Angels over Broadway (1940)

78 mins | Drama | 30 September 1940

Director:

Ben Hecht

Writer:

Ben Hecht

Producer:

Ben Hecht

Cinematographer:

Lee Garmes

Editor:

Gene Havlick

Production Designer:

Lionel Banks

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title for this film was Before I Die . The opening credits say "written, directed and produced by Ben Hecht." Ben Hecht was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for his work on this film, but lost to Preston Sturges for The Great McGinty ... More Less

The working title for this film was Before I Die . The opening credits say "written, directed and produced by Ben Hecht." Ben Hecht was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for his work on this film, but lost to Preston Sturges for The Great McGinty . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Oct 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Nov 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
7 Oct 40
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Oct 40
p. 12.
New York Times
18 Nov 40
p. 23.
Variety
9 Oct 40
p. 16.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Before I Die
Release Date:
30 September 1940
Production Date:
20 June--16 July 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 October 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9660
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6487
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On a rainy night in New York, hustler Bill O'Brien looks for a sucker to fleece and enters a swank nightclub. He sets his sights on Charles Engle, a desperate embezzler bent on suicide as the only way out of his crime. Bill misinterprets Engle's modest clothes and demeanor and thinks that he is a rich "hick" from out of town. What he does not know is that Engle has been given until six o'clock in the morning to repay money that he embezzled to spend on his frivolous wife. Bill enlists the beautiful and ambitious Nina Barona, an aspiring showgirl whom he meets at the club, to act as bait to lure the unsuspecting Engle into a high stakes poker game run by gangster Dutch Enright. Meanwhile, Gene Gibbons, an alcoholic, down-on-his-luck playwright who sees a story in everyone, becomes involved in Engle's life when he is mistakenly given Engle's coat at the cloak room and finds his suicide note. Though he himself is despondent, he decides to plot "a happy ending" for the desperate man. When he approaches Engle and hears his story, Gene tries to trick his former mistress out of a broach that has a value more than equal to Engle's debt, but the broach turns out to be paste. When Gene hears about Bill's original plan to fleece Engle in a poker game, he enlists Bill in a new scheme to win the three thousand dollars that Engle needs by having Engle go to the game, then sneak out after the gamblers' allow him to win some initial "sucker money." Bill is reluctant, but agrees if Engle will give him ... +


On a rainy night in New York, hustler Bill O'Brien looks for a sucker to fleece and enters a swank nightclub. He sets his sights on Charles Engle, a desperate embezzler bent on suicide as the only way out of his crime. Bill misinterprets Engle's modest clothes and demeanor and thinks that he is a rich "hick" from out of town. What he does not know is that Engle has been given until six o'clock in the morning to repay money that he embezzled to spend on his frivolous wife. Bill enlists the beautiful and ambitious Nina Barona, an aspiring showgirl whom he meets at the club, to act as bait to lure the unsuspecting Engle into a high stakes poker game run by gangster Dutch Enright. Meanwhile, Gene Gibbons, an alcoholic, down-on-his-luck playwright who sees a story in everyone, becomes involved in Engle's life when he is mistakenly given Engle's coat at the cloak room and finds his suicide note. Though he himself is despondent, he decides to plot "a happy ending" for the desperate man. When he approaches Engle and hears his story, Gene tries to trick his former mistress out of a broach that has a value more than equal to Engle's debt, but the broach turns out to be paste. When Gene hears about Bill's original plan to fleece Engle in a poker game, he enlists Bill in a new scheme to win the three thousand dollars that Engle needs by having Engle go to the game, then sneak out after the gamblers' allow him to win some initial "sucker money." Bill is reluctant, but agrees if Engle will give him anything over the three thousand dollars. While waiting in a hotel room for the game to start, Gene scripts a scenario for Bill and Engle, then passes out. Bill decides to go through with the plan, but before the curtain is rung down on the last act, Gene wakes up sober and, having forgotten everything about the evening's events, leaves the hotel to reconcile with his ex-wife, who has always had faith in him. Now stranded, Bill, Engle and Nina must write their own ending. When Dutch learns that Engle plans to skip out with the winnings, Nina appeals to Bill's better instincts and convinces him to beat off Dutch's thugs while Engle escapes with the money. In doing their good deed, Nina and Bill fall in love and redeem themselves, thus finding their own happy ending. +

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.