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Broadway Love (1918)

6.4
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A small-town girl goes to New York hoping to become a star on Broadway, but the best she can do are roles as chorus girls. She falls in with a "fast" crowd, notably a "party girl" named ... See full summary »

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Title: Broadway Love (1918)

Broadway Love (1918) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Midge O'Hara
Juanita Hansen ...
Cherry Blow
William Stowell ...
Henry Rockwell
Harry von Meter ...
Jack Chalvey
...
Elmer Watkins
Gladys Tennyson ...
Mrs.Watkins
Eve Southern ...
Drina
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Storyline

A small-town girl goes to New York hoping to become a star on Broadway, but the best she can do are roles as chorus girls. She falls in with a "fast" crowd, notably a "party girl" named Cherry Blow, and finds herself involved with wild parties, horny millionaires and her boyfriend from back home who has come to New York to marry her. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Romance

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21 January 1918 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Cherry Blow meets Elmer.
4 December 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

I viewed a print of 'Broadway Love' at Eastman House in Rochester, NY. By the way, for all you old-movie lovers who wish that more so-called 'lost' films would become available: there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of obscure and not-so-obscure films archived at Eastman House that are not viewable in their present condition, because Eastman House lack the funds to restore them. If you (yes, YOU out there) would make a tax-deductible donation to Eastman House, you could help bring a 'lost' film back from the dead.

UPDATE: More than a year after posting this review, I saw 'Broadway Love' again at the 2006 Cinema Muto festival in Sacile, Italy. Maybe some of you have heeded my pleas, and are donating money to help restore some so-called 'lost' films. If so, I thank you.

'Broadway Love" was directed and co-scripted by Ida May Park, an early director whose work is genuinely noteworthy in its own right, not merely because she was a woman. Park's films tend to feature female protagonists in realistic situations from the period shortly before American women got the vote.

Midge O'Hara (Dorothy Phillips) is a small-town gal who goes to New York in hope of success as a Broadway actress. She meets a good-time gal named Cherry Blow(!), who is ostensibly a chorus girl but is actually a 'party girl': the film is remarkably explicit about this. Cherry Blow has already sucked all the money out of wealthy playboy Jack Chalvey, no longer so wealthy.

By now, Midge is working as a 'chorus girl', though the film implies that this description might be more figurative than literal. Midge had a 'fellow' back home named Elmer Watkins: we read his name on screen (in a letter from Midge's aunt) before we meet him. Having seen several comedies in which Buster Keaton played hick characters named Elmer (to say nothing of Elmer Fudd), I expected Elmer Watkins to be a real hick rube. Surprise! He turns out to be a realistic bucolic character, not a stereotype. But Elmer is played by Lon Chaney, so it's no surprise that this actor would give a realistic and credible performance.

Elmer has come to New York to propose to Midge and take her home, but she mocks his rustic appearance. He follows her to a wild party. (This movie was made before Prohibition, yet the booze they're drinking in this scene appears to be bathtub gin.) Embarrassed by Elmer's attentions, Midge asks a man named Rockwell to take her back to her flat. Rockwell complies, but when they get there he tries to force himself on her, clearly believing that a chorus girl won't say no. Midge flings herself out of Rockwell's moving auto (nice stuntwork here), and is injured. Rockwell, being basically a decent chap, pays her hospital bill.

Elmer abruptly marries another woman, but decides to hang about New York with her for some reason. In contrived circumstances, Midge persuades Chalvey to pretend to be her husband, hoping to make Elmer jealous. Meanwhile, Rockwell is showing legitimate romantic interest in Midge ... until he learns from Elmer that she's married to Chalvey. SPOILER NOW. All ends happily, after some confusion.

There are some fairly contrived plot twists here, but many other photo-dramas of this period are far more guilty of that particular crime. Park does an excellent job of telling this story on a low budget: much of the story takes place in Manhattan's theatre district but has clearly been filmed elsewhere. The entire cast give excellent performances. As Elmer, Chaney's performance is notable because his character doesn't fit in with these sophisticated city types, and could easily have become a stereotype, yet Chaney expertly keeps the character fresh. Juanita Hansen, who often played sluttish roles, is impressive as Cherry Blow: I regret that her character's name is more laughable than Park might have intended. I'll rate 'Broadway Love' 8 out of 10. Send a donation to Eastman House, people!


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