This movie opens in 1905, when showgirl and daughter of a deceased gambler Peggy Martin falls in love with Monte Van Tyle and breaks the news to lover Fiske that she is leaving him. She and... See full summary »
Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man. Al Wonder and the conductor/singer Tommy are in love ... See full summary »
Mary Stevens (Kay Francis) and her old friend Don Andrews (Lyle Talbot) find themselves graduating from medical school at the same time. They decide to set up their respective medical ... See full summary »
Anne Brooks is being blackmailed by her old dancing partner Maurice. They married when she was young but broke up after which he said he was getting a quickie divorce. Anne married the much... See full summary »
When an English husband goes off to India for a year-long business trip, he also sends his wife to live in Paris to alleviate her loneliness and boredom. While she is there, she becomes ... See full summary »
Art student John Hayden interrupts his studies in Greece to head his father's meat packing business on his father's death. He marries social climber Martha who taunts him for his ideals ... See full summary »
Alfred E. Green
Edward G. Robinson,
Lorry and Minnie are ex-hookers who leave prison, determined to find the good life with rich men. Along the way Lorry meets and falls in love with cotton barge owner Dan. She must choose ... See full summary »
Gregory La Cava
This movie opens in 1905, when showgirl and daughter of a deceased gambler Peggy Martin falls in love with Monte Van Tyle and breaks the news to lover Fiske that she is leaving him. She and Monte marry and move into the title house, where Peggy says she "wants to live forever." They live an idyllic life for several years, have baby Eleanor, and life is beautiful. Then Fiske comes back and tells Peggy he is dying and wants her to be with him. She refuses, he gets desperate and tries to shoot himself, they struggle and he is shot dead. Peggy is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years. She tells the faithful Monte to someday tell Eleanor she died in jail. Time passes, Monte dies in WWI, Peggy is finally released. Her mother-in-law left her $5,000 in her will, so Peggy gets a makeover and goes on a cruise, where she meets Bill Blaine, a crooked gambler. They team up and make scads of money all over the world cheating suckers. They end up in New York and take jobs at a ... Written by
Two actors listed in studio records for the play "The House on 56th Street (1933)" never did appear. These were (with their character names): Samuel S. Hinds (Curtis) and Theodore Newton (Freddie). See more »
The House On 56th Street is a Stella Dallas like melodramatic soap opera that Kay Francis did for Warner Brothers before Bette Davis made a specialty of them for that studio. This pre-Code film is laced with irony for Kay.
Kay's a Floradora girl from the Ragtime Era who has all the men chasing her in 1905. She's the kept woman of ragtime rake John Halliday, but young Gene Raymond sweeps her off her feet and they marry and have a daughter. He takes her back to the family digs on East 56th Street in New York City and fancy digs they are.
Halliday gets some bad news from his doctor that he's only got months to live and he wants to live them with Francis, whatever the scandal. Francis tries to prevent him from committing suicide, but when Halliday does in the struggle for the pistol, she goes up for manslaughter and gets 20 years.
Fast forward to the Roaring Twenties and Kay's now free and living anonymously and making a living as a gambling lady with Ricardo Cortez and William 'Stage' Boyd. She gets an opportunity however to impart one really big favor on grownup daughter Margaret Lindsay and it's a beaut.
Although Bette Davis would later do these kind of parts, I mention Stella Dallas because The House On 56th Street also involves a mother separating herself from her daughter for her own good. Francis's role which she does a fine job with seems to fit Barbara Stanwyck even better.
Favorite scene here is the gambling scene on board a ship where Francis takes Cortez to the cleaners even though he's cheating. It reminded me a lot of the climax in Rounders with Matt Damon and John Malkovich.
Though The House On 56th Street is dated, it's still an effective film. Note the sense of irony in Francis's final line in the film.
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