IMDb > Wonder Bar (1934)
Wonder Bar
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Wonder Bar (1934) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   421 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Geza Herczeg (based on the play by) &
Karl Farkas (based on the play by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Wonder Bar on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 March 1934 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Warner Bros.' Wonder Show of the Century!
Plot:
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... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(10 articles)
User Reviews:
Sanctifying the mechanics of illusion See more (20 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Al Jolson ... Al Wonder

Kay Francis ... Liane

Dolores del Rio ... Inez (as Dolores Del Rio)

Ricardo Cortez ... Harry

Dick Powell ... Tommy
Guy Kibbee ... Simpson
Ruth Donnelly ... Mrs. Simpson

Hugh Herbert ... Pratt

Louise Fazenda ... Mrs. Pratt
Hal Le Roy ... Himself
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
Spencer Charters ... Pete
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Grace Hayle ... Fat Dowager (scenes deleted)
Demetrius Alexis ... Young Man (uncredited)
William Anderson ... Call Boy (uncredited)
Loretta Andrews ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Louis Ardizoni ... Leon - the Cook (uncredited)
Margaret Carthew ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Drunk (uncredited)
Emile Chautard ... Pierre - the Concierge (uncredited)
Clay Clement ... Businessman (uncredited)

Gino Corrado ... Second Waiter (uncredited)
Virginia Dabney ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Michael Dalmatoff ... Russian Count (uncredited)

Jane Darwell ... Baroness (uncredited)
Gordon De Main ... Second Detective (uncredited)
Mildred Dixon ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Shirley Dunstead ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Ruth Eddings ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Bill Elliott ... Norman - Man Flirting with Pansy (uncredited)
Pauline Garon ... Telephone Operator (uncredited)
Dick Good ... Page Boy (uncredited)
William Granger ... First Bartender (uncredited)
Robert Graves ... Police Officer (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Mia Ichioka ... GeeGee (uncredited)
Amo Ingraham ... Hazel - a Chorus Girl (uncredited)

George Irving ... Broker (uncredited)
Alfred P. James ... Night Watchman (uncredited)
Bud Jamison ... Third Bartender (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Frank (uncredited)
Edward Keane ... Captain (uncredited)
Joseph La Gue ... Boy (uncredited)
Marie Marks ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Miriam Marlin ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
John Marlowe ... Young Man (uncredited)
Alphonse Martell ... Doorman (uncredited)
Bert Moorhouse ... Joe (uncredited)
Marie Moreau ... Marie - Liane's Maid (uncredited)
Mahlon Norvell ... Artist (uncredited)
Dave O'Brien ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Dennis O'Keefe ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Henry Otho ... Second Bartender (uncredited)
Gene Perry ... Gendarme (uncredited)
Paul Power ... Chester - Norman's Pal (uncredited)
Donna Mae Roberts ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Rosalie Roy ... Irma - a Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Rolfe Sedan ... First Waiter (uncredited)
Kathryn Sergava ... Ilka (uncredited)
William Stack ... Businessman (uncredited)
Victoria Vinton ... Chorus Girl / Cinderella in 'Don't Say Goodnight' (uncredited)
Renee Whitney ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Lottie Williams ... Wardrobe Woman (uncredited)
Harry Woods ... First Detective (uncredited)

Directed by
Lloyd Bacon 
 
Writing credits
Geza Herczeg (based on the play by) &
Karl Farkas (based on the play by) and
Robert Katscher (based on the play by)

Earl Baldwin (adaptation and screen play)

Cinematography by
Sol Polito (photography)
 
Film Editing by
George Amy (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Jack Okey 
Willy Pogany 
 
