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The Duke Is Tops (1938)

5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 163 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 4 critic

A theatrical producer puts aside his own success to boost the career of a talented singer.

Directors:

(as William Nolte) , (uncredited)
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Cooper ...
Duke Davis
...
Ethel Andrews
Laurence Criner ...
Doc Dorando (as Lawrence Criner)
Monte Hawley ...
George Marshall
Willie Covan ...
Specialty Tap Dancer
Neva Peoples ...
Ella
Vernon McCalla ...
Mason (as Vernon McCallum)
Edward Thompson ...
Ferdie Fenton
Johnny Taylor ...
Dippy, 'Prince Alakazoo'
Ray Martin ...
Joe
Guernsey Morrow ...
Ed. Lake (as Guersney Morrow)
Charles Hawkins ...
Sam, the Stage Manager (as Charlie Hawkins)
Basin Street Boys ...
Speciality
Rubberneck Holmes ...
Specialty (as Rubber Neck Holmes)
Cats and the Fiddle ...
Speciality
Edit

Storyline

Duke Davis has invested all his savings to back his sweetheart, Ethel, in a road show over the old T.O.B.A. circuit, on which they have both been performers since childhood. Marshall, a New York talent scout, makes an offer to Ethel as a single and, to induce her to take it, Duke writes a fake check, made out to him, for $5000 pretending he has sold his contract with Ethel to Marshall. Resentful and heartbroken, she accepts and becomes a big hit in New York. Marshall then books her at the swanky Century Club, plans her show himself, and it flops miserably. Meanwhile, Duke has used his last resources to start a new show, but without Ethel it also fails. He joins the Doc Dorando medicine show, and with him as the speiler for the quack elixir sold by Dorando, it is successful. He becomes Doc's partner with an elaborate trailer and a company of entertainers, including Willie Covans, the Basin Street Boys, The Cats and the Fiddle, "Rubberneck" Holmes and Joe Stevenson. Money is rolling in ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 September 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Bronze Venus  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lena Horne did not attend the June, 1938 NAACP charity premiere in Pittsburgh because she was not paid for her work. See more »

Connections

Referenced in That's Black Entertainment (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Blackberry Baby
(uncredited)
Sung and danced by unidentified cast in the music hall
See more »

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User Reviews

Nickel and dime musical
8 July 2003 | by See all my reviews

Black cinema has done far better than this. Even allowing for the constraints imposed by a low budget, there is very little here of entertainment value. The story lacks originality, the acting is stiff and self-conscious, the direction devoid of imagination. A half-dozen "specialty" acts are no better than passable; a very young Lena Horne had yet to develop her star qualities. The chorus girls' costumes looked suspiciously familiar (Warner Brothers?), and the two or three steps they learned for their routines have likewise been seen elsewhere. I hope the price of admission was cut-rate, too. Otherwise, the audience was short-changed.


5 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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