Broadway Bill (1934)

90 or 103 mins | Comedy-drama | 27 December 1934

Director:

Frank Capra

Writer:

Robert Riskin

Cinematographer:

Joseph Walker

Editor:

Gene Havlick

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

According to the SAB , Mark Hellinger's story was entitled "On the Nose." A HR news item, however, gives the name of the story as "Strictly Confidential." No publication information for Hellinger's story has been found. According to HR news items, Louis Calhern was briefly assigned to the part played by Douglas Dumbrille, Sidney Skolsky was set to play a jockey, and Frank Capra sought to borrow Lewis Stone from M-G-M for an unspecified role. Contemporary sources also state that Osgood Perkins, Sterling Holloway, Samuel S. Hinds, Barbara Read and Mary McGrath were included in the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been verified. Location shooting was done at Tanforan Racetrack, which was located in San Mateo County, the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA and Pacific Coast Steel Mills. According to contemporary sources, the film was 125 minutes long when it was previewed on 24 Oct 1934. FD states that another preview was held on 21 Nov 1934. In his autobiography, photographer Joseph Walker states that Capra originally tried to get Clark Gable for the part of Dan Brooks, but he was not available. On 24 Apr 1939, Robert Taylor performed in a radio verson of Broadway Bill for Lux Radio Theater.
       Modern sources list the following additional crew members: Microphone operator Irving Libbott; Elec Bob Charlesworth; Props George Rhein; Gaffer George Hager; Best Boy Al Later; and Head grip Jimmy Lloyd. Modern sources also include Harry Semels ( Conductor ) in the cast, and complete the character identifications for Harry ... More Less

According to the SAB , Mark Hellinger's story was entitled "On the Nose." A HR news item, however, gives the name of the story as "Strictly Confidential." No publication information for Hellinger's story has been found. According to HR news items, Louis Calhern was briefly assigned to the part played by Douglas Dumbrille, Sidney Skolsky was set to play a jockey, and Frank Capra sought to borrow Lewis Stone from M-G-M for an unspecified role. Contemporary sources also state that Osgood Perkins, Sterling Holloway, Samuel S. Hinds, Barbara Read and Mary McGrath were included in the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been verified. Location shooting was done at Tanforan Racetrack, which was located in San Mateo County, the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA and Pacific Coast Steel Mills. According to contemporary sources, the film was 125 minutes long when it was previewed on 24 Oct 1934. FD states that another preview was held on 21 Nov 1934. In his autobiography, photographer Joseph Walker states that Capra originally tried to get Clark Gable for the part of Dan Brooks, but he was not available. On 24 Apr 1939, Robert Taylor performed in a radio verson of Broadway Bill for Lux Radio Theater.
       Modern sources list the following additional crew members: Microphone operator Irving Libbott; Elec Bob Charlesworth; Props George Rhein; Gaffer George Hager; Best Boy Al Later; and Head grip Jimmy Lloyd. Modern sources also include Harry Semels ( Conductor ) in the cast, and complete the character identifications for Harry C. Bradley ( Bookkeeper ) and Eddy Chandler ( Onlooker ). This film is not a remake of a 1918 Yorke film, also entitled Broadway Bill . Broadway Bill was remade by Capra as Riding High , a 1950 release starring Bing Crosby and Colleen Grey. Capra states in his autobiography that he traded the script for A Woman of Distinction for the rights to Broadway Bill and its negative. He made the film for Paramount, and in order to save money, cut in approximately twenty minutes of racing and dialogue footage from the original film. Among the actors reprising their original roles were Clarence Muse, Douglas Dumbrille, Margaret Hamilton, Frankie Darro, Ward Bond, Raymond Walburn, and Irving Bacon. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Nov 1934.
---
Daily Variety
25 Oct 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Nov 34
p. 7.
Film Daily
22 Nov 34
p. 10.
Film Daily
14 Dec 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 34
p. 3, 6, 8
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 34
p. 3, 4
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 34
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 May 34
p. 16.
Motion Picture Daily
26 Oct 34
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Jul 34
p. 48.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Nov 34
p. 38.
New York Times
30 Nov 34
p. 22.
Variety
4 Dec 34
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Douglas Dumbrille
Charles Levinson
Charles C. Wilson
Claude Gillingwater Sr.
Charles B. Middleton
Christian Frank
Alfred James
Henry Barrows
Bud Flanagan
Philo McCollough
Mert La Varr
John Webb Dillion
Dick Kipling
Bert Morehouse
Anita Pike
Billee Van Every
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Harry Cohn, President; A Frank Capra Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Cam op
Cam crew
Cam crew
Cam crew
Lab tech
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOUND
Sd eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Still photog
STAND INS
Stand-in for Warner Baxter
Stand-in for Myrna Loy
Stand-in for Walter Connolly
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 December 1934
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 30 November 1934.
Production Date:
18 June--16 August 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
24 November 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5123
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90 or 103
Length(in feet):
9,407
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
390
SYNOPSIS

