The Czar of Broadway (1930)

75 mins | Melodrama | 25 May 1930

Director:

William J. Craft

Writer:

Gene Towne

Cinematographer:

Hal Mohr

Editor:

Harry Lieb

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Joseph Schildkraut was initially cast in the role of “Morton Bradley,” as reported in the 12 January 1930 New York Times. However, Schildkraut, who had recently played several gambler roles including “Gaylord Ravenal” in the 1929 film Show Boat (see entry), decided against playing another gambler and backed out of the film, according to a 4 February 1930 Los Angeles Times brief. He was replaced by John Wray, who was set to receive a $2,000 weekly salary to play Morton Bradley, as stated in the 12 February 1930 Variety. Bradley was said to be based on the real-life gambler Arnold Rothestein (1882-1928), who had also inspired the character “John B. Marsden” in the recent Paramount Famous Lasky Corp. film, Street of Chance (1930, see entry). (For additional information on Rothstein, please consult the entry for the 1934 Fox film Now I'll Tell.) A review of The Czar of Broadway in the 5 July 1930 Harrison’s Reports mentioned a recent glut of pictures centered around gambling and nightclubs, complaining that it was “a theme that has been done to death.”
       Principal photography began in Universal City, CA, sometime in February 1930, and ended by 20 March 1930, as announced in that day’s Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today. According to a 27 February 1930 Los Angeles Times item, lead actress Betty Compson had to work twelve-hour days to finish this film in time for her next, which was released as Midnight Mystery (1930, see entry).
       The Czar of Broadway opened in the U.S. ...

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Joseph Schildkraut was initially cast in the role of “Morton Bradley,” as reported in the 12 January 1930 New York Times. However, Schildkraut, who had recently played several gambler roles including “Gaylord Ravenal” in the 1929 film Show Boat (see entry), decided against playing another gambler and backed out of the film, according to a 4 February 1930 Los Angeles Times brief. He was replaced by John Wray, who was set to receive a $2,000 weekly salary to play Morton Bradley, as stated in the 12 February 1930 Variety. Bradley was said to be based on the real-life gambler Arnold Rothestein (1882-1928), who had also inspired the character “John B. Marsden” in the recent Paramount Famous Lasky Corp. film, Street of Chance (1930, see entry). (For additional information on Rothstein, please consult the entry for the 1934 Fox film Now I'll Tell.) A review of The Czar of Broadway in the 5 July 1930 Harrison’s Reports mentioned a recent glut of pictures centered around gambling and nightclubs, complaining that it was “a theme that has been done to death.”
       Principal photography began in Universal City, CA, sometime in February 1930, and ended by 20 March 1930, as announced in that day’s Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today. According to a 27 February 1930 Los Angeles Times item, lead actress Betty Compson had to work twelve-hour days to finish this film in time for her next, which was released as Midnight Mystery (1930, see entry).
       The Czar of Broadway opened in the U.S. on 25 May 1930. Just prior to that, the 14 May 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today reported that the picture was due to be distributed in the U.K., along with three other Universal releases including All Quiet on the Western Front and King of Jazz (1930, see entries), and the German-produced 1929 film, The White Hell of Pitz Palu.
       As stated in the 20 September 1930 Inside Facts of Stage and Screen, music for this picture was recorded by Everett Hoagland and His Troubadours.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
6 Jan 1930
p. 2
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
20 Mar 1930
p. 6
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
14 May 1930
p. 4
Film Daily
29 Jun 1930
---
Harrison's Reports
5 Jul 1930
p. 107
Inside Facts of Stage and Screen
20 Sep 1930
p. 13
Los Angeles Times
4 Feb 1930
Section A, p. 8
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1930
Section A, p. 6
Los Angeles Times
27 Feb 1930
Section A, p. 11
New York Times
12 Jan 1930
---
New York Times
28 Jun 1930
p. 15
New York Times
30 Jun 1930
p. 22
Variety
12 Feb 1930
p. 8, 57
Variety
26 Feb 1930
p. 32
Variety
2 Jul 1930
p. 25
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
William James Craft
Dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
Cont
Dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus arr
SOUND
Rec eng
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 May 1930
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Corp.
9 May 1930
LP1291
Physical Properties:
Sound
Movietone
Black and White
Sound, also silent
Also si; 7,106 ft.
Duration(in mins):
75
Length(in feet):
7,314
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Mort Bradley, New York political boss and underworld czar, controls not only the city's most popular nightclub but also much of the press; however, the managing editor of the Times is determined to expose him. Jay Grant, a San Francisco reporter, is assigned to investigate Mort, who believes Jay to be a country boy and is delighted to see him fall in love with Connie Colton, of whom Mort has tired. Dismayed to learn that Jay is a reporter, Mort plans to have his gunman, Francis, kill him, but both Mort and Francis are shot by rival gangsters. Believing that Mort will recover, Jay rushes to the newspaper with an exposé, but while writing it he learns of Mort's death and decides their friendship would not permit him to submit the story. He leaves his paper and embarks on a new life with ...

More Less

Mort Bradley, New York political boss and underworld czar, controls not only the city's most popular nightclub but also much of the press; however, the managing editor of the Times is determined to expose him. Jay Grant, a San Francisco reporter, is assigned to investigate Mort, who believes Jay to be a country boy and is delighted to see him fall in love with Connie Colton, of whom Mort has tired. Dismayed to learn that Jay is a reporter, Mort plans to have his gunman, Francis, kill him, but both Mort and Francis are shot by rival gangsters. Believing that Mort will recover, Jay rushes to the newspaper with an exposé, but while writing it he learns of Mort's death and decides their friendship would not permit him to submit the story. He leaves his paper and embarks on a new life with Connie.

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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.