IMDb > Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
Manhattan Melodrama
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Manhattan Melodrama (1934) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.2/10   2,319 votes »
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Up 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Oliver H.P. Garrett (screen play) and
Joseph L. Mankiewicz (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Manhattan Melodrama on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 May 1934 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
The friendship between two orphans endures even though they grow up on opposite sides of the law and fall in love with the same woman. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. See more »
NewsDesk:
(6 articles)
Public Enemies (Two-Disc Special Edition) DVD Review
 (From Reel Loop. 8 December 2009, 9:49 AM, PST)

DVD Review: Public Enemies
 (From HeyUGuys. 1 November 2009, 4:41 PM, PST)

What "Inglourious Basterds" Owes to History
 (From IFC. 9 September 2009, 12:00 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
"If I can't live the way I want, then at least let me die the way I want" See more (34 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Clark Gable ... Blackie Gallagher

William Powell ... Jim Wade

Myrna Loy ... Eleanor
Leo Carrillo ... Father Joe

Nat Pendleton ... Spud
George Sidney ... Poppa Rosen

Isabel Jewell ... Annabelle
Muriel Evans ... Tootsie Malone
Thomas E. Jackson ... Richard Snow (as Thomas Jackson)
Isabelle Keith ... Miss Adams (as Claudelle Kaye)
Frank Conroy ... Defense Attorney
Noel Madison ... Manny Arnold
Jimmy Butler ... Jim as a Boy

Mickey Rooney ... Blackie as a Boy
Shirley Ross ... Singer in Cotton Club
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Oscar Apfel ... Speaker of Assembly (uncredited)
William Arnold ... Blackjack Dealer (uncredited)
William Augustin ... Detective (uncredited)
William Bailey ... Al Barnes - Croupier (uncredited)
Curtis Benton ... Announcer (uncredited)
John Bleifer ... Chauffeur (uncredited)
Stanley Blystone ... Detective in Court (uncredited)
Wade Boteler ... Prison Guard (uncredited)
Don Brodie ... Reporter (uncredited)

G. Pat Collins ... Killer in Prison (uncredited)
James Curtis ... Party Leader (uncredited)
Vernon Dent ... Otto - German Dancer on Steamship (uncredited)
Charles Dunbar ... Panhandler (uncredited)
James Eagles ... Boy in Prison (uncredited)
Jay Eaton ... Drunk (uncredited)
Harrison Greene ... Eleanor's Dance Partner (uncredited)
Donald Haines ... Spud as a Boy (uncredited)
Sherry Hall ... Assistant District Attorney (uncredited)
Eddie Hart ... Reporter (uncredited)
Lew Harvey ... Craps Dealer (uncredited)
Samuel S. Hinds ... Warden of Sing Sing (uncredited)

George Irving ... Jim's Campaign Manager (uncredited)
William Irving ... German Note Holder (uncredited)
Jimmy James ... Chemin de Fer Dealer (uncredited)
Cullen Johnson ... Boy (uncredited)
Payne B. Johnson ... Small Boy on Street (uncredited)
Jack Kenney ... Policeman (uncredited)
Leonid Kinskey ... Trotskyite Slapping Poppa Rosen (uncredited)
Leo Lance ... Leon Trotsky (uncredited)
Jack 'Tiny' Lipson ... Uncle Angus (uncredited)
Dixie Lotten ... Irish Woman Talking with Poppa Rosen (uncredited)
John Marston ... Mr. Coates - Gambler Losing Yacht (uncredited)
Ralph McCullough ... Reporter (uncredited)
Sam McDaniel ... Black Prisoner on Death Row (uncredited)
Larry McGrath ... One of Blackie's Hoods (uncredited)
Tom McGuire ... Policeman in Court (uncredited)
Alex Melesh ... Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
King Mojave ... Croupier (uncredited)
Charles R. Moore ... Black Man in Speakeasy (uncredited)
Pat Moriarity ... Trotsky Heckler (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Bailiff (uncredited)
Leslie Preston ... Jim's Dance Partner (uncredited)
Bert Russell ... Blind Beggar (uncredited)
Harry Seymour ... Piano Player in Casino (uncredited)
Lee Shumway ... Policeman (uncredited)
Pepi Sinoff ... Jewish Woman (uncredited)
Pete Smith ... Racetrack Announcer (voice) (uncredited)
Bert Sprotte ... German Note Holder (uncredited)
William Stack ... Judge (uncredited)
Landers Stevens ... Inspector of Police (uncredited)
Stanley Taylor ... Police Intern (uncredited)
Al Thompson ... Street Spectator (uncredited)
Edward Van Sloan ... Yacht Capt. Swenson (uncredited)
Dorothy Vernon ... Boat Passenger (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Assistant District Attorney (uncredited)
W.R. Walsh ... Croupier (uncredited)

