Broadway Through A Keyhole (1933)

broadway through a keyhole 1933

Good representation of the era. It features crooner Russ Columbo and the legendary Texas Guinan. There’s some singing from Constance Cummings backed by the Abe Lyman band. Blossom Seely plays Constance’s pal Sybil Smith. The movie has gangsters, dancers, Walter Winchell and…chickens.

Look fast for Lucille Ball in a beach scene and Ann Sothern in a blink and you’ll miss her bit as a chorus girl. Eddie Foy,Jr. appears as a singer-dancer. Other familiar faces of the era include Dennis O’Keefe and Wheeler Oakman. Mary Gordon who would gain fame as Mrs.Hudson in the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes series has a quick bit as a cleaning woman.

It’s a simple storyline about gangster Frank Rocci (Paul Kelly) and his childhood pal Joan Whalen (Constance Cummings). Frank runs a protection racket aimed at the American Poultry Association. Frank finds out Joan’s mother died and Joan needs a job.

He sets her up at the Klub Kaley. It’s owned by Tex Kaley (Texas Guinan) who is also the hostess. It doesn’t take much for Frank to intimidate Max Mefoofski (Gregory Ratoff) to give Joan the starring role in the club’s show. Max thinks he’s a great showmen and puts the performers through their paces. No surprise. Joan’s a hit.

Frank sets Joan up in a Park Avenue apartment…that is until a rival gangster tossed some machine gun bullets through the window. The next day Frank hustles Joan and Sybil onto a plane bound for Miami. Sybil is the girlfriend of Frank’s number one man Chuck. He keeps a gun on top of his head under his hat.

A bored Sybil drops her room key on purpose to attract a date. She ends up with Peanuts Dinwiddle. They take Joan to the showroom where she can’t help but spot bandleader-crooner Clark Brian (Russ Columbo.) Yes, sparks fly and love is in the air. Back in New York Frank has taken care of his rival and taken another on as a business partner. He’s feeling good and calls Joan to tell her to come back.

On a Miami beach Big Mouth Louis sees Joan and Clark. He has two babes with him. One is Lucille Ball. Louis thinks Clark gave him the high hat and sends a telegram to Frank. Chuck tries to hide it but Frank grabs it. On the phone Joan tells Frank she and Sybil are going to Havana before she returns. Okay with him…until he sees the telegram. He calls her right back and orders her to return. She does…but not after a lip lock with the smitten Clark.

Back in New York Joan tells Frank that Clark doesn’t mean anything to her and he buys it. Then….Clark walks out on his contract in Miami and shows up at the Club Kaley.

There are some good twists and turns to come and make this one a good movie to seek out

Russ Columbo was one of the most popular crooners of the era and rivaled Bing Crosby. Columbo died in a bizarre accidental shooting at age twenty-xix.

Constance Cummings-Russ Columbo

Constance Cummings-Russ Columbo

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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.
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