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
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 »
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.
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