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Although the real Diamond Jim Brady died in 1917, almost 20 years before this film was made, Edward Arnold, who played him, actually met Brady twice when Arnold was a young actor just starting out in the theater - once when Brady came to pick up an actress who was in the same play as Arnold, and another time when Arnold was in Ethel Barrymore's acting company and Brady came backstage to pay his respects to her. See more »
In maybe his most famous role, Edward Arnold stars as Diamond Jim Brady, the outsized financier in the late 19th century who builds a fortune in the expanding American railroads. Brady was also a famous social figure along Broadway and was famous as Lillian Russell's friend and famous for his immense appetite for fine foods.
Lucky in business but not in love, Brady comes off as a shrewd but genial man, one who values his friendships even with the women he may have been in love with.
Arnold is just sensational as the blustery but jovial man who helps make Lillian Russell (Binnie Barnes) a star. He's perfectly believable as the ambitious baggage handler, the smooth-talking salesman, and the generous millionaire who likes to wear diamond jewelry Barnes is solid as Russell, the most famous singer of her day.
Jean Arthur plays the vapid Southern girl, Brady first proposes to and a lookalike girl from New York he later meets and tries to marry. Cesar Romero plays the guy she's in love with, but he's dating Russell.
Co-stars include George Sidney as the pawnbroker, Eric Blore as the inventor, Hugh O'Connell plays the businessman who gives Brady his big start, and William Demarest plays the waiter.
Edward Arnold was so famous for playing Diamond Jim that he repeated in the role in 1940 in LILLIAN RUSSELL, which starred Alice Faye, Henry Fonda, and Don Ameche.
This film is worth watching for Arnold's performance and for its look at America, when it was growing fast and prospering.
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