Jerry Seevers returns from World War I service broken in health and his doctor tells him he has only six months to live. His fiancée jilts him and he sets out to drink himself to death. In ...
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Jerry Seevers returns from World War I service broken in health and his doctor tells him he has only six months to live. His fiancée jilts him and he sets out to drink himself to death. In one of his binges he wakes up to find himself married to what the assumes is a gold-digger after his money. He leaves her and goes to a ranch in Arizona and get rid of his new bride, who is really in love with him. He sets up divorce proceedings and then realizes he actually loves her. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
While his career had been languishing for over 3 years before this picture was released, many critics proclaimed this film as the final nail in the coffin for the former silent film super-star, John Gilbert. See more »
Another Entrant In John Gilbert's Vanishing Talkie Career
An alcoholic millionaire heads WEST OF BROADWAY to his Arizona ranch to shake off the paid date he married during a drunken binge.
According to cinematic legend, all the talkie MGM films starring John Gilbert were dreadful - the result of a bitter hatred between Gilbert (the highest paid star in Hollywood, with a $1.5 million contract) & studio boss Louis B. Mayer. A determination on Gilbert's part to fulfill the contract, and a campaign instituted by Mayer to destroy Gilbert's career - including spreading the rumor that Gilbert's voice was `high & feminine', culminated in several unwatchable movies.
Not entirely true. The Studio had a huge financial investment in Jack Gilbert and was not going to completely cut its own throat by showcasing him in nothing but dreck. However, of the 8 MGM talkies in which he appeared as solo star (1929 - HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT; 1930 - REDEMPTION; WAY FOR A SAILOR; 1931 - GENTLEMAN'S FATE; THE PHANTOM OF PARIS; WEST OF BROADWAY; 1932 - DOWNSTAIRS; 1933 - FAST WORKERS) most were certainly rather ghastly. WEST OF BROADWAY, however, was quite decent, and, indeed, fully representative of the material the studio was producing in 1931.
Gilbert gives a dignified performance, with the occasional flash of talent that shows what he might have been capable of had MGM worked harder to give him better material. He is given excellent support by pert Lois Moran, who puts real honesty into her portrayal of a poor girl who grabs her only chance of happiness.
El Brendel, popular dialect comedian of the period, gets some much needed laughs out of his pseudo-Swedish role, although his bizarre tickling sequence with house boy Willie Fung is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Lovely Madge Evans as the woman who jilts Gilbert, Ralph Bellamy as a noble cowboy, Hedda Hopper as a society snob & Gwen Lee as a floozy all do well with their supporting roles. Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited John Miljan as an obnoxious cad.
The film is helped immensely by outdoor location filming during the ranch scenes.
Finally, about The Voice. There was nothing at all strange or unnaturally high about Gilbert's voice. As a matter of fact, it was of medium range & rather cultured & refined. Which was the crux of the problem, of course. While it is possible that no voice could have ever matched the perfect one viewers heard in their minds while watching his strong, virile silent roles, the reality was very different from what they wanted to hear (imagine Robert Montgomery's voice coming out of Clark Gable's mouth.) Gilbert was doomed from his first scene in his debut talkie; his war with Mayer only intensified the agony. He would die in 1936, forgotten by most of his former fans, at the age of only 36.
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