Lady for a Day (1933)

88, 93 or 102 mins | Comedy-drama | 13 September 1933

Director:

Frank Capra

Writer:

Robert Riskin

Cinematographer:

Joseph Walker

Editor:

Gene Havlick

Production Designer:

Stephen Goosson

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Apple Annie , Madam La Gimp and Beggar's Holiday . According to HR news items, Columbia attempted to obtain William Powell for the part of Dave the Dude, and Allen Jenkins, who was to be lent by Warner Bros. for an unspecified role, was granted a three-week layoff on his contract, and was therefore not included in the film. Warner Bros. did loan Warren William, Guy Kibbee and Glenda Farrell to Columbia for the film, while May Robson, Walter Connolly and Jean Parker were borrowed from M-G-M. HR news items stated that Kit Guard and Pat Hartigan were added to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been verified. According to DV and NYT , Columbia took seventy-three-year-old Shubert Alley apple seller Ellen McCarthy to the film's premiere at Radio City Music Hall, after treating her to a stay at an expensive hotel and a new wardrobe. The publicity stunt was highly successful and was repeated in dozens of other cities, but was later criticized when "Mrs. McCarthy and her husband were found dead a year later from gas in the tiny flat where they had been existing on home relief." The film received four Academy Award nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Writing and Best Direction, which was Frank Capra's first nomination. It was also selected by the FD Poll of Critics as one of the ten best pictures of 1933. In the Jun 1933 IP news item from which some technical credits ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Apple Annie , Madam La Gimp and Beggar's Holiday . According to HR news items, Columbia attempted to obtain William Powell for the part of Dave the Dude, and Allen Jenkins, who was to be lent by Warner Bros. for an unspecified role, was granted a three-week layoff on his contract, and was therefore not included in the film. Warner Bros. did loan Warren William, Guy Kibbee and Glenda Farrell to Columbia for the film, while May Robson, Walter Connolly and Jean Parker were borrowed from M-G-M. HR news items stated that Kit Guard and Pat Hartigan were added to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been verified. According to DV and NYT , Columbia took seventy-three-year-old Shubert Alley apple seller Ellen McCarthy to the film's premiere at Radio City Music Hall, after treating her to a stay at an expensive hotel and a new wardrobe. The publicity stunt was highly successful and was repeated in dozens of other cities, but was later criticized when "Mrs. McCarthy and her husband were found dead a year later from gas in the tiny flat where they had been existing on home relief." The film received four Academy Award nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Writing and Best Direction, which was Frank Capra's first nomination. It was also selected by the FD Poll of Critics as one of the ten best pictures of 1933. In the Jun 1933 IP news item from which some technical credits were obtained, George Rhein's name is spelled Rhine, and George Hager's name is spelled Hagger. Modern sources list additional cast member Dad Mills as Shultzie, the blind man. On 1 May 1939, May Robson and Jean Parker performed a radio version of Lady for a Day for Lux Radio Theater . Capra's last feature film was the 1961 remake of this film, entitled Pocketful of Miracles , starring Bette Davis and Glenn Ford (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.3870). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Sep 33
p. 2.
Film Daily
13 Jun 33
p. 4.
Film Daily
9 Aug 33
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 32
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 33
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 33
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 33
p. 2, 3, 6
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 33
p. 2.
International Photographer
1 Jun 33
p. 25.
Motion Picture Daily
9 Aug 33
p. 14.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Jul 33
p. 70.
Motion Picture Herald
9 Sep 33
p. 11.
New York Times
8 Sep 33
p. 22.
New York Times
5-Jul-36
---
Variety
15 Sep 33
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Harry Cohn, President
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITER
Scr and dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Ed asst
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Asst rec eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Chief elec
Props
Still photog
Gen press agent
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Madame La Gimp" by Damon Runyon in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan (Oct 1929).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Beggar's Holiday
Madam La Gimp
Apple Annie
Release Date:
13 September 1933
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 7 September 1933
Production Date:
9 May--6 June 1933
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
15 September 1933
Copyright Number:
LP4259
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
88, 93 or 102
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Apple Annie, a cantankerous fruit peddler in New York, is patronized by Dave the Dude, a gambling gangster who believes that her apples bring him good luck. Unknown to anyone, Annie has a daughter, Louise, who is in a Spanish convent. With the aid of Oscar, the doorman at the Hotel Marberry, Annie has been sending letters to Louise on the hotel's stationery, thereby leading the girl to believe her mother is a high society matron named Mrs. E. Worthington Manville. Annie's crisis begins when she discovers that Louise is coming to New York so that her fiancé Carlos, and his father, Count Romero, can meet her. Meanwhile, Happy McGuire, Dave's right-hand man, and Dave are searching for the missing Annie when Annie's beggar friends arrive at Dave's apartment, relating Annie's tale of woe. After checking on Annie in her apartment, where he sees a photograph of Louise, Dave is asked by Annie's friends to help rent an apartment at the Marberry for Annie with the money they raised. Dave declines, but Happy soon finds him at the Marberry, where he is installing Annie in a borrowed apartment. Dave's paramour, nightclub owner Missouri Martin, helps transform Annie into the image of a proper society matron. Satisfied with the results, the men try to leave, but Missouri reminds them that Annie needs a husband. Dave suggests Judge Henry D. Blake, a smooth-talking pool hustler, who readily agrees to pose as Judge Manville after seeing the newly beautified Annie. Soon, Annie and the others greet Louise's ship, and Annie has a tearful reunion with her daughter. As Blake steers the company ... +


