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In New York, a surly, down-on-his-heels playwright meets a country girl who's giving up trying to act and returning home. He goes with her for inspiration when his agent convinces a stage star to take his next effort. When he returns to Broadway, his girl stays behind and starts seeing a local businessman. Written by
Main Street to Broadway is an odd little film. Like Stagedoor Canteen or Thousands Cheer, it contains the merest thread of a plot, used primarily to show off everyone on Broadway in the 50s. It is also a bit awkward, with Helen Hayes starting off the festivities introducing the audience to the world of Broadway, while Ethel Barrymore walks through a soon-to-be torn down theatre on Broadway. The storyline is pedestrian; a girl gives up acting to go home to Indiana, a playwright follows her home. Then boy loses girl and goes back to New York to write play. Then girl comes back to boy on the opening night of his play and decides that she loves him, even though his play is a flop. Storyline and performances are pretty weak. What makes this film utterly entrancing are the broadway stars. Talullah Bankhead gives a strong and wickedly funny performance as herself. Rodgers and Hammerstein, not only appear in the film, but Hammerstein sings a song they wrote for the film, "There is Music in You," which is later reprised by Mary Martin on stage. Even then-married Lili Palmer and Rex Harrison appear, supposedly on the street fighting over how to make a sandwich. My favorite part, however, is the main girl's hometown boyfriend, who talks EXACTLY like Billy Bob Thornton in Slingblade. He also has a number of really odd lines that left me scratching my head and trying to figure out where he came from. Broadway to Main Street is very worth seeing, if you get the chance.
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