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The Toast of New York (1937)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  30 July 1937 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 672 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 5 critic

Notorious robber baron financier Jim Fisk, who makes and loses fortunes, tries to corner the gold market as well as the heart of a beautiful actress.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 5 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jim Fisk
...
...
Josie Mansfield
Jack Oakie ...
Luke
...
Daniel Drew
Thelma Leeds ...
Fleurique
Clarence Kolb ...
Vanderbilt
...
Photographer
...
Broker
Russell Hicks ...
Lawyer
Dudley Clements ...
Collins
Lionel Belmore ...
President of Board
Robert McClung ...
Bellhop
Robert Dudley ...
Janitor
Dewey Robinson ...
Beef Dooley
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Storyline

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 AzRanger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The terror of Wall Street was a chump for this girl!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 July 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alla conquista dei dollari  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$1,072,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Fisk and his partner Ned Stokes (called Nick Boyd in the movie) were married but competed for the affections of showgirl Josie Mansfield. In real life she was a world-wise dark-haired, full-figured woman who bore little resemblance to the innocent, apple-cheeked blonde sincerity of Francis Farmer. Stokes and Mansfield blackmailed Fisk, and Stokes shot Fisk to death in 1872. Although the dying Fisk named Stokes as his murderer, he only served four years of a six year term for manslaughter. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Josie Mansfield: Besides, if you want something real bad, you gotta take some hard knocks to get it.
James 'Jim' Fisk Jr.: Say, you've learned a lot for a young lady. What are you after... reaching for the moon?
Josie Mansfield: No, just one little star on a dressing room door.
See more »

Connections

Edited from The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Ooh, La, La
(1937)
Music by Nathaniel Shilkret
Lyrics by Allie Wrubel
Sung by Thelma Leeds (uncredited) and danced by her and chorus in a theater show
See more »

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User Reviews

An Arnold Triumph, but not the historical tragedy it should have been.
5 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In my opinion the finest character actor of the 1930s - mid 1940s was Edward Arnold, whose tragedy (although he would not have seen it that way) was that his acting career was not in a period when leading men (with the exception of the Englishman, Charles Laughton) could be fat. Arnold gave first rate performances time and time again in straight dramas and comic parts. But he was plump, in an age when you hoped a make-up man could make you look like Tyrone Power (as the original lyrics of Hooray for Hollywood suggested). Still he got quite some milage out of his abundant acting talent, expecially playing historical rich men: Diamond Jim Brady (in two films), General John Sutter, and here - "Col." James Fisk, Jr. And his performance, abetted by Frances Farmer, Cary Grant, Jack Oakie, Donald Meek, and Clarence Kolb, makes this film stay alive. It is an entertaining film - but is it historically correct.

Well, it has some of the facts (although it's basis in Matthew Josephson's left wing histories of finance are barely correct). Fisk was a greedy man - no denying it. He did get involved in fighting Vanderbilt (allied with "Uncle Dan'l" Drew)in getting control of the Erie Railroad. He did flee to New Jersey with the printing press to continue printing shares of Erie stock away from Vanderbilt's legal writs. He did try to corner the gold market. And he did romance Josie Mansfield (Farmer). But Vanderbilt was no saint - he was as ruthless as Fisk. Drew was a pretty slippery customer too (here seen to be too easily cowed or frightened). Missing here is Fisk's real partner in cunning (apparently also a really close friend too) Jay Gould. Why he isn't in the film is curious. So is the muted character played by Cary Grant. Grant is Ned Boyd, and aside from being an early ally of Fisk, and later his chief critic (in the Gold Panic), he has little to do but pine for Mansfield. In reality, the character is based on Edward Stokes, Fisk's former friend and business associate who turned on him, out of jealousy, and with Mansfield blackmailed the man - or tried to. Stokes would eventually shoot Fisk (who in real life did fall down a staircase, but in a hotel). Fisk died in 1872. One day his tragic betrayal and death would make an ideal movie. But Arnold can't play it - alas!!


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