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A tour guide in Venice romances a visiting American tourist whose father owns a chewing-gum factory back in the U.S. She sets out to convince her skeptical father to bring the tour guide to America and give him a job in the plant.
Paul Vanderkill is extraordinarily wealthy because his grandfather happened to buy farmland in what was to become Midtown Manhattan. The Loveland Dance Hall is one of the tenants of the Vanderkill estates. To reassure his aunt Sophie, Vanderkill visits Loveland to determine whether it is as disreputable as Sophie suspects. There he meets a dime-a-dance girl, Madeleine MacGonagal, who charms him with her quaint proletarian accent. They begin a secret affair, which turns into a secret marriage when pregnancy ensues. When the baby fails to survive, Madeleine decides that since he had married her only for the baby's sake, she should make haste to Mexico to secure a divorce. There she meets Panama Canal Kelly, a former suitor who now owns a silver mine. Her plans for divorce and quick remarriage are complicated when Vanderkill arrives to confront her. Written by
Cameron Majidi <email@example.com>
CHILD OF MANHATTAN is a Columbia Studios precode starring Nancy Carroll and John Boles. When millionaire Boles' aunt Clara Blandick is horrified to learn one of the family properties is being leased to "a dance hall with naked girls" Boles promises to check the establishment out. There he discovers it's a low-class "dime a dance" hall but is immediately smitten with one of the girls employed there, earthy but sweet Carroll. Boles is charmed by her lack of pretensions and touched by her concern for him when she thinks he is unemployed. Nancy Carroll eventually learns Boles is "the" Paul Vanderkill, one of New York's richest men. They fall genuinely in love but nevertheless in a man and mistress relationship, in part because of Boles' concern for his (never seen) teen-aged daughter (presumably much as he admires Carroll, she is not the kind of woman he wants his young daughter to emulate). Carroll eventually finds herself expecting which leads to a secret marriage and, ultimately, tragedy. In true Hollywood tragedy fashion, there is a happy ending.
CHILD OF MANHATTAN is a fast-moving low-key melodrama based on a play by the then unknown Preston Sturges (who surely is the source for the many delightful and at times quite racy comic quips that occasionally dot the screenplay). Nancy Carroll, still quite young but already with her major career behind her as a Paramount star and one of the biggest draws in the first years of "talkies", is quite good as the somewhat incredible bimbo with a heart of gold. John Boles is as dashing and romantic as always, his sideburns tinted white to suggest a man of middle-age (in his first scene he wears a quite contemporary haircut with thick hair at the top and very thin along the bottom) yet his character too is a bit unbelievable (although he projects a romantic charisma that could probably lead just about anyone down the primrose path). Cowboy star Buck Jones makes a rare appearance in a non-western as one of Carroll's less successful suitors and there are excellent cameos by character actresses Clara Blandick as Boles' aunt, Jane Darwell as Carroll's Irish mother, and most especially Jessie Ralph as the ladies room attendant at the dance hall who is a surrogate aunt to Carroll. Luis Alberni is fun as Carroll's Mexican divorce lawyer who is always murmuring my review title when meeting new people. 15-year-old Betty Grable has a bit (surprisingly billed) as Carroll's young sister in one brief scene. CHILD OF MANHATTAN is no classic but worth the 69 minutes if you are intrigued by precodes.
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