Apple Annie, a cantankerous fruit peddler in New York, is patronized by Dave the Dude, a gambling gangster who believes that her apples bring him good luck. Unknown to anyone, Annie has a daughter, Louise, who is in a Spanish convent. With the aid of Oscar, the doorman at the Hotel Marberry, Annie has been sending letters to Louise on the hotel's stationery, thereby leading the girl to believe her mother is a high society matron named Mrs. E. Worthington Manville. Annie's crisis begins when she discovers that Louise is coming to New York so that her fiancé Carlos, and his father, Count Romero, can meet her. Meanwhile, Happy McGuire, Dave's right-hand man, and Dave are searching for the missing Annie when Annie's beggar friends arrive at Dave's apartment, relating Annie's tale of woe. After checking on Annie in her apartment, where he sees a photograph of Louise, Dave is asked by Annie's friends to help rent an apartment at the Marberry for Annie with the money they raised. Dave declines, but Happy soon finds him at the Marberry, where he is installing Annie in a borrowed apartment. Dave's paramour, nightclub owner Missouri Martin, helps transform Annie into the image of a proper society matron. Satisfied with the results, the men try to leave, but Missouri reminds them that Annie needs a husband. Dave suggests Judge Henry D. Blake, a smooth-talking pool hustler, who readily agrees to pose as Judge Manville after seeing the newly beautified Annie. Soon, Annie and the others greet Louise's ship, and Annie has a tearful reunion with her daughter. As Blake steers the company to waiting cars, Happy temporarily kidnaps a snoopy reporter, while the rest of the gang start a fight to distract the police from Dave's presence. After three happy days, the visitors are delighted when Blake announces, in front of Dave, that he and Annie will host a reception for them on the night they leave for Spain. Dave is disgruntled but promises to help, and after kidnapping three more insistent reporters, he begins planning the reception. Blake suggests that Dave's "mugs" and Missouri's "girls" pretend they are society swells and he writes speeches for them while Dave rehearses their manners. The next morning, police inspector MacCreary chastises his captain for not finding the missing reporters, and is reprimanded himself by the inspector, who in turn gets it from the commissioner, who is threatened by the mayor, and they all vow to fire their subordinates if the problem is not resolved. To further complicate matters, the first reporter Happy kidnapped comes in and implicates Dave. Later, on the night of the reception, the police surround Missouri's club, where the gang has assembled for a final rehearsal. Meanwhile, at Annie's apartment, Blake bets the count double or nothing on a game of billiards for Louise's dowry. Blake wins, but his jubilation sours when Dave calls to inform him that they are trapped at the club. Annie overhears the conversation, despairs and goes to confess to the count. MacCreary, meanwhile, arrests Dave, but Dave threatens that the reporters will never be seen again if he cannot carry out the night's plans. MacCreary then takes Dave to the mayor, who is hosting a party for the governor. Dave explains the situation and just as Annie is about to tell the count, Carlos and Louise the truth, the governor, the mayor and their guests arrive, pretending to be Annie's guests. The reception is a success, ending with the governor giving the visitors a police escort to their ship. On the way, each superior tells his subordinate that all is well, and the returned reporters are instructed to say that they were out on a drunk, thereby absolving Dave and preserving Annie's charade. +

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.