11 December 2000 | lugonian
Torn between two lovers
UPTOWN NEW YORK (Tiffany, 1932), directed by Victor Schertzinger, is an independent production starring a slightly young but thin Jack Oakie as Eddie Doyle in a rare dramatic performance. Blonde and sassy Shirley Grey, who is featured as Patricia Smith, is actually the central character here, given a rare opportunity to carry on an entire story during her brief Hollywood career (1931-1935), which consisted of playing support to lead actors as tough dames/ molls or unfaithful wives in films for various movie studios, as well as appearing in "B" westerns, "poverty row" mysteries and/or chaptered serials. The plot: Patricia Smith is a middle-class New York City gal in love with Max Silver (Leon Waycoff), but Max is forced by his ambitious Jewish family into a marriage to a girl he doesn't love but will further his career in the medical profession, which he does, leaving Pat behind. Later in Coney Island, Pat meets Eddie, a bubble gum machine operator. Their relationship starts off on the rocky side, but eventually Pat decides to marry Eddie on the rebound even though she's still thinks of Max. When Max, now a respected surgeon, comes back into her life, she refuses to have anything to do with him because he is now a married man. After Pat is struck by a passing truck, Eddie, who knows about Pat's past relationship with Dr. Max Silver, calls on him for help. After surgery, which saves Pat, she must now decide whether to remain with husband Eddie or go back with Max, who is now willing to divorce his wife and remain with her. Decisions, decisions! Somewhat passable love story from the novel by Vina Delmar, with the lead actors playing against type, especially Grey. Oakie manages to be convincing when serious, but still comes off humorous during his lighter moments. And if the actor who plays Max Silver looks somewhat familiar, he had his surname changed from Waycoff to (Leon) Ames, and was later featured in numerous MGM films of the 1940s, as well as television appearances in the 1950s and beyond. Also in smaller roles are George Cooper, Alexander Carr, Henry Armetta, Lee Moran Raymond Hatton, with Tammany Young and Tom Kennedy in the locker room of Madison Square Garden during the prize fight scene.
Once presented regularly on former cable networks of the late 1980s and early 1990s such as Tempo and Channel America, UPTOWN NEW YORK can also be found on video cassette (at 76 minutes from its original 80) from several video distributors. A rare find and real curio to see by movie buffs. (**)