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Big City Blues (1932)

Unrated | | Comedy, Drama | 18 September 1932 (USA)
Seventy-two hours in the life of Indiana man Bud who inherits money and heads for New York City where his cousin Gibbony introduces him to chorus girl Vida for whom he falls. When a girl is... See full summary »

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(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Jobyna Howland ...
Ned Sparks ...
Mr. 'Stacky' Stackhouse
...
Hummell, the House Detective
...
Station Agent
Walter Catlett ...
Cousin 'Gibby' Gibboney
...
Faun
Thomas E. Jackson ...
Detective Quelkin (as Thomas Jackson)
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Storyline

Seventy-two hours in the life of Indiana man Bud who inherits money and heads for New York City where his cousin Gibbony introduces him to chorus girl Vida for whom he falls. When a girl is killed by a drunk at a party in his hotel room, Bud is the chief suspect. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Innocents caught in the maelstrom of the Big City...women who take...men who give...living wildly...loving recklessly...madly searching for new thrills! (Glass advertising slide). See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

18 September 1932 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play, "New York Town" was copyrighted in 1932, but had no known performances. See more »

Quotes

Station Agent: Say, I guess you're willing to stay around home now awhile, heh? Got enough of New York for good and all. That right?
Bud Reeves: Well, certainly not!
Station Agent: What's that? You mean you'd like to go back to that place?
Bud Reeves: Of course I would! And I'm goin'. It may not be right soon, but, I'll go back. I know I will. New York's alright. It was just me that was wrong. It's a place that sorta takes hold of you. Gets under your skin. Licked me this time. Licked me bad. But, next time, maybe, well, it might be different.
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Connections

Referenced in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

My Baby Just Cares for Me
(uncredited)
Music by Walter Donaldson
Played on the radio
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User Reviews

 
"Oh that place, take it easy Sonny, this rushin' will come in handy after you get there."
19 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Perhaps to underscore the quick pace of life in New York, "Big City Blues" moves along at a hectic sixty three minute pace, and tries to cram as much action as it can into that amount of time. Willow Station railroad agent (Grant Mitchell) has been there and done that, and bets a ten spot with a buddy that anxious traveler Bud Reeves (Eric Linden) will be back within a month.

For his part, Bud is flush with enthusiasm and eleven hundred dollars and ready to make his mark on the big town. He's met by fast talking cousin "Gibby" Gibboney (Walter Catlett), who has a knack for getting others to pay his way, and completely monopolizes the conversation in every scene he's in. He's on a first name basis with a few up and coming showgirls, particularly cute Vida Fleet (Joan Blondell), who immediately becomes fond of the rube from Hoopersville, Indiana. Things move a bit too fast though, as Gibby organizes a welcome party for Bud in his room at the Hotel Hercules, and all manner of show biz types begin to arrive, among them Shep Adkins (Humphrey Bogart). Shep is about to move in on Len Scully's (Lyle Talbot) girl, Lenny objects with his fists, and a brawl breaks out that leaves the young showgirl dead.

Not knowing what to do, young Bud follows the example of everyone else at the party, he high tails it before the law can arrive. Night watchman Hummel (Guy Kibbee) revels in his five minutes of fame for finding the dead victim, while detective Quelkin (Thomas Jackson) tails Vida who he hopes can lead him to Bud Reeves, guilty until proved innocent. By accident, Hummel solves the case by going for his whiskey bottle in the hotel linen closet, where he finds Scully's body, a suicide victim with a shard of the broken bottle that neatly fits with the piece recovered by the police.

Back at Willow Station, it only takes the railroad agent three days to collect on his bet, as Bud gratefully touches down on home turf. He still has visions of grandeur for life in New York, but has grown up enough to have some patience for it. Maybe next time, things will work out a bit better.

By 1932, Humphrey Bogart had a handful of movie credits to his name, but nothing significant as of yet. That was about to change with his next film, "Three on a Match", which also co-starred Joan Blondell. Both would work together two more times, in 1936's "Bullets or Ballots" with Edward G. Robinson, and the 1937 comedy "Stand-In". All are recommended for fans of either, while "Bullets or Ballots" is a fine early example of the mobster genre made popular by films like "Public Enemy" and "White Heat".


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