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Angels over Broadway

3.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Charles Mitchell has been caught embezzling. He writes a suicide note and goes out wandering on thetown. Small-time hustler Bill O'Brian sees him give a couple of big tips, figures he's rich, and plans to take him over to a big-time card game and fleece him. He enlists Nina Barone to help get Mitchell to the game. She goes along but is more interested in O'Brien than in his schemes. Meanwhile, aperpetually drunk and none too successful playwright, Gene Gibbons, finds the suicide note. He cooks up a scheme (with the reluctant aid of O'Brien) to get the money Mitchell needs to pay back his employer and save his life.

Amazon.com

Sardonic newsman turned razor-wit screenwriter Ben Hecht softens his hard-boiled style for a rare directorial outing in Angels over Broadway. Set in the world he knew and loved so well--Broadway's nightlife of hustlers and suckers and high-society swells--Hecht's tale of tarnished angels stars Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as a street hustler cajoled into fronting a flimsy scheme to heist a gambling hoodlum and save a suicidal stranger. Pre-sex bomb Rita Hayworth is awkward but sweet as a breathy ingénue, and Thomas Mitchell gets all the best lines as a boozy playwright whose chivalrous streak grows with each drink ("Eugene, you're drunk." "My dear, you understate the case by three bottles and a thousand tears."). Hecht has been sharper and wittier but rarely so sentimental. Under his snappy patter is the heart of a jaded romantic taking one more chance. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Theodore, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., John Qualen, George Watts, Rita Hayworth
  • Directors: Ben Hecht
  • Producers: Ben Hecht
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), Portuguese (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000069HYC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,003 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Angels over Broadway" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Ben Hecht wrote, produced and with the excellent cinematographer Lee Garmes, directed this night-life story about a poor clerk (John Qualen) who is going to kill himself if he can't get $3,000, and and a drunken playwright (Thomas Mitchell) who takes him in charge. The playwright thinks that since sharp gamblers always let you win at poker before they trim you & the trick is to leave the game early............ Two young lovers complicated the playwright's plan. Offbeat and ahead of its time, this Hecht production is surely one of the most unheralded fine films ever to come out of Hollywood (I suspect because 1939 was THE greatest year the movies ever knew and there was too much compitition). Columbia mogul Harry Cohn hand-picked the lovely Hayworth (as a call girl!) and the performances by Mitchell (as a marvelous lush) and Fairbanks are captivating ; Hecht's dialogue sparkles with poetic irony. It's an unpredictable Broadway saga on the screen, filmed with a fast pace and panache. Hecht's character's talk too much, but Hecht was a compulsive gambler himself, and there's a genial, original spirit to this movie.
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Even though this movie won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, this is a sadly forgotten movie that deserves a wider audience. While it was made in 1940, prior to the official start of the Noir period (1941), there are plenty of noir elements that can be found in it. However, unlike a lot of noirs, this movie has an optimistic view on the nature of people, something that makes me enjoy it quite a bit. And it has the glorious Rita Hayworth, so there is that....
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This is a good comedy drama about a suicidal man named Charles Engle ((John Qualen) gets involved with a small-time hustler named Bill O'Brian (Douglas Fairbanks) who mistakenly thinks that Engle is a wealthy man. He hatches a scheme to get Engle into a poker game with his gangster friends, and persuades Nina Barone (Rita Hayworth), an out of work dancer in his scheme. Meanwhile, a perpetually lush playwright, Gene Gibbons (Thomas Mitchell), finds the suicide note left by Engle, and he comes up with his own scheme to save the suicidal man. O'Brien reluctantly agrees to become an angel in this little scheme that interests Nina. She agrees to offer her help to get enough money ($3,000) Engle needs to pay back his employer and save his life. The plan goes awry, and finally all ends well. Douglas Fairbanks offers a good performance as a hustler, and Rita Hayworth looks beautiful, but comes short of dazzling. Ben Hecht wrote and directed this movie about a group of hustlers turning themselves into angels.
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Wonderfully savvy Ben Hecht script, classic Thomas Mitchell performance, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in his prime & early Rita Hayworth in this literate drama. Also, an impressive performance by John Qualen, who you've seen a hundred times in supporting roles.
Very theatrical but nicely directed as a film by Hecht himself. The only minor flaw is the brief fight scene. Other than that, a very enjoyable movie that bears watching again.
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My father, Ralph Theadore (not Theodore), performed in this movie. He was more of a Broadway actor than a Hollywood actor. He did, however appear in many movies before "talkies" came to be. So, I liked the movie for personal reasons.

Rev. William Salt
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