Movie of the Day

Broadway Bill

There was not a lot to hold my interest on this one, but I am a Frank Capra completest and so had to watch this sooner or later. I haven’t seen many horse racing films—the only one that comes to mind is the Marx Brothers’ A Day at the Races, which of course is more about the Marx Brothers film than a horse racing. Even though I am not familiar with the genre, Broadway Bill throws in all of the clichés. The horse that the starry-eyed dreamers are pinning all their hopes on is repossessed over an unpaid feed bill, and jockey is paid to “ride dirty” and so on and so on. The sentimental scene of a funeral service held for the title horse had me rolling my eyes, but on the other hand it was interesting to see a relatively young Myrna Loy, at the age of 29, playing an heiress who runs away from her cardboard box magnate father (Walter Connolly) to help her husband (Warner Baxter) and his horse win the big race. I mainly knew Loy from her films of the ‘40s such as The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), in which she was more mature and less glamorous. A few—just a few—of the scene have that distinctive Frank Capra flavor, such as a bored millionaire cooped up in a hospital bed taking a tip from his nurse to bet two dollars on Broadway Bill, and this fact being passed from telephone operator to telephone operator (including a young, still-blonde Lucille Ball) in a quick-fire montage, until the rumored amount rises to $200,000, setting off a betting fervor that drastically tilts the odds.

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