User Reviews (17)

Add a Review

  • In his memoirs Frank Capra gave very short shrift to Broadway Bill. In fact he only mentions it when he starts to talk about the remake of this film Riding High. The remake was in 1950 and Broadway Bill was done immediately after It Happened One Night.

    In just a couple of paragraphs he mentions that he did a film called Broadway Bill sandwiched between It Happened One Night and Mr. Deeds Goes To Town. He was dissatisfied with it because the leading man, Warner Baxter, was afraid of horses and it showed. Capra then said he resolved to do the film over again with an actor who loved horses. Of course he got Bing Crosby and second to golf Crosby did love horses and horse racing. It was a perfect fit.

    I didn't notice anything too terribly wrong with Baxter's performance away from the horse playing the title role. Baxter's a footloose sort of guy who's married to the daughter of millionaire Walter Connolly, Helen Vinson. Baxter's heart is at the racetrack, he loves the life and the people there. Vinson's younger sister Myrna Loy understands him though and it does take Baxter a while to figure out he married the wrong sister.

    Frank Capra filled out his cast with many of the regulars who appeared in his more well known classics and they all look like they were born and bred at the racetrack. In this and in Riding High, my favorite is Raymond Walburn, the larcenous and lovable old 'Colonel' Pettigrew ready to make the ultimate sacrifice and marry 'Vinegar Puss' Margaret Hamilton