7.4/10
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Lady for a Day (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | 13 September 1933 (USA)
A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.

Director:

Frank Capra

Writers:

Robert Riskin (screen play and dialogue), Damon Runyon (from the story by)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Warren William ... Dave the Dude
May Robson ... Apple Annie
Guy Kibbee ... Judge Blake
Glenda Farrell ... Missouri Martin
Ned Sparks ... Happy
Walter Connolly ... Count Romero
Jean Parker ... Louise
Nat Pendleton ... Shakespeare
Barry Norton ... Carlos
Halliwell Hobbes ... Butler
Hobart Bosworth ... Governor
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Inspector
Edit

Storyline

Apple Annie is an indigent woman who has always written to her daughter in Spain that she is a member of New York's high society. With her daughter suddenly en route to America with her new fiancé and his father, a member of Spain's aristocracy, Annie must continue her pretense of wealth or the count will not give his blessing. She gets unexpected help from Dave the Dude, a well-known figure in underground circles who considers Annie his good luck charm, and who obtains for her a luxury apartment to entertain the visitors - but this uncharacteristic act of kindness from a man with a disreputable reputation arouses suspicions, leading to complications which further cause things to not always go quite as planned. Written by Paul Donahue

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Takes its place among the greatest pictures ever made!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

13 September 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beggar's Holiday See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the short story "Madame La Gimp" by Damon Runyon published in the October 1929 issue of Hearst's International Cosmopolitan magazine. See more »

Goofs

While Dave the Dude's gang waits inside Missouri Martin's nightclub, Happy McGuire and Dave stand outside and are informed of the presence of the cops. Behind them on the left side of the double doors there is a "Closed" sign but the sign is gone when the interior shot has the two entering the club. See more »

Quotes

Apple Annie: [to a cop helping himself to an apple for free] Come around to the house sometime. I got a lot of silverwear hanging around loose.
See more »

Connections

Version of Mr. Canton and Lady Rose (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sidewalks of New York
(1894) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Lawlor and James W. Blake
Played during the openng credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It Made Columbia Pictures With A Second Choice Cast
12 February 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Back in the days of the studio system only one B picture outfit managed to vault itself into the big time and compete with the majors. That studio was Harry Cohn's Columbia and the film that did it was Frank Capra's Lady For A Day.

In his very candid memoirs Capra said unabashedly that his goal was to win one of those statues nicknamed Oscar. The Motion Picture Academy Awards were only five years old, but still the awards were coveted then because it meant prestige and far bigger salaries and in a director's case, bigger budgets to work with.

Capra said he tried and failed with a very arty film, The Bitter Tea of General Yen which lost money for Columbia and Cohn. He set out try it a different way with a sentimental story from that most sentimental of writers, Damon Runyon. The original story was entitled Madame LaGimp and it was about a street beggar who the great city of New York takes to its heart for a brief period with the assistance of a gangster with a streak of sentiment.

But this was Columbia, the poverty row studio so Capra couldn't get the only old lady movie star around in Marie Dressler from MGM. May Robson was his second choice for Apple Annie, the street beggar who has a daughter in a convent school in Spain and engaged to marry into Spanish nobility.

As for the gangster Capra wanted James Cagney, but Harry Cohn couldn't pry him loose from Jack Warner. He was offered Warren William instead and certainly the dapper and elegant William played a different kind of gangster than Cagney would have. For William's moll, Capra's partner and screenwriter for Lady for a Day Robert Riskin persuaded his then girl friend Glenda Farrell to take the part. She Jack Warner was willing to part with.

With the great skill that Capra had in casting his films, some of the best character actors around like Guy Kibbee, Nat Pendleton, Ned Sparks, and Walter Connolly filled out his roster. A lot of these people would work for Frank Capra again and again.

Came Oscar time and Lady for a Day had the great distinction of being nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay adapted from another source. This was the first film from Columbia Pictures that was ever nominated for anything by the Motion Picture Academy. May Robson made Capra forget he ever wanted Marie Dressler. Unfortunately she lost to a young actress picking up her first of four Oscars, Katharine Hepburn.

Riskin lost to the writers of Little Women and the film itself lost that year to the British story Cavalcade. One of the most embarrassing moments in Frank Capra's life occurred when Awards host Will Rogers in announcing the Best Director said "come up and get it Frank."

Capra rose thinking it was him and the spotlights came down on him. Then there was a frantic buzzing and the spotlight shifted to the opposite side of the hall where Frank Lloyd got up to accept the award that was meant for him for directing Cavalcade. Talk about feeling like a nickel looking for change.

However next year Capra's next film It Happened One Night swept all the major Oscars including his first. It sounds like something that only could have happened in a Frank Capra movie.


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