6.5/10
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19 user 8 critic

The Toast of New York (1937)

Approved | | Biography, Comedy, Drama | 30 July 1937 (USA)
Notorious robber baron financier Jim Fisk, who makes and loses fortunes, tries to corner the gold market as well as the heart of a beautiful actress.

Directors:

Rowland V. Lee, Alexander Hall (uncredited)

Writers:

Dudley Nichols (screenplay), John Twist (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Arnold ... Jim Fisk
Cary Grant ... Nick Boyd
Frances Farmer ... Josie Mansfield
Jack Oakie ... Luke
Donald Meek ... Daniel Drew
Thelma Leeds Thelma Leeds ... Fleurique
Clarence Kolb ... Cornelius Vanderbilt
Billy Gilbert ... Photographer
George Irving ... Broker
Russell Hicks ... Lawyer
Dudley Clements Dudley Clements ... Collins
Lionel Belmore ... President of Board
Robert McClung Robert McClung ... Bellhop
Robert Dudley ... Janitor
Dewey Robinson ... Beef Dooley
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Storyline

The story starts just before the Civil War, showing Fisk, Boyd, and Luke conning Southern townsfolk into buying bars of soap that, might, have a $10 gold piece inside. Found out, they're chased out of town and escape across the Mason-Dixon Line just as the war starts. Fisk hatches a plan for him and Boyd to return to the South and buy cotton then smuggle it to the North where Luke is to sell it to the Northern textile mills. By the end of the war they have made millions, only to find out that Luke had been re-investing their money into Confederate Bonds. This fact-based movie shows Jim Fisk as one of the greatest con-men and entrepreneur's in history. It concludes with his involvement in "Black Friday", the Financial Panic of 1869, with fellow financier Jay Gould (who's not represented in the movie) and their attempt to corner the U.S. gold market. There's a love triangle between Fisk, Boyd and Mansfield, which is also based on historical accounts. Written by AzRanger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The terror of Wall Street was a chump for this girl!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 July 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alla conquista dei dollari See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,072,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Both Fisk and his partner Ned Stokes (called Nick Boyd in the movie) were married but competed for the affections of showgirl Josie Mansfield. In real life she was a world-wise dark-haired, full-figured woman who bore little resemblance to the innocent, apple-cheeked blonde sincerity of Francis Farmer. Stokes and Mansfield blackmailed Fisk, and Stokes shot Fisk to death in 1872. Although the dying Fisk named Stokes as his murderer, he only served four years of a six year term for manslaughter. See more »

Goofs

After the photographer's first attempt to take the picture is ruined by being over-exposed, he fails to change the plate before taking the second one. See more »

Quotes

Nick Boyd: How do you spell Vanderbilt?
James 'Jim' Fisk Jr.: With a "V" and...
[pausing to think]
James 'Jim' Fisk Jr.: a lot of dollar marks.
See more »

Connections

Edited from The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

The First Time I Saw You
(1937)
Music by Nathaniel Shilkret
Lyrics by Allie Wrubel
Played during the opening credits
Played on a harp and sung by Frances Farmer (uncredited)
Played often in background as a leitmotif for scenes with Josie and Nick
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Only little people call it stealing. Big people call it borrowing."
2 December 2014 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Hokey but enjoyable RKO biopic of Jim Fisk, 19th century financier and crook. As with most historical biopics, this is more fiction than fact (especially the end). Actually, I'll say this is even more loose with the truth than the average historical biopic from the time. The story tells how Fisk (Edward Arnold) rises to financial success on a series of crooked deals with his two cronies (Cary Grant, Jack Oakie). Eventually he has a falling out with one of them (Grant) over a girl (Frances Farmer).

Edward Arnold is always worth watching and this is no exception. Cary Grant fans will likely be disappointed at his supporting role, which is more suited to a Patric Knowles type. Still, there are moments where Cary shines above the material. Such as the scene with the bratty actress where he tells her she's ugly. Jack Oakie and Donald Meek are fun comic relief. Of note for having one of the better roles of Frances Farmer's career. She's very good here and, if you don't know about her, you might wonder why she didn't go on to bigger & better things. Well, you should look up her story. It's very interesting and tragic. Overall, it's an entertaining movie. Goes on a little longer than it needs to and the romance stuff is blah. But solid performances and healthy doses of humor help. Worth a look if you're a fan of old Hollywood biopics.


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