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The story starts just before the Civil War, showing Fisk, Boyd, and Luke conning Southern townsfolk into buying bars of soap that, might, have a $10 gold piece inside. Found out, they're chased out of town and escape across the Mason-Dixon Line just as the war starts. Fisk hatches a plan for him and Boyd to return to the South and buy cotton then smuggle it to the North where Luke is to sell it to the Northern textile mills. By the end of the war they have made millions, only to find out that Luke had been re-investing their money into Confederate Bonds. This fact-based movie shows Jim Fisk as one of the greatest con-men and entrepreneur's in history. It concludes with his involvement in "Black Friday", the Financial Panic of 1869, with fellow financier Jay Gould (who's not represented in the movie) and their attempt to corner the U.S. gold market. There's a love triangle between Fisk, Boyd and Mansfield, which is also based on historical accounts. Written by
Alexander Hall was the original director, but fell ill with pleurisy and was replaced by Rowland V. Lee after two-thirds of the film was shot. The length of principal photography suggests that Lee reshot or expanded most of Hall's material, resulting in many cast changes. It is not known how much of Hall's footage remains in the film. See more »
After the photographer's first attempt to take the picture is ruined by being over-exposed, he fails to change the plate before taking the second one. See more »
You've lost your reason, Jim. You're getting drunk, drunk with power.
The Toast of New York is directed by Rowland V. Lee and features a screenplay collectively written by Dudley Nichols, John Twist and Joel Sayre. It's adapted from two stories, "The Book of Daniel Drew" written by Bouck White and "Robber Barons" written by Matthew Josephson. It stars Edward Arnold, Cary Grant, Frances Farmer, Jack Oakie and Donald Meek.
Jim Fisk-half genius, half clown-began life with empty pockets, a pack on his back, and a Yankee gift of gab.
Loving a uniform-always in the front of every parade-he became the Barnum of Peddlers, and then skyrocketed into "high finance" in Wall Street, where in a few brief years he startled a nation with his colourful career.
But in 1861-before the first guns of the Civil War were fired-he was still an obscure peddler-somewhere south of the Mason and Dixie Line.
Jim Fisk was a very interesting man in the world of finance, his life and death certainly had enough about it to warrant a film being made about him. Sadly this particular biopic is dull, where even the fact that the makers fictionalised some of the plot fails to make it worthy of further viewings. Annoying as well is that RKO really put big money into the production, and you can see that up on the screen in the sets, costuming and the number of people who are in it. It was a troubled production, and numerous stars were linked to play the key roles, and with the Hays Office casting their censorship shadow over things, it's perhaps unsurprising that the film ended up a flop at the box office. The tone is uneven, with the comedy an uneasy fit, and there's not a great deal to laud in the acting. Arnold gives it bluster and Farmer is sweet, while Grant is forced into yet another suit and asked to be a romantic interest. Oakie has his moments, but they are few, while best of the bunch is Meek as Daniel Drew.
Disappointing and it perhaps would have been better served being a straight drama and sniping 20 minutes off of its run time. 4/10
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