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Honky Tonk (1929)

Nightclub hostess Sophie Leonard educates her daughter Beth abroad and keeps her life secret for her. But suddenly the daughter shows up.


Lloyd Bacon


De Leon Anthony (titles), C. Graham Baker (story) (as Leslie S. Barrows) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Sophie Tucker ... Sophie Leonard
Lila Lee ... Beth - Sophie's Daughter
Wilbur Mack Wilbur Mack ... Stuttering Valet
Audrey Ferris ... Jean Gilmore
Tom Keene ... Freddie Gilmore (as George Duryea)
Mahlon Hamilton ... Jim Blake
John T. Murray ... Cafe Manager


Sophie Leonard, singer of "hot mamma" songs in a New York nightclub, gives notice that she is to retire when her daughter, Beth, returns from a European education. Beth, who is unaware of her mother's true profession, arrives ahead of schedule in a limousine with Jean Gilmore, a school companion and the sister of Freddie Gilmore, and is shocked at her mother's modest accommodation. Sophie is disappointed that Beth is unable to stay for dinner and reprimands her for going to wild parties with Freddie. Sophie confides to Jim that though she hates the cafe life, she will resume her job at the Honky Tonk Out of spite Freddie takes Beth to the club, and aghast, she renounces her mother and moves to a hotel. But as the result of Jim's intervention, Freddie is persuaded to ask Sophie's permission to marry Beth, and he convinces Beth of her unfair and cruel treatment of her mother. To Beth's surprise, Sophie realizes Freddie's worth and agrees to their plans, and a year later, Sophie is a ... Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nightclub | lost film | See All (2) »


BRIGHT LIGHTS! BEAUTIFUL WOMEN! BARBARIC JAZZ! (Print Ad- Painesville Telegraph,((Painesville, Ohio)) 6 November 1929) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Musical







Release Date:

31 August 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Natklubben Honky Tonk See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Remade in 1951 as Lullaby of Broadway (1951), with Doris Day and Gladys George in the Lila Lee and Sophie Tucker parts, respectively. See more »


He's a Good Man to Have Around
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Copyright 1929 by Ager, Yellen and Bornstein
See more »

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User Reviews

Sophie Tucker's Lost Star Vehicle
27 June 2013 | by Alonzo ChurchSee all my reviews

Sophie Leonard...er...Tucker does not like singing her heart out at the HONKY TONK that has made her the toast of Broadway. She's rather be fixing pancakes with honey (ick) for her beloved daughter. But when snobby daughter, who is educated abroad, and knows nothing about her Momma's Broadway career, dates a callow youth who knows darn well about Momma, will melodrama result?

This is a lost film with a surviving soundtrack that tantalizes mightily. Sophie sings six numbers in this, and puts on a broad, but seemingly compelling performance as a mythical Sophie who doesn't really like showbiz that much. From what can be heard, the plot, such as it is, is a watered down version of Applause, made risible by the conceit that daughter is completely ignorant of what Momma (who seems to be, well, Sophie Tucker) does for a living. Tucker, however, handles the dramatic scenes in good voice (she sounds something like Bette Midler, of all people). But the singing is the main thing here, and the soundtrack definitiely tells us Tucker was singing well.

I don't know if this film would be found disappointing if it is ever found. Everyone, except Sophie, is distressingly early talkie in their clearly enunciated vocal style. But Sophie is a force of nature on the soundtrack, and, had the film survived, it would have been the only talking film starring her, rather than having her sing a specialty number, and getting her quickly off stage.

This one needs to be found.

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