review for The Toast of New York on AllMovie

The Toast of New York (1937)
by Craig Butler review

The factual accuracy of The Toast of New York could just about fill a thimble, which puts it on a par with so many Hollywood biopics. For those unbothered by the blatant distortions and outright lies, however, Toast is a pretty darn entertaining little rise-and-fall story -- or, more to the point, rise-and-death story. It's all nonsense, of course; the story that Dudley Nichols, Joel Sayre, Derek N. Twist and John Twist have concocted is the kind of implausible but delightful tomfoolery that Hollywood excelled in. If it's unbelievable, it's still entertaining, and most important of all, it gives corpulent, gravel-voiced Edward Arnold the chance to play one of his patented "rich schemer" roles. At the time Toast was made, Arnold had something of a lock on this kind of part, and with good reason: no one else was ever as much fun in them. He holds the film together, even when the screenplay threatens to run it off the rails. He gets some very valuable help in this area from a young, just-about-a-star Cary Grant, whose own particular charm was also helpful in parts like this, which are on the shady side. Frances Farmer is also quite good, which is impressive considering how incredibly dull her part is as written, and the supporting cast is just ducky.