Wonder Bar (1934)

84-85 mins | Drama | 31 March 1934

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writer:

Earl Baldwin

Cinematographer:

Sol Polito

Editor:

George Amy

Production Designers:

Jack Okey, Willy Pogany

Production Company:

First National Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The American version of the play, which opened in New York on 17 Jay 1931, was adapted from the German by Irving Caesar and Aben Kandel. Al Jolson's contract called for him to receive 10% of the film's gross receipts. This was one of the top moneymaking films of the year. According to FD , Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain were originally set to write the music. Ruby Keeler, Adolphe Menjou, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak and Barbara Stanwyck were considered for parts. According to modern sources, Warner Bros. submitted an incomplete version of the film to the MPPDA, assuring the officials that the missing footage "contained nothing to worry about." The completed print, however, contained a scene where an effeminate man cut in on a dancing couple and danced away with the man. Despite pressure from Joseph I. Breen, Public Relations Director of the MPPDA, Warner Bros. refused to eliminate the footage. According to modern sources, Frank Borzage was originally scheduled to direct this ... More Less

The American version of the play, which opened in New York on 17 Jay 1931, was adapted from the German by Irving Caesar and Aben Kandel. Al Jolson's contract called for him to receive 10% of the film's gross receipts. This was one of the top moneymaking films of the year. According to FD , Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain were originally set to write the music. Ruby Keeler, Adolphe Menjou, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak and Barbara Stanwyck were considered for parts. According to modern sources, Warner Bros. submitted an incomplete version of the film to the MPPDA, assuring the officials that the missing footage "contained nothing to worry about." The completed print, however, contained a scene where an effeminate man cut in on a dancing couple and danced away with the man. Despite pressure from Joseph I. Breen, Public Relations Director of the MPPDA, Warner Bros. refused to eliminate the footage. According to modern sources, Frank Borzage was originally scheduled to direct this film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
9 Jun 33
p. 6.
Film Daily
15 Jun 33
p. 15.
Film Daily
17 Feb 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 34
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 34
p. 2.
International Photographer
May 34
p. 17.
Motion Picture Daily
17 Feb 34
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Feb 34
p. 39.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Feb 34
p. 34.
New York Times
1 Mar 34
p. 23.
Variety
6 Mar 34
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITER
Scr and adpt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
2d cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Vitaphone Orch cond
DANCE
Numbers created and dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Chief elec
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Die wunderbar , book by Geza Herczeg and Karl Farkas, music by Robert Katscher (copyrighted 17 Jan 1930).
SONGS
"Why Do I Dream These Dreams?" "Going to Heaven on a Mule," "Fairer on the Riviera," "Wonder Bar," "Don't Say Goodnight," "Vive La France," "Walse Amoreuse" and "Tango del Rio," music and lyrics by Harry Warren and Al Dubin.
DETAILS
Release Date:
31 March 1934
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 February 1934
Copyright Number:
LP4505
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84-85
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Popular Parisian nightclub the Wonder Bar is run by Al Wonder, who is also the star performer. He and his band leader Tommy are both in love with dancer Ynez, but she only has eyes for her partner, gigolo Harry. Harry, however, does not return her love and is carrying on a flirtation with Liane Renaud, the wife of a banker. Liane has given him an expensive necklace to pay for dancing lessons, which Harry intends to sell in order to finance a trip to the United States. At the Wonder Bar one evening, Liane's husband joins her and hints that the insurance company will investigate the lost necklace. Liane asks Harry for the necklace and insists that she will leave the country with him. Harry sells the necklace to Al, who talks Liane out of leaving her husband, and returns the necklace to her. He hopes that with Harry gone, Ynez will turn to him. Meanwhile, two American couples flirt with the gigolos and gigolettes of the club. Captain Von Ferring, having lost all his money, announces that he will commit suicide that evening. When Harry tells Ynez that he is leaving without her, Ynez stabs him during their dance number. Harry dies, but Al tells Ynez that she has only wounded him. He puts the body in Von Ferring's car and, when Von Ferring drives it over a cliff, the police think that both men were killed in the crash. During Al's last number, Tommy convinces Ynez to come back to him. Al will not stand in their way and goes home alone ... +


Popular Parisian nightclub the Wonder Bar is run by Al Wonder, who is also the star performer. He and his band leader Tommy are both in love with dancer Ynez, but she only has eyes for her partner, gigolo Harry. Harry, however, does not return her love and is carrying on a flirtation with Liane Renaud, the wife of a banker. Liane has given him an expensive necklace to pay for dancing lessons, which Harry intends to sell in order to finance a trip to the United States. At the Wonder Bar one evening, Liane's husband joins her and hints that the insurance company will investigate the lost necklace. Liane asks Harry for the necklace and insists that she will leave the country with him. Harry sells the necklace to Al, who talks Liane out of leaving her husband, and returns the necklace to her. He hopes that with Harry gone, Ynez will turn to him. Meanwhile, two American couples flirt with the gigolos and gigolettes of the club. Captain Von Ferring, having lost all his money, announces that he will commit suicide that evening. When Harry tells Ynez that he is leaving without her, Ynez stabs him during their dance number. Harry dies, but Al tells Ynez that she has only wounded him. He puts the body in Von Ferring's car and, when Von Ferring drives it over a cliff, the police think that both men were killed in the crash. During Al's last number, Tommy convinces Ynez to come back to him. Al will not stand in their way and goes home alone at the end of the night. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.