As a ploy to gain publicity, a motion picture director wants his star actress to take a baby with her on a train trip. The director's secretary asks the train's engineer, an old boyfriend, for help. As the engineer ponders what to do, a stranger in the train station tells him that he has a baby that could be used. On board the train, the actress meets a young doctor whom she knew in school, and whom she is still in love with. The presence of the baby causes a series of misunderstandings between them, but the real problems begin when the engineer begins to suspect that the baby may have been kidnapped. Written by
The Broadway Limited is much funnier, and more consistently funny, than many better-known screwball comedies of the period. Its plot builds on several interlaced misunderstandings. A movie star (Marjorie Woodworth) is pressured by her scheming, tyrannical Hollywood producer (Leonid Kinskey) to pretend to adopt a baby for publicity purposes. The producer's assistant (Patsy Kelly) turns to an ex-boyfriend, a railroad engineer (Victor McLaglen), to borrow a baby for the stunt, but the baby he gets may have been kidnapped and the subject of a widespread police hunt. The movie star runs into her ex-boyfriend (Dennis O'Keefe), who thinks the baby really is hers. And the baby keeps disappearing and reappearing on a cross-country train trip.
As in many comedies, the romantic lead roles are blander and less interesting than those written for the character actors, who get all the best lines. Top-billed Victor McLaglen has a substantial role -- watch his underplayed reaction to the bratty kid who asks him, "Is that your real face?" But so does Leonid Kinskey, who has a ball and one of his biggest parts ever as the manipulative producer. Down-to-earth Patsy Kelly replaced dithering Zazu Pitts as Thelma Todd's partner in two-reel comedies, but this is the only film in which they appeared together. That's a shame, as they make a superb team, particularly when they share a bed with the baby (and a leaky hot-water bottle) between them.
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