie Wilson) had told her she learns that he’s all business. Ironically Winnie’s success enables Lucky to find his way into Park Avenue’s social scene where he and his street-talking slang practitioner Fishcake Carter (Allen Jenkins naturally) find high class dames. Fishcake charms (as only Jenkins could) a dizzy rich widow Mrs. Duncan Griswald Wembly Smythe (Spring Byington) whom he dubs “Toots”. When Lucky realizes his gal Iris Marvin (Genevieve Tobin) is just using him for her own amusement he’s insulted enough to vow that he can make the big money required to earn his way onto Park Avenue.

So Lucky opens a gambling establishment which later entices Iris’s alcoholic brother Ronnie (Donald Ross) and his friend (Dennis O’Keefe uncredited) as customers. Earlier Ronnie had a run-in with their family butler Morse (Frank Dawson) who’d been instructed by Iris not provide her brother with brandy during a party; Lucky intervened to resolve the conflict. When Ronnie loses $30000 shooting craps against Fishcake who really is lucky he steals his sister’s jewelry as collateral to keep the club owner’s bouncer (Ward Bond uncredited) from becoming a debt enforcer. Lucky is then “caught” by the police with the jewels and jailed; this leads to Winnie to pawn her jewels worth $5000 and give the rest of her cash ($10000) to a lawyer for his bail. But Morse had witnessed Ronnie’s “theft” of the jewelry and when Lucky is cleared and released per this information Winnie’s shyster lawyer skips town with her money.

Winnie’s pianist boyfriend Tommy (Phil Regan) tells Lucky now married to Iris about the bail money incident and that Winnie is now somewhat impoverished. Lucky decides to anonymously back a show for her comeback which is a big success. On opening night a drunken and ruined Ronnie decides to enact revenge on Lucky by shooting him. Tommy and Winnie bravely finish the show before rushing to the hospital where Winnie and Iris become fast friends who both love the same man.

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