IMDb > Blessed Event (1932)
Blessed Event
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Blessed Event (1932) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

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Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Howard J. Green (screen play) &
Forrest Wilson (based on the play: "Blessed Event" by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Blessed Event on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 September 1932 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Here it is! The scandalous comedy of a scandal columnist who rose FROM A KEYHOLE TO A NATIONAL INSTITUTION
Plot:
Al Roberts writes a gossip column for the Daily Express. He will write about anyone and everyone as long as he gets the credit... See more » | Add synopsis »
NewsDesk:
(2 articles)
Doris Day Movies on TCM: On Moonlight Bay
 (From Alt Film Guide. 2 April 2012, 5:47 PM, PDT)

New York's "Essential Pre-Code" Series: Week 3
 (From MUBI. 4 August 2011, 12:48 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
If you want to know what "chutzpah" is, watch Lee Tracy in action See more (12 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Lee Tracy ... Alvin Roberts

Mary Brian ... Gladys Price

Dick Powell ... Bunny Harmon

Allen Jenkins ... Frankie Wells
Ruth Donnelly ... Miss Stevens
Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Roberts

Edwin Maxwell ... Sam Gobel
Ned Sparks ... George Moxley
Walter Walker ... Mr. Miller
Frank McHugh ... Reilly
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Herman Bing ... Emil - the Head Chef (uncredited)
George Chandler ... Hanson (uncredited)
Jesse De Vorska ... Morris Shapiro (uncredited)
Tom Dugan ... Dick Cooper (uncredited)
Robert Gordon ... Eddie - the Office Boy (uncredited)
Ruth Hall ... Miss Bauman (uncredited)
William Halligan ... Herbert Flint (uncredited)
Lew Harvey ... Joe - Gobel's Henchman (uncredited)

Isabel Jewell ... Dorothy Lane (uncredited)
Jack La Rue ... Louis De Marco (uncredited)

Charles Lane ... Kane (uncredited)
George Meeker ... Cromwell Church - the Announcer (uncredited)
Walter Miller ... Boldt (uncredited)
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Jim - Police Detective (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Harold Waldridge ... George - the Bell Boy (uncredited)
Milton Wallace ... Joe Moskowitz (uncredited)

Directed by
Roy Del Ruth 
 
Writing credits
Howard J. Green  screen play (as Howard Green) &
Forrest Wilson  based on the play: "Blessed Event" by and
Manuel Seff  based on the play: "Blessed Event" by

Cinematography by
Sol Polito (photography)
 
Film Editing by
James Gibbon 
 
Art Direction by
Robert M. Haas  (as Robert Haas)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
Frank Marsales .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
80 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The photograph that Lee Tracy shows to Allen Jenkins as he describes the torments of the electric chair is genuine. It shows Ruth Snyder at the very moment of electrocution in the chair in 1928 and was taken by a reporter with a hidden camera strapped to his ankle. Just as the switch was pulled he crossed his legs and took the shot.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Week-End Marriage (1932)See more »
Soundtrack:
I'm Makin' Hay in the MoonlightSee more »

FAQ

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24 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
If you want to know what "chutzpah" is, watch Lee Tracy in action, 3 May 2007
Author: imogensara_smith from New York City

Lee Tracy is one of the lost joys of the pre-Code era. He mostly played newspapermen (he was Hildy Johnson in the original Broadway production of The Front Page) with a sideline in press agents, and whatever his racket he epitomized the brash, fast-talking, crafty, stop-at-nothing operator. He makes Cagney look bashful, skating around in perpetual, delirious overdrive, gesticulating and spitting out his lines like an articulate machine-gun, wheedling and needling and swearing on his mother's life as he lies through his teeth. He was homely and scrawny, with a raspy nasal voice, and he always played cocky, devious scoundrels, yet you find yourself rooting for him and reveling in his sheer energy and shameless moxie. Audiences of the early thirties loved his snappy style and irrepressible irreverence; they loved him because he was nobody's fool. He's a rare example of a character actor—that guy who always plays reporters—who through force of personality, and the luck of embodying the zeitgeist, had a brief reign as a star.

In BLESSED EVENT he plays Alvin Roberts, a character based so closely on Walter Winchell that Winchell could have sued--but he probably loved it. When we first meet Alvin, he's a lowly kid from the ad department who has been given a chance to sub for a gossip columnist and gotten in trouble for filling the column with dirt—primarily announcements of who is "anticipating a blessed event" without the proper matrimonial surroundings. Soon he's become an all-powerful celebrity and made scores of enemies, including a gangster willing to bump him off to shut him up. There's a subplot about Alvin's ongoing feud with a smarmy crooner, Bunny Harmon, played by Dick Powell. Anyone who finds Powell in his crooning days repellent will appreciate Tracy's merciless vendetta. Actually, I think Powell is being deliberately irritating here—even in Busby Berkeley films he's not so egregiously perky and fey. He does sing one good song, "Too Many Tears" (a theme throughout the film), and a wonderfully witless radio jingle for "Shapiro's Shoes."

Alvin's standard greeting is, "What do you know that I don't?" The answer is nothing—at least not for long. But he's surrounded by worthy foils. Ruth Donnelly is both tart and peppery as Alvin's harried secretary ("You want to see Mr. Roberts? Oh, you want to sue Mr. Roberts. The line forms on the left.") Allen Jenkins, who keeps saying he's from Chicago even though his Brooklyn accent could be cut with a steak knife, plays a mug sent by his gangster boss to threaten Roberts. In a mind-blowing scene, Alvin terrifies the tough guy with a graphic, horrifying description of death in the electric chair. Tracy plays this monologue with unholy gusto; if you're not opposed to the death penalty, you will be after this. There's a funny scene in which Jenkins has to pass time with Alvin's sweet, clueless mother, who is continually thwarted in her desire to listen to the Bunny Harmon Hour on the radio. The usual suspects fill out the cast, those character actors whose very predictability is their glory: Ned Sparks the perennial gloomy pickle-puss; Frank McHugh the perennial hapless nebbish; Jack La Rue the perennial menacing hoodlum. Director Roy Del Ruth (who also helmed the wildly entertaining BLONDE CRAZY) keeps BLESSED EVENT going like a popcorn-maker; the sly, outrageous zingers just keep coming.

Lee Tracy's career never recovered after he was fired from MGM for a drunken indiscretion committed in Mexico. But I doubt he could have lasted long as a star after the Code anyway, since his films are gleefully amoral, frequently demonstrating that crime—or at least lying, cheating and riding roughshod over other people's feelings—pays. Every Lee Tracy vehicle contains a moment when he realizes he's gone too far, usually when the girl he fancies bursts into tears and tells him off. (Here he crosses the line in a big way when he betrays a desperate young woman who begs him not to reveal her pregnancy.) He looks suddenly abashed, protesting, "Gee, if I'd known you felt that way…I'd give anything not to have done that…Baby, sugar, listen…!" But two second later he's back to his old scheming ways. A reformed Lee Tracy would be like Fred Astaire with arthritis. Not that he isn't a good guy deep down…well, maybe. He has charm, anyway: an impish grin and twinkly eyes and boyish blond hair, like Tom Sawyer crossed with a Tammany Hall fixer. His reactions to sentimentality—to Dick Powell's cloying tenor or Franchot Tone in BOMBSHELL telling Jean Harlow he'd like to run barefoot through her hair—are delicious. He's salt and vinegar, no sweetening. In BLESSED EVENT Alvin has a fit when an editorial calls him the "nadir" of American journalism. Lee Tracy, on the other hand, represents is the zenith of the American newspaper movie.

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