It is the World War I period, and Peggy Martin, a showgirl and mistress to London Fiske, marries her love, handsome Monte Van Tyle. They move into the house on 56th street and have a baby, ...
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When the Manhattan investment firm of Sherwood Nash goes broke, he joins forces with his partner Snap and fashion designer Lynn Mason to provide discount shops with cheap copies of Paris couture dresses.
It is the World War I period, and Peggy Martin, a showgirl and mistress to London Fiske, marries her love, handsome Monte Van Tyle. They move into the house on 56th street and have a baby, Eleanor. Monte enlists in the army and is killed in action. Peggy is revisited by Fiske who wants her back or he'll commit suicide. She refuses his advances and the gun he brought accidentally goes off killing him. Peggy is convicted with murdered and jailed. Eleanor is told her mother is dead. Twenty years later, Peggy is released and meets gambler, Bill Blaine. The house on 56th street is now a gambling house owned by politician, Bonelli. Bill and Peggy get jobs there. Eleanor comes to visit them, and goes with Bill into his office. Bill threatens Eleanor, now a huge gambler, that he'll tell her husband about her huge debts. Eleanor kills Bill and Peggy takes the blame. Bonelli believes Peggy is innocent and offers to help her if she only stays at the house on 56th street.Written by
I interpret this not as a full length feature but as a one hour front end of double feature (which would be preceded by a cartoon and a newsreel). In other words, you could call it a B movie. Seen that way, it is almost perfect. It is short and uncomplicated but manages to engage you and deliver a twist at the end.
It starts out looking like it will be another Kay Francis light romantic comedy along with the usual accompanying fashion show. Certain, she parades quite a collection of hats in the opening 20 minutes or so. Then the melodrama and angst kicks in and it becomes clear that this is no comedy.
It is not profound and opens no new paths in movie making. It sets out to entertain and deliver on expectations but manages to give something extra. You come away satisfied that you have seen a good movie but not so tired and engaged that you can't watch the back half of the double feature.
Kay Francis delivers what you would expect from her. In 1933, people went to see her movies expecting certain things and they get them plus some additional and effectively portrayed moods and emotion as a bonus. However, I must say that she is not as stunning and glamorous as she was in many of her other movies but that could be appropriate and deliberate here. The rest of the cast is up to their tasks. There isn't enough material for any of them to actually shine. The movie moves quickly and covers more than one time period.
Overall, a very successful B movie.
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