Broadway Bill | Chicago Reader

Broadway Bill

Not exactly a lost film or an uncovered masterpiece, but still a pretty good indication of what Frank Capra (and some of his most talented collaborators, including writer Robert Riskin and cinematographer Joseph Walker) could do during his prime. Made shortly after the runaway success of It Happened One Night, but before the “little man” bromides of Mr. Deeds and Mr. Smith took over, this horse-racing comedy drama starring Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy is a damned sight better than Riding High, the lugubrious 1950 remake with Bing Crosby. In both its brighter and its darker moments, it summons up some of the desperation that underlines both the movie's Depression context and Capra's boom-or-bust personality. The racial attitudes toward the hero's black servant (Clarence Muse) are dated, but the other stars—especially Walter Connolly, Raymond Walburn, and Margaret Hamilton—provide unalloyed pleasure (1934).

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