Big City Blues (1932 film)
Big City Blues is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and distributed by Warner Bros. The film is based on the play New York Town by Ward Morehouse and stars Joan Blondell and Eric Linden, with uncredited early appearances by Humphrey Bogart and Lyle Talbot.
|Big City Blues|
|Directed by||Mervyn LeRoy|
|Written by||Lillie Hayward|
|Based on||the play New York Town|
by Ward Morehouse
|Music by||Ray Heindorf|
|Cinematography||James Van Trees|
|Edited by||Ray Curtiss|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Bud Reeves is a naive young man (Eric Linden) who lives in a small town in Indiana. After inheriting $1,100 from his aunt, he decides to use the money to move to New York City to find a job and start a new life. His dog Duke follows him to the railroad station, and the Station Agent (Grant Mitchell) says he'll take care of the pup--won't take him as a gift but only as a loan, because he's quite sure Bud will be back in a month or less, having spent some time in the city himself, and well aware of how tough it can be.
Once there, Bud rents a modest but spacious hotel room and soon meets his much older, slick-talking cousin "Gibby" (Walter Catlett). Gibby immediately begins to fleece Bud out of small amounts of his cash to buy things. He also introduces him to chorus girl Vida Fleet (Joan Blondell) and her friend Faun (Inez Courtney). Bud quickly falls in love with Vida.
Trouble soon starts when Gibby purchases a large amount of liquor and champagne from a local bootlegger (J. Carroll Naish) and arranges a party in Bud's room. In addition to Vida and Faun, others joining the party include Jackie Devoe (Josephine Dunn) and more chorus girls, as well as three men: "Stacky" (Ned Sparks), Shep (Humphrey Bogart), and Lenny (Lyle Talbot). Later in the evening, after considerable drinking, Shep and a very drunk Lenny begin arguing about who will take unconscious Jackie home. A fight ensues; furniture is overturned; and lamps are broken. As the lights go out, Shep and Lenny continue their brawl. Bottles are also being wildly thrown and used as weapons in the darkened room. When the lights come back on, the revelers discover that Jackie, lying on a couch, is dead, killed by one of the bottles hitting her head. Everyone except Bud hurriedly leaves the hotel room, even Vida. The house detective, Hummel (Guy Kibbee), soon discovers Jackie's body after seeing Vida, who has returned to get Bud. The young couple flees, try to escape the police, but are later arrested along with some of the other partiers. All are finally cleared of any charges when back at the hotel Hummel finds the real killer, Lenny, whose corpse is hanging in a closet. Evidence shows that he committed the crime, and that in his guilt and remorse over Jackie's death he hanged himself.
After a tearful goodbye with Vida, Bud goes back to Indiana, to find Duke patiently waiting for him at the station (the Station Agent collects on a bet he made over this). A telegraph he sends via the Station Agent indicates he intends to return to New York after saving enough money, presumably to marry Vida.
- Joan Blondell as Vida Fleet
- Eric Linden as Bud Reeves
- Jobyna Howland as Serena Cartlich
- Ned Sparks as "Stacky" Stackhouse
- Guy Kibbee as Hummell, the house detective
- Grant Mitchell as Station Agent
- Walter Catlett as Cousin "Gibby" Gibboney
- Inez Courtney as Faun
- Thomas Jackson as Detective Quelkin
- Humphrey Bogart as Shep Adkins
- Josephine Dunn as Jackie DeVoe
- Evalyn Knapp as Jo-Jo
- Lyle Talbot as Len 'Lenny' Sully
- Sheila Terry as Lorna St. Clair
- Gloria Shea as Agnes
- Tom Dugan as Red
- Betty Gillette as Mabel
- Edward McWade as Baggage Master
- Wallis Clark as Chief of Police
- Selmer Jackson as Joe
- Clarence Muse as Nightclub Singer
- J. Carrol Naish as Bootlegger
- Dick Powell as Radio Announcer (voice)
- The AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1893-1993:Big City Blues
- Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, (<-book title) p.16 c.1978 by The American Film Institute
- "Big City Blues (1932)", non-circulating copy of film, UCLA Film and Television Archives, Los Angeles, California. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- McCarty, Clifford (1965). Bogey-The Films of Humphrey Bogart. Cadillac Publishing Co., Inc. p. 23.