Thursday, July 29, 2010

Manhattan Melodrama(1934)

Manhattan Melodrama(1934). Director: W. S. Van Dyke. Cast: Clark Gable, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Leo Carrillo, Nat Pendleton, and Isabel Jewell. The movie also provided one of the earliest film roles for Mickey Rooney, who played the Gable character as a child. This is the first of 14 pairings of Myrna Loy and William Powell and the first of three movies they would make together in 1934.

Blackie Gallagher and Jim Wade lose their parents when the General Slocum sinks in New York harbor, and are rescued by Father Joe. A kind man, Poppa Rosen takes the boys in, but a few years later he is trampled by police horses used to break up a riot against the Russian Leon Trotsky.

Years later, Blackie runs a gambling club while Jim has been elected district attorney. Blackie looks up to Jim, even though they are on opposite sides of the law. Blackie's mistress Eleanor tries to convince Blackie to stop gambling and settle down with her. Knowing that he will not change his ways, she decides to marry Jim.

After gambler Manny Arnold is shot, Spud, accidentally left Jim's coat at the scene of the crime, Blackie has Spud bring an exact duplicate that he has had his tailor make to Jim.

Soon Jim runs for governor, but his assistant, Richard Snow, tries to pressure him by indicating that the Arnold case makes Jim look like he is mixed up with murderers.

The story takes off when Jim has to make the heartbreaking decision of having to decide whether his friend should live or die.

This is one of my favorite Powell performances and Gable's performance is wonderful as the bad guy we all root for.

Isabel Jewell, was a Broadway actress who achieved immediate success in, Up Pops the Devil (1930) and Blessed Event (1932).
She was brought to Hollywood for the film version of the latter.

Jewell performed in many supporting roles in the early 1930s. She played gangster's women in films, Manhattan Melodrama (1934) and Marked Woman (1937).

She also performed well as a seamstress sentenced to death in, A Tale of Two Cities (1935).

Her most significant role was as the prostitute Gloria Stone in Lost Horizon (1937).

Jewell's films included Gone with the Wind (1939) in the role of "that white trash, Emmy Slattery", Northwest Passage (1940), High Sierra (1941), and The Leopard Man (1943).

 By the end of her career, Jewell had performed in more than one hundred films, between 1930 and 1971.

She also performed in radio dramas in the 1950s, including This is Your FBI.

Isabel Jewell played opposite Edie Sedgwick in her biographical/drama CIAO, Manhattan.

Her final film was the "B" movie Sweet Kill (1973).


  1. Very informative post, Dawn. By the way, gangster John Dillinger was shot after seeing this film at a theatre with two lady friends.

  2. Rick, Thank you. John Dillinger was captured in downtown Tucson in 1934. They used to have reenactments of his capture, but.. I do not remember hearing about it the past couple of years.


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