Made on Broadway (1933)

Made on Broadway (1933)

Directed by Harry Beaumont (The Broadway Melody (1929)) with a Gene Markey script that was based on a Courteney Terrett story this average comedy drama stars Robert Montgomery Sally Eilers Madge Evans & Eugene Pallette and features several other recognizable actors in other minor (cameo) roles like C. Henry Gordon Jean Parker and Vince Barnett (among others). What begins as an interesting comical tale about a spin doctor quickly devolves into a Pygmalion-like plot (e.g. to create a new celebrity as if another is needed) leading to a murder a trial and a quick ending; there are also some romantic entanglements. Even though the story is supposed to contain some melodramatic acting it’s overdone and Pallette’s talents seem wasted in the role of a manservant.

Montgomery plays Jeff Bidwell a well connected fixer for the rich and famous and even politicians in the city of New York. Terwilliger (Pallette) is his trusty manservant. Jeff holds regular open bar parties for the in-crowd of his high society clientele that includes the Mayor (Gordon) and his cronies actresses (like Parker’s character) and others who pay through the nose for his advice. While taking a ferry to meet with some executives in New Jersey Jeff witnesses a woman’s suicide attempt. He too jumps into the water to rescue her. He learns that she has no family money nor job but convinces her that there’s much to live for anyway. Though she doesn’t take his advice about what to tell the reporters she allows him to “create” a new persona for her even accepting his suggested name of Mona (Eilers). With help from his ex-wife Claire (Evans) with whom Jeff is still best of friends Mona’s appearance wardrobe and education are upgraded over the span of several weeks.

However Mona seems ungrateful to Jeff who’s fallen in love with her. In fact she’s playing the field with others which include a rich retired General (Internet sources says it’s Ferdinand Munier; I think DeWitt Jennings is the actor) and Ramon Salinas (Ivan Lebedeff). After Jeff realizes this he leaves her at a nightclub and returns home. Mona wakes Jeff in the middle of the night with a phone call informing him that she’s just killed Ramon. The spin doctor immediately begins weaving his magic inventing a cover story contacting the police prearranging her arraignment before a judge and even a bail bondsman (Barnett) via subsequent phone calls. Of course Jeff’s story is that Mona shot Ramon in self defense defending herself against his sexual advances. Her actual reason is related to a pretty thin blackmail deal that Jeff doesn’t hear her tell his lawyer about but knows about it later anyway.

It’s at this point that the audience must endure not one but two or three different tellings of the events which took place by Eilers’s character Mona the last one during her trial for Ramon’s murder. Everyone’s pretty sick of hearing it by now including Jeff who decides abruptly to take a cruise abroad during which he’s surprisingly reunited with Claire.

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