Tycoon J.L. Higgins controls his whole family, but one of his sons- in-law, Dan Brooks and his daughter Alice are fed up with that. Brooks quits his job as manager of J.L.'s paper box factory and devotes his life to his racing horse Broadway Bill, but his bank- roll is thin and the luck is against him, he is arrested because of $150 he owes somebody for horse food, but suddenly a planed fraud by somebody else seems to offer him a chance... Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
In his memoirs Frank Capra gave very short shrift to Broadway Bill. In fact he only mentions it when he starts to talk about the remake of this film Riding High. The remake was in 1950 and Broadway Bill was done immediately after It Happened One Night.
In just a couple of paragraphs he mentions that he did a film called Broadway Bill sandwiched between It Happened One Night and Mr. Deeds Goes To Town. He was dissatisfied with it because the leading man, Warner Baxter, was afraid of horses and it showed. Capra then said he resolved to do the film over again with an actor who loved horses. Of course he got Bing Crosby and second to golf Crosby did love horses and horse racing. It was a perfect fit.
I didn't notice anything too terribly wrong with Baxter's performance away from the horse playing the title role. Baxter's a footloose sort of guy who's married to the daughter of millionaire Walter Connolly, Helen Vinson. Baxter's heart is at the racetrack, he loves the life and the people there. Vinson's younger sister Myrna Loy understands him though and it does take Baxter a while to figure out he married the wrong sister.
Frank Capra filled out his cast with many of the regulars who appeared in his more well known classics and they all look like they were born and bred at the racetrack. In this and in Riding High, my favorite is Raymond Walburn, the larcenous and lovable old 'Colonel' Pettigrew ready to make the ultimate sacrifice and marry 'Vinegar Puss' Margaret Hamilton.
Broadway Bill is not up there with Capra's more populistic films nor is it as good as Riding High, but it still is a wonderful heartwarming story of a horse who showed us in the higher species, the meaning of courage and heart.
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