Costume Design by
Orry-Kelly (gowns)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William H. Cannon .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
L. De Angelis .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Frank Flanagan .... chief electrician (uncredited)
Mike Joyce .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Buddy Longworth .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Al Dubin .... music and lyrics by
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
Harry Warren .... music and lyrics by
Ray Heindorf .... music arranger (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Busby Berkeley .... numbers created and directed by
Robert Lord .... supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
84 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:G | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #2699-R) (22 September 1936 for re-release) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
One scene gave the censors some consternation: A man asks a couple if he can cut into their dance, and while the woman says, "Sure!" and rushes towards him, he dances away with her partner. Upon hearing this, Al Jolson says with a twinkle in his eye: "Boys will be boys!" Warner Brothers refused to cut the scene (and it exists today in the Turner Classic Movies print). At the time, the Production Code was not rigorously enforced. Surprisingly, however, the movie was approved for reissue in 1936 despite this homosexual scene and the fact that someone gets away with murder, both clear violations of the Production Code.See more »
Quotes:
Al Wonder:[rolls eyes as two men dance off together] Boys will be boys, woooo!See more »
Movie Connections:
Edited into Musical Memories (1946)See more »
Soundtrack:
Why Do I Dream Those Dreams?See more »

FAQ

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Sanctifying the mechanics of illusion, 17 December 2012
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

This is a helluva time, riotous precode stuff—perverse entertainment according to some. The Code was invented for just such a film, though thankfully not in time for it, to rob us of pleasures that someone thought would destroy the common fabric if indulged too often.

It's the Depression, though the film takes place in Paris so as not to offend. The film is by the 42nd Street/Footlight Parade team, so a show about a show being staged. The entire film is one long night of song and revelry in Al Jolson's Wonder Bar.

It would be far fetched to claim this as intentionally analogous to the times. In a way, however, it can be said to parse out from and abstract—in the dreamlike way of Hollywood—a certain kind of Depression-era experience.

What has happened from the perspective of the commonfolk in the audience, is that whimsical gods have decided to throw a crank in the gears of the world, snapping order and mechanism—anything goes for a while. In stark reality, this means bread lines and hobo trains.

Here are some of the situations that develop in the story: adultery, theft and all sorts of deceit and secret drama, what amounts to owner- sanctioned prostitution both male and female, a homosexual couple freely dance together, a man who all through the film insinuates suicide and no one bothers to stop him.. and get this, murder goes unpunished and doesn't even weigh on anybody's conscience.

Instead of being made to feel horror and desperation at this snapping of order, we have a grand time. The focus is on us being entertained. This is of course not uncommon for musicals of the time, in fact it is the very engine of it—the show must go on. Here, however, we have Gold Diggers of 33 grinded out through the dionysian wringer.

How about the actual show? Busby Berkeley is here, and that means gaudiness, scope and sensual razzmatazz. I so love the man, at least in those brief years when inspiration was still fresh. There are two numbers here, the first as you expect it; fresh women, body-particles which contrary to shapeless reality, up on the stage form abstract—erotic— order, vaginal molecules that swirl and shudder and blossom fruits in our imagination.

Now you would expect, as was the norm in the 'backstage' mode, the big number to somehow address the situations, a kind of visual situation of situations. It's why I think this mode matters and have been surveying it, quite apart from the pleasures of frill and song.

Here's where it gets really interesting.

The last number once more has Jolson in blackface and was deemed so vile this one, it was excised by censors from future prints. Now Jolson has been scheming all through the film, as the proprietor, to win the affections of his star, not unkindly mind you, but it leads to some nasty turns. Jolson's character—who would be feeling pangs of guilt in normal reality—in his disguise as humble godfearing tom, goes to heaven on a mule; he is mirthfully greeted there by angels in blackface, kids playing banjo, a chorus of happy souls swirling in the clouds.

God, this is great. Jolson as the great manipulator is reprieved from wrongdoing, two layers here: in his mind and imagination, as having conceived the show, secondly in the public mind, in the show being shared for the enjoyment of an audience both in and out of the film, and in its dazzle of course eclipsing in lasting impression the events of the plot.

You think I'm reading too much? Keep in mind I am always observing dynamics, not deciphering intent.

You will notice that the number is linked and flows out from a previous number ('Gaucho'), where reality seeps into the dance in the form of violent passion and the audience applauds, sanctifying the amoral mechanics of illusion. Dolores del Rio as the voluptuous object of desire looks ravishing, everything happens for her eyes. Imagine: she ends in the arms of meek, boring pretty-boy Dick Powell.

Anything goes—a musical Mabuse of sorts, but the manipulator of cinematic illusion walks away instead of as in Fritz Lang's film, succumbing to madness and police. We applaud, blessing his powers of seduction over reason.

Something to meditate upon.

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