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Lady for a Day (1933)

TV-G  |   |  Comedy  |  13 September 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,582 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 17 critic

A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.



(screen play and dialogue), (from the story by)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Glenda Farrell ...
Ned Sparks ...
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Hobart Bosworth ...
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...


Apple Annie is an indigent woman who has always written to her daughter in Spain that she is a member of New York's high society. With her daughter suddenly en route to America with her new fiancé and his father, a member of Spain's aristocracy, Annie must continue her pretense of wealth or the count will not give his blessing. She gets unexpected help from Dave the Dude, a well-known figure in underground circles who considers Annie his good luck charm, and who obtains for her a luxury apartment to entertain the visitors - but this uncharacteristic act of kindness from a man with a disreputable reputation arouses suspicions, leading to complications which further cause things to not always go quite as planned. Written by Paul Donahue

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Takes its place among the greatest pictures ever made!




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Release Date:

13 September 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beggar's Holiday  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of the reasons Glenda Farrell was borrowed by Columbia from Warner Brothers, her home studio, and cast as Missouri Martin was because she was screenwriter Robert Riskin's then current girlfriend. When Capra remade Damon Runyon's story 28 years later, he found himself forced to accept Hope Lange in the same part, here rechristened Queenie Martin, because she was then the current paramour of co-producer star Glenn Ford. See more »


While Dave the Dude's gang waits inside Missouri Martin's nightclub, Happy McGuire and Dave stand outside and are informed of the presence of the cops. Behind them on the left side of the double doors there is a "Closed" sign but the sign is gone when the interior shot has the two entering the club. See more »


Missouri Martin: Happy, in case you break anything, be sure it's your neck.
See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: Damsels in Distress (2012) See more »


Santa Lucia
(1849) (uncredited)
Traditional Neapolitan song
Transcribed and published by Teodoro Cottrau (1849)
Played on an accordian by Dad Mills
See more »

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User Reviews

A beautiful performance
3 December 2006 | by (Victoria, BC, Canada) – See all my reviews

It's not often (especially these days) that a character actor or actress pulls a leading role. This movie rates my 8/10 vote mostly on the strength of the marvelous character performance of May Robson in the central role as Apple Annie, an elderly down-and-out who must somehow preserve the imaginary persona she has built for herself to her daughter, soon to arrive from Paris with a prospective husband in tow. Robson was nominated for an Oscar, as lead, and richly deserved it for her tragicomic characterization.

Frank Capra's excellent direction (also nominated for an Oscar) keeps the plot unfolding with the speed and apparently effortless fluidity so characteristic of the comedies of this period. Capra did not win the Oscar that year, but this film launched his series of feel-good dramas and sparkling comedies that netted him three subsequent Oscars.

But this is far more than a feel-good comedy/drama. It's an excellent movie that stands on its merits outside the genre, with a solid supporting cast. Capra's own remake (Pocketful of Miracles), doesn't meet the standard he himself set here. And although I have tremendous respect for Bette Davis, who played the lead in the remake, it is the difference between a good performance and an exceptional portrayal. Now that I've seen this version, May Robson simply IS Apple Annie.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
a lot of slow patches, creaks, not one of his best danielj_old999
A bettere version jnlife
Hey Help! This isn't a Warner Bros. picture?? bettiegia
Is there a stage version? Neilthor
Re: Happy McGuire batgirlmonkey
Felt sorry for Oscar, fired hotel man who helped Annie luverofmovies
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