Little Old New York (1940)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  9 February 1940 (USA)
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Steamboat inventor Robert Fulton shows up in New York in 1807. Tavern keeper believes in him, but her boyfriend doesn't. All seems lost when sailors afraid of losing their jobs burn his boat.



(screen play), (story) (as John Balderston) , 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Brownne
Richard Greene ...
Brenda Joyce ...
Harriet Livingston
Henry Stephenson ...
Robert R. Livingston
Fritz Feld ...
Tavern Keeper
Clarence Wilson ...
Willie Stout (as Clarence Hummel Wilson)
Robert Middlemass ...
Nicholas Roosevelt
Roger Imhof ...
Theodore von Eltz ...
Washington Irving (as Theodore Von Eltz)
Arthur Aylesworth ...
Sea Captain
Virginia Brissac ...
Mrs. Brevoort
Stanley Andrews ...
Patrol Captain


Steamboat inventor Robert Fulton shows up in New York in 1807. Tavern keeper believes in him, but her boyfriend doesn't. All seems lost when sailors afraid of losing their jobs burn his boat.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A spirited belle of the brawling waterfront, fighting for the heart of handsome Robert Fulton (print ad)


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 February 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A holnap hajósa  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 8 September 1920 and closed in June 1921 after 303 performances. The opening night cast included Genevieve Tobin as Pat O'Day, Douglas Wood, as Cornelius Vanderbuilt and Donald Meek. See more »


Regan: [to Fulton] Why, you dribblin' young pup - I'll break you in two!
See more »


Version of Little Old New York (1923) See more »


Du, Du Liegst Mir im Herzen
Traditional German folksong
Played as dance music at Krausmeyer's Pavillion
See more »

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User Reviews

The Potential Of Steam Power
25 March 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Robert Fulton after trying and failing to develop a ship powered by a steam engine is having trouble getting some new backing. A prototype vessel blew up on the River Seine as he was trying to impress Napoleon Bonaparte with steam's potential. Now he's back in Little Old New York trying to sell the idea to the movers and shakers of his day.

Richard Greene plays the idealistic and gentlemanly Fulton. But the only two converts he makes are his landlady, tavern owner Alice Faye and Fred MacMurray, who works for Ward Bond at a shipyard. But after Fulton beats bully boy Bond in a fight, MacMurray loses his job. But Fred starts his own shipyard and his first client will be Fulton if he can raise the money.

Little Old New York had the story of Robert Fulton grafted on to a play by Rida Johnson Young of the same name that was the basis for the film. There's no mention that in real life Fulton was as handy with his dukes as he is in this film. It is true he married the niece of Chancellor Robert Livingston played by Brenda Joyce and Livingston did finally sell some of his friends like Nicholas Roosevelt, John Jacob Astor, and Washington Irving to finally back Fulton's steamboat.

Livingston is played by one of my favorite character actors Henry Stephenson who always brings a touch of old world class to all his roles. Livingston's title of Chancellor stems from the fact the chief judicial officer of New York had that title, a carryover from colonial days. Among other things Livingston did was swear in George Washington to his first term as president. There was no Supreme Court yet because Washington hadn't appointed anyone yet.

Little Old New York probably was seen by Darryl Zanuck as a fitting sequel to In Old Chicago which was Alice Faye's first period costume film. The parts that Fred MacMurray and Richard Greene have are those that would normally have been played by Tyrone Power and Don Ameche. In fact I could see both of those guys playing either of the MacMurray or Greene parts.

If Little Old New York is not the real story of Robert Fulton it certainly is a nice bit of entertainment served up by a fine cast at the direction of Henry King.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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