The Duke Is Tops (The Bronze Venus) (1938)

THE BRONZE VENUS (aka THE DUKE IS TOPS), Lena Horne on 1943 poster art, 1938. Art Print

The movie is pretty bad but of historical significance because it’s the credited screen debut of Lena Horne. She appeared in a Cab Calloway short before this one. At this point she can’t act for a second but there’s no trouble with her singing. There are a number of great performers including The Cats And The Fiddle, The Basin Street Boys, Rubberneck Holmes and Marie Bryant that also do their thing. The storyline is thin but it doesn’t matter since the music is the real draw.

Producer Duke Davis (Ralph Cooper) has a hit show called Sepia Scandals thanks mostly to singer Ethel Andrews (Lena Horne). A New York agent, George Marshall, knows she’s ready for the big time. He says he’ll make her career but Duke has to stay behind.

Ethel refuses to leave him so he fakes a five thousand dollar payment to himself to buy her contract. She thinks he was only interested in her for the money and agrees to go to New York. Her friend Ella catches Duke tearing up the fake check and getting the real story. He tells her to keep it quiet.

She’s off to a great start in New York. Duke puts together another show but without Ethel it’s a flop. Now he’s broke and out of work. One night in a drug store he runs into his old friend Dr.Dorando (Laurence Criner). He still runs a medicine show in small towns. Duke becomes his pitchman and business picks up.

In one town the local druggist brings the sheriff but he can’t do anything. A cat changes that and they’re run out of town. Along the way the trailer catches fire. At the next stop business couldn’t be better. This is when The Cats And The Fiddle do their number. Then Duke hears on the radio that things aren’t going so well for Ethel. He quits Dorando and heads for New York to help her out. Of course the last fifteen minutes are the big show.



About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
This entry was posted in Drama, vintage movies, vintage music and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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