Broadway Bill (1934)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 27, 1934 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Frank Capra's Broadway Bill (1934) is almost too much movie for its own good. Made in the wake of It Happened One Night, it features virtually the same supporting cast and bit players, so much so that, while watching it, one gets the feeling that they've run off camera and simply switched costumes. The movie is a full cinematic meal at 102 minutes, with perhaps one or two too many digressions in plot and at least a partial layer too many characters, between the family disputes, the marital woes, the presence of the criminal element, and the sentimentality of the story. It's about a man who loves horses, and the horse that sacrifices everything out of devotion to him (be warned, the climactic race will bring tears to the eyes of any animal lover); but it's also about mismatched couples, social inequity, and the idle rich, and a lot else having to do with life in 1934 including American optimism -- in some respects, the film almost anticipates the real-life story (or, at least, the early life story) of Seabiscuit. Capra pulls it all together better than probably any director this side of William Wyler could have, and he does it with some surprisingly deft touches in the individual scenes getting a very physical performance out of Warner Baxter, a deeply passionate one from Myrna Loy, and some serious help from Walter Connolly and Clarence Muse. It doesn't quite all fit together, but it is a very ambitious and effective comedy drama with some memorable scenes and moments throughout and a wonderfully upbeat finale with an unexpected twist.