Directed by
W.S. Van Dyke 
George Cukor (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Oliver H.P. Garrett (screen play) and
Joseph L. Mankiewicz (screen play)

Arthur Caesar (from an original story by)

Frank Dolan  uncredited
Donald Ogden Stewart  uncredited

Produced by
David O. Selznick .... producer
 
Original Music by
William Axt (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
James Wong Howe 
 
Film Editing by
Ben Lewis (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Lesley Selander .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
Joseph C. Wright .... associate art director (as Joseph Wright)
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
 
Special Effects by
Slavko Vorkapich .... special effects
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dolly Tree .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
William Axt .... synchronization (as Dr. William Axt)
W. Donn Hayes .... supervising editor: musical sequences (uncredited)
 
Music Department
William Axt .... synchronization (as Dr. William Axt)
Maurice De Packh .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
G. Pat Collins .... voice (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
93 min | USA:90 min (Turner library print)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | Sweden:15 (cut) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #3213-R, 16 March 1937 for re-release)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
This is the first of 14 pairings of Myrna Loy and William Powell and the first of three movies they would make together in 1934.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Snow enters the men's room at Madison Square Garden, we see him enter the room and subsequently begin to close the door. In the next shot, showing him reflected in the mirrors above the basin, he is once again in the act of walking through the door.See more »
Quotes:
James W. 'Jim' Wade:I'm going to clean out every rotten spot I can find in this city, and, Blackie, I don't want to find you in any of them!See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
What's the Matter With FatherSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
"If I can't live the way I want, then at least let me die the way I want", 13 November 2009
Author: ackstasis from Australia

From what I can gather, two main social factors led to the popularity of the gangster genre in the 1930s. The first, and most obvious, was the prevalence of criminals like Al Capone and John Dillinger, who were glorified by the national media. The second was the Great Depression, and how it impacted the traditional notion of the "American dream." Families – regardless of character or social standing – were torn apart amid the economic collapse, and no doubt many ordinary citizens contemplated crime as the route to happiness.

Films like 'Manhattan Melodrama (1934)' and 'Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)' place great emphasis on the thin line between "good" and "bad" characters, and often the central criminals are lamented as victims of circumstance. For example, James Cagney's Rocky Sullivan and Pat O'Brien's virtuous priest were separated by a matter of metres when the former is condemned to a life of crime. Circumstance, too, drives the fates of the characters in 'Manhattan Melodrama.' As children, both Jim Wade (William Powell) and Blackie Gallagher (Clark Gable) lose their parents in the burning of the steamship SS General Slocum, a true-life disaster caused by gross negligence that cost over 1000 lives. Each child responds to this injustice in their own way: Blackie rebels against the judicial system that betrayed him, whereas Jim enters law in a bid to reform it.

Whereas Warner Bros. was responsible for most of the decade's gangster films, 'Manhattan Melodrama' was produced by M-G-M, and helmed by W.S. Van Dyke (director of the first four 'Thin Man' films), whose decidedly non-gritty aesthetic style at first seems at odds with the required mood. However, it would be misleading to compare the film with the likes of 'Little Caesar (1931)' and 'Scarface (1932).' Firstly, Hollywood was now working, for the first time, under the active supervision of the Production Code Administration. Also, the studio's intentions for the film were undoubtedly geared towards a higher-brow audience, further suggested by the unintimidating, woman-friendly title.

Gable's "Blackie" Gallagher is not a paranoid hot-head like Tony Camonte or Rocky Sullivan, and, indeed, remains oddly passive throughout the film. When he does commit murders, it seems to be merely out of an obligation to genre conventions. Even when old friend Jim Wade dramatically demands his execution, Blackie looks on with a detached, amused smirk, doodling idly from the defendant's chair; the expected outburst of emotion never arrives. Instead, the story's central conflict unfolds entirely within the righteous Wade, who must choose between his personal and professional allegiances.

'Manhattan Melodrama' has achieved some notoriety for being the film that killed John Dillinger, so to speak. The fugitive bank-robber was gunned down by FBI agents as he emerged from a screening at Chicago's Biograph Theatre on July 22, 1934 (clips from the film were recently featured in Michael Mann's 'Public Enemies (2009)'). These curious circumstances can't help but make one ponder what Dillinger had thought of 'Manhattan Melodrama.' Had he, like Blackie, accepted that his time was coming to an end? Did he welcome death over a lifetime of legal persecution? At the very least, he checked out having experienced a very fine addition to the genre.

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Message Boards

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John Dillinger's last moments Charlie_Kane
"Catholic, Protestant, Jes - what does it matter now?" butaneggbert
Never Knew 'The Bad in Every Man' till Now! Schmoozette
This movie is 80 years old! bcoaggiemom09
missing dialogue? corriganville
Oh, Pancho dgave
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