Businessman J. L. Higgins, president of the Higgins National Bank in Higginsville, announces a board of directors' dinner meeting for his four daughters and three sons-in-law, each of whom presides over one of Higgins' subsidiaries. All are reached quickly except for Dan Brooks, who is attending to his thoroughbred, "Broadway Bill," with the help of Alice, J. L.'s unwed daughter. Dan hates running his father-in-law's paper box factory, and is urged by Alice and stablehand Whitey to devote himself to racing Bill. While preparing for dinner that night, Dan's wife Margaret refuses to sympathize with Dan's misery over his job or share his excitement for his first love, horseracing. She informs him that he could someday own the vast Higgins financial empire, and they then attend the dinner, during which J. L. informs his family of his acquisition that morning of the Acme Lumber Co. He says that its presidency will be left vacant until Alice's future husband takes the post, but free-willed Alice insists she would never marry a man who would walk into such a job. Following dinner, J. L. reports that sales are dangerously off in Dan's paper box division due to his inattention to work. When J. L. orders Dan to sell Broadway Bill and return full time to the office, Dan quits instead and leaves Higginsville without Margaret, who refuses to go with him. Alice cries in happiness for Dan's "escape," while also hiding her attraction to him. At the Imperial Race Track, Dan rejoins his friends as he enters Broadway Bill in the $25,000 Imperial Derby, which is to be held in two weeks. Dan scrapes together ... +


Businessman J. L. Higgins, president of the Higgins National Bank in Higginsville, announces a board of directors' dinner meeting for his four daughters and three sons-in-law, each of whom presides over one of Higgins' subsidiaries. All are reached quickly except for Dan Brooks, who is attending to his thoroughbred, "Broadway Bill," with the help of Alice, J. L.'s unwed daughter. Dan hates running his father-in-law's paper box factory, and is urged by Alice and stablehand Whitey to devote himself to racing Bill. While preparing for dinner that night, Dan's wife Margaret refuses to sympathize with Dan's misery over his job or share his excitement for his first love, horseracing. She informs him that he could someday own the vast Higgins financial empire, and they then attend the dinner, during which J. L. informs his family of his acquisition that morning of the Acme Lumber Co. He says that its presidency will be left vacant until Alice's future husband takes the post, but free-willed Alice insists she would never marry a man who would walk into such a job. Following dinner, J. L. reports that sales are dangerously off in Dan's paper box division due to his inattention to work. When J. L. orders Dan to sell Broadway Bill and return full time to the office, Dan quits instead and leaves Higginsville without Margaret, who refuses to go with him. Alice cries in happiness for Dan's "escape," while also hiding her attraction to him. At the Imperial Race Track, Dan rejoins his friends as he enters Broadway Bill in the $25,000 Imperial Derby, which is to be held in two weeks. Dan scrapes together the entry fee, then sets about finding the five hundred dollar nominating fee. He convinces Pop Jones to give him feed and shelter on credit, but is unable to get money from his old friend Colonel Pettigrew, who is also penniless. At a preliminary race the next day, Bill is disqualified when he bolts the starting gate. Dan writes to Margaret, asking her to send Bill's friend "Skeeter," a pet rooster, but it is Alice who delivers Skeeter. Alice stays to help, despite the protests of Dan, who is unaware of her feelings for him, and also that Margaret expects him to return home to apologize. Alice's presence proves fortunate when Bill gets a serious cold from being soaked by rain pouring through the leaky barn. She nurses Bill back to health, then pawns her fur coat and jewelry to raise money when Whitey is discovered to be using loaded dice while shooting craps to raise the nominating fee. On the eve of the derby, Pop Jones, angry that he has not been paid, has Bill seized and Dan thrown in jail. When a two-dollar bet placed on Bill by J. P. Chase, a bored, bedridden millionaire, is misinterpreted as a $200,000 bet, bookmaker Eddie Morgan, who is backing "Sun Up," is pleased because the odds on his horse go up as Bill's decline. To prevent Bill from being scratched, Eddie bails Dan out and pays his bills. Meanwhile, Eddie has bribed Ted Williams, Bill's jockey, and the jockey riding favorite "Gallant Lady," to throw the race. Eddie's plan is partially crippled, however, when Gallant Lady's jockey is suspended. On the day of the race, Williams reigns Bill in, but Bill ignores his instructions and sprints to victory, only to collapse and die of a burst heart. The following day, Bill is buried at the track, after which J. L. takes Alice home, and Dan leaves with Whitey. Two years pass and J. L. calls another dinner meeting. He announces that since Dan and Margaret's divorce, he has sold his subsidiaries, and that the bank will be next. He hopes his remaining sons-in-law will become independent men, not spineless parasites. Just then, a honking car horn and a shattered window announce Dan's demand that J. L. "release the Princess (Alice) from the dark tower." She runs to join Dan, Whitey and their two new horses, "Broadway Bill II" and "Princess." J. L. then leaves behind his shocked family and escapes with Alice. +

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

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