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The Heart of New York (1932)

Passed  |   |  Comedy  |  26 March 1932 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 61 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

In the Jewish enclave of New York's lower East Side, hapless inventor Mendel is constantly in debt since he uses all his (and other people's) money to tinker with machines that will make ... See full summary »

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(play), (adaptation), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Heart of New York (1932)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joe Smith ...
Charles Dale ...
Bernard Schnaps
George Sidney ...
Mendel Marantz
Ruth Hall ...
Lillian Marantz
Aline MacMahon ...
Bessie - the Neighbor
Anna Appel ...
Mrs. Zelde Marantz
Donald Cook ...
Milton
Oscar Apfel ...
Otto Gassenheim
Harold Waldridge ...
Jakie Marantz (as Harold Waldrige)
Marion Byron ...
Mimi Marantz
George MacFarlane ...
Mr. Marshall
Ann Brody ...
Mrs. Nussbaum
Charles Coleman ...
Mendel's Butler
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Storyline

In the Jewish enclave of New York's lower East Side, hapless inventor Mendel is constantly in debt since he uses all his (and other people's) money to tinker with machines that will make him rich. He finally does create a dish washing machine and becomes involved with his match-making, rent-collecting brother-in-law Bernard and Bernard's partner to market the machine. Success leads to strife in the family and Mendel's wife Zelda moves 'uptown' with her new found wealth while Mendel builds a luxurious townhouse in the East Side. Complications with finances lead to a reconciliation between Zelda and Mendel and cumuppence for the wheelers and dealers involved. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 March 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

East Side  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play originally opened in New York City, New York, USA on 25 November 1929 and ran for 216 performances. Joe Smith and Charles Dale originated their roles in the play. See more »

Soundtracks

Daisy Bell
(1892) (uncredited)
aka "A Bicycle Built for Two"
Music by Harry Dacre
Played during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An interesting but somewhat confusing and badly titled film
4 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film was based on the play "Mendel", thus it is somewhat stage-bound due to that fact, not early sound technology which had no problem with movement by 1932. Scenes even change as in plays with the screen going black from top to bottom and then with the "curtain" rising and the black screen disappearing bottom to top. This film was also meant to spotlight the Jewish comedy team of Smith and Dale - here they are matchmakers Shtrudel and Schnapps.

You have to pay close attention to this one to keep up with what's going on. Plus, the focus of the film/play keeps shifting. At first the focus is on the Marantz family with quite a bit of film time given to the youngest two children, their needs, and the fact that Mendel Marantz is not a very good provider. He's a plumber who'd rather tinker with inventions than plumb for a living.

Then the focus suddenly shifts to the oldest daughter, Lillian, and the fact that the mother is afraid she is passing her prime marriageable age. The two youngest kids seem to disappear from view almost entirely, and enter Smith and Dale as the matchmakers. There's a confusing bit about how Lillian's boyfriend and Strudel and Schapp's individual selections of a match for her all turn out to be one person - Donald Cook as Milton, who is a vet, a dentist, and a lawyer, but is bored with all three professions and wants to start a fourth. That storyline too peters out.

When the dust finally settles on a storyline it is mainly about Mendel's latest invention - an automatic dishwasher - which actually works and promises to bring him big money and how it brings out the Marantz family's true feelings about their old neighborhood. Mom and the kids want to leave skid marks on their way out of the old neighborhood and go live among New York City's elite. Mendel though, has his heart in this run down place he has always called home. He wants to buy the whole building he now rents a small piece of, and become the landlord. He renovates the building and gives all of the tenants two months free rent so they have "two months to think of excuses why they can't pay the rent" and on the inside, is a man unchanged by his money and truly generous to his neighbors.

However, someone is out to cheat him out of his invention, and this is the most confusing part of the film. So pay close attention to everything that goes on up to that point or the last ten minutes will not make sense.

Someone else mentioned that this film's jokes portray Jews as obsessed with money, but I think they miss the entire point. Everyone during the Great Depression was obsessed with money - there wasn't enough to go around, and survival was a struggle. This film is just about one particular ethnic neighborhood in New York and one man's struggle to live his dream in spite of the times, in spite of the fact that he is bored by his profession, in spite of the fact that his wife is constantly on his case.

The comedy of Smith and Dale has not aged particularly well. It mainly consists of Norm Crosby-like slaughtering of the English language. I'd still check this film out for the novelty of it all. Even though I don't think it meant any offense, political correctness would never let you get away with this kind of comedy today.


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