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 »
Kay Francis is extraordinary in this fatalistic tale--the surprises this plot has in store for her character, Peggy Van Tyle, are heart-wrenching: stoically, heroically, she survives them all.
For audiences suffering through the depression, the hardened-heart determination of Peggy Van Tyle must have proved inspiring. Things start out well for attractive dancer Peggy Van Tyle, but everything she loves is taken from her, even her dignity, and there are great scenes here of her adjusting to the "modern" world she reenters after serving 20 years in prison for a murder she did not commit.
This story is full of unexpected twists, not the least of which is how successful Peggy is in her "fresh start" as a hustling gambler. The at-sea casino card game she plays against her future partner-in-hustling Bill Blaine is astounding: no one can match Kay Francis's poker face!
This is a very grim tale. But the strength of character--really, I should say the "durability" of character--which Kay Francis portrays here is ultimately supremely uplifting. No matter what life throws at her she does not break!
23 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?