Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque
Director: Paul Fejos
Cast: Glenn Tryon, Evelyn Brent, Merna Kennedy, Thomas E Jackson, Robert Ellis, Otis Harlan, Paul Porcasi, Marion Lord, Fritz Field, Leslie Fenton, Arthur Housman
Broadway is a 1929 film directed by Paul Fejos from the play of the same name by George Abbott and Philip Dunning. It stars Glenn Tryon, Evelyn Brent, Paul Porcasi, Robert Ellis, Merna Kennedy and Thomas E. Jackson.
This was Universal’s first talking picture with Technicolor sequences. The film was released by the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray and DVD with Paul Fejo’s Lonesome on August 2012.
Roy Lane and Billie Moore, entertainers at the Paradise Nightclub, are in love and are rehearsing an act together. Late to work one evening, Billie is saved from dismissal by Nick Verdis, the club proprietor, through the intervention of Steve Crandall, a bootlegger, who desires a liaison with the girl.
“Scar” Edwards, robbed of a truckload of contraband liquor by Steve’s gang, arrives at the club for a showdown with Steve and is shot in the back. Steve gives Billie a bracelet to forget that she has seen him helping a “drunk” from the club. Though Roy is arrested by Dan McCorn, he is later released on Billie’s testimony.
Nick is murdered by Steve. Billie witnesses the killing, but keeps quiet about the dirty business until she finds out Steve’s next target is Roy. Billie is determined to tell her story to the police before Roy winds up dead, but Steve isn’t about to let that happen and kidnaps her. Steve, in his car, is fired at from a taxi, and overheard by Pearl, he confesses to killing Edwards. Pearl confronts Steve in Nick’s office and kills him; and McCorn, finding Steve’s body, insists that he committed suicide, exonerating Pearl and leaving Roy and Billie to the success of their act.
- Glenn Tryon as Roy Lane
- Evelyn Brent as Pearl
- Merna Kennedy as Billie Moore
- Thomas E. Jackson as Dan McCorn
- Robert Ellis as Steve Crandall
- Otis Harlan as ‘Porky’ Thompson
- Paul Porcasi as Nick Verdis
- Marion Lord as Lil Rice
- Fritz Feld as Mose Levett
- Leslie Fenton as ‘Scar’ Edwards
- Arthur Housman as Dolphin
- George Davis as Joe
- Betty Francisco as Mazie
- Edythe Flynn as Ruby
- Florence Dudley as Ann
Director Fejos designed the camera crane specifically for use on this movie, allowing unusually fluid movement and access to nearly every conceivable angle. It could travel at 600 feet per minute and enlivened the visual style of this film and others that followed.
Both the silent version and the talking version of Broadway are extant, but the surviving talking version is incomplete. The color sequence at the end survives in color and in sound. In 2013, Broadway was restored by The Criterion Collection and released on DVD and Blu-ray.
- “Broadway“. Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
Film Collectors Corner
Watch Broadway Now – You Tube Instant Video
Not released on Blu Ray
Not released on DVD