7.0/10
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24 user 7 critic

Wonder Bar (1934)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Musical | 31 March 1934 (USA)
Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man. Al Wonder and the conductor/singer Tommy are in love ... See full summary »

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writers:

Geza Herczeg (based on the play by), Karl Farkas (based on the play by) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Jolson ... Al Wonder
Kay Francis ... Liane
Dolores del Rio ... Inez (as Dolores Del Rio)
Ricardo Cortez ... Harry
Dick Powell ... Tommy
Guy Kibbee ... Simpson
Ruth Donnelly ... Mrs. Simpson
Hugh Herbert ... Pratt
Louise Fazenda ... Mrs. Pratt
Hal Le Roy ... Dancer
Fifi D'Orsay ... Mitzi
Merna Kennedy ... Claire
Henry O'Neill ... Richard - the Maitre'd
Robert Barrat ... Captain Hugo Von Ferring
Henry Kolker ... Mr. R.H. Renaud
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Storyline

Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man. Al Wonder and the conductor/singer Tommy are in love with Inez. When Inez finds out, that Harry wants to leave Paris and is going to the USA with Liane she kills him. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Warner Bros.' Wonder Show of the Century!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 March 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cabaret trágico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$675,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merna Kennedy met and married Busby Berkeley during production of this film. She appeared in three films in 1934 and retired, but her marriage to Berkeley was over in 1935. See more »

Quotes

Al Wonder: [rolls eyes as two men dance off together] Boys will be boys, woooo!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits appear as the respective actors enter the nightclub through a revolving door. See more »

Connections

Featured in It Came from Hollywood (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

You're So Divine
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Used instrumentally only (after "Don't Say Good-Night" sequence)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Al Wonder Greets You for Fun and Odd Nightclub Frolic
9 June 2007 | by movingpicturegalSee all my reviews

Entertaining musical all taking place on one evening at the swanky Paris nightclub "Wonder Bar", the film following the stories of several different characters including headline dancers Inez and Harry (aka "the gigolo"), a well-to-do woman (Kay Francis) who has paid for "dance lessons" from Harry with a diamond necklace (now being investigated by her husband and the insurance company), orchestra leader/singer Tommy (Dick Powell) who is in love with Inez, a man who spends the evening giving away all his possessions before his planned suicide of driving over a cliff, two drunken American businessmen (in "Nuts and Bolts") on vacation with their wives, a Russian Count, and at the helm of it all - Al Wonder (Al Jolson), club owner who likes to deliver rather silly one-liners as he oversees and sings sometimes too.

Al loves Inez, Inez loves Harry, the two businessmen are busy chasing after two hostesses/gold-diggers, and their wives are happily pursued by another young nightclub gigolo. All of this is inter-mixed with a selection of musical numbers including a very entertaining dance number in which Harry and Inez dance surrounded by a bevy of platinum blondes and masked men, all dressed in black and white as they flow around the mirrored art deco set and dance floor, and are shown dancing in overhead, Busby Berkley-directed style kaleidoscope effect - cool! Other numbers include "The Gaucho Dance" (reminiscent of Valentino), and the big finale which is possibly the most politically incorrect, jaw-dropping musical number ever filmed featuring Al Jolson in blackface who heads to heaven complete with an entire entourage of dancing angels in blackface, "Pork Chop Orchard" where pork chops grow on trees, "Watermelon Palace" with watermelons free for the taking, "Uncle Tom To-Nite" sign, craps dice, and tap-dancing number in front of waving watermelon slices.

All in all though, this film is quite enjoyable, light fare with enough stories to hold your interest, and the glitz and glamour of what appears to be a very fun-to-go-to hot spot full of well-heeled patrons in gorgeous gowns and tuxedos. I always enjoy the performances of Kay Francis and she is just fine in this, although she's not really given very much to do - same with Dick Powell, who has a small, rather bland role in this film. Guy Kibbee as one of the American businessmen and sidekick Hugh Herbert, as well as Ruth Donnelly and Louise Fazenda as the wife who likes the attentions of a younger man add quite a bit of humor to all this. Definitely worth a look.


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