Angels Over Broadway

Angels Over Broadway ★★★★

This was a fun watch, included in my oddly-titled yet truly economical Mill Creek 'Classic Romances' 8-pack, which I purchased because I love old movies and it was only $10. Though if you really stretch the definition of 'romance', the designation fits, that aspect is but a very minor component of this, and the other films', workings. The 2-time Oscar winner (both wins, and all six nominations, were for screenwriting prowess) Ben Hecht directed this, and he did a decent job, even throwing in the odd bit of idiosyncratic flair. I must admit though I admire him more for his writing--he's made such a mark on cinema with simply the handful I'll casually mention here (Underworld--an Oscar-winner, The Front Page, Scarface, Nothing Sacred, Angels with Dirty Faces, Gunga Din, His Girl Friday, The Shop Around the Corner, Foreign Correspondent, Lifeboat, Spellbound, Gilda, Notorious, Rope) from ones I have personally seen and adored.

I must admit I'm more familiar with Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s work than that of his son here, and it's really different watching Rita Hayworth at this stage of her career, playing a shy, naïve waif--nothing like the force of nature she would become just a few years later with 'Gilda' and her short, tempestuous marriage to Orson Welles.

In short, the story works for me, that of a boozing playwright, struggling actress and hustler helping a suicidal man out of a jam. It's a sweet little movie that's worth owning and rewatching. I honestly wish they still made little wonders like this these days. Not everything has to be either Star Wars or Hamlet.

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