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Wonder Bar (1934)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Musical  |  31 March 1934 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 438 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 6 critic

Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man. Al Wonder and the conductor/singer Tommy are in love ... See full summary »

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(based on the play by), (based on the play by), 2 more credits »
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Title: Wonder Bar (1934)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Al Wonder
...
Liane
...
Inez (as Dolores Del Rio)
...
Harry
...
Tommy
Guy Kibbee ...
Simpson
Ruth Donnelly ...
Mrs. Simpson
...
Pratt
...
Mrs. Pratt
Hal Le Roy ...
Dancer
Fifi D'Orsay ...
Mitzi
Merna Kennedy ...
Claire
Henry O'Neill ...
Richard - the Maitre'd
Robert Barrat ...
Captain Hugo Von Ferring
Henry Kolker ...
Mr. R.H. Renaud
Edit

Storyline

Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man. Al Wonder and the conductor/singer Tommy are in love with Inez. When Inez finds out, that Harry wants to leave Paris and is going to the USA with Liane she kills him. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Warner Bros.' Wonder Show of the Century!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 March 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bar Wonder  »

Box Office

Budget:

$675,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Al Jolson insisted on singing the opening number Vive la France live on set, as he claimed it would be impossible to do the song justice if was filmed miming to playback, in order to deliver it with the excitement and verve that only he could bring to it. Even though this presented considerable technical problems, Warner Brothers agreed (that's the real studio orchestra actually on set playing the house band of the Wonder Bar) and this is one of the very last musical numbers to be performed live on camera. See more »

Quotes

Al Wonder: [rolls eyes as two men dance off together] Boys will be boys, woooo!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits appear as the respective actors enter the nightclub through a revolving door. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dolores del Río - Princesa de México (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Vive La France
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Al Jolson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Al Wonder Greets You for Fun and Odd Nightclub Frolic
9 June 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Entertaining musical all taking place on one evening at the swanky Paris nightclub "Wonder Bar", the film following the stories of several different characters including headline dancers Inez and Harry (aka "the gigolo"), a well-to-do woman (Kay Francis) who has paid for "dance lessons" from Harry with a diamond necklace (now being investigated by her husband and the insurance company), orchestra leader/singer Tommy (Dick Powell) who is in love with Inez, a man who spends the evening giving away all his possessions before his planned suicide of driving over a cliff, two drunken American businessmen (in "Nuts and Bolts") on vacation with their wives, a Russian Count, and at the helm of it all - Al Wonder (Al Jolson), club owner who likes to deliver rather silly one-liners as he oversees and sings sometimes too.

Al loves Inez, Inez loves Harry, the two businessmen are busy chasing after two hostesses/gold-diggers, and their wives are happily pursued by another young nightclub gigolo. All of this is inter-mixed with a selection of musical numbers including a very entertaining dance number in which Harry and Inez dance surrounded by a bevy of platinum blondes and masked men, all dressed in black and white as they flow around the mirrored art deco set and dance floor, and are shown dancing in overhead, Busby Berkley-directed style kaleidoscope effect - cool! Other numbers include "The Gaucho Dance" (reminiscent of Valentino), and the big finale which is possibly the most politically incorrect, jaw-dropping musical number ever filmed featuring Al Jolson in blackface who heads to heaven complete with an entire entourage of dancing angels in blackface, "Pork Chop Orchard" where pork chops grow on trees, "Watermelon Palace" with watermelons free for the taking, "Uncle Tom To-Nite" sign, craps dice, and tap-dancing number in front of waving watermelon slices.

All in all though, this film is quite enjoyable, light fare with enough stories to hold your interest, and the glitz and glamour of what appears to be a very fun-to-go-to hot spot full of well-heeled patrons in gorgeous gowns and tuxedos. I always enjoy the performances of Kay Francis and she is just fine in this, although she's not really given very much to do - same with Dick Powell, who has a small, rather bland role in this film. Guy Kibbee as one of the American businessmen and sidekick Hugh Herbert, as well as Ruth Donnelly and Louise Fazenda as the wife who likes the attentions of a younger man add quite a bit of humor to all this. Definitely worth a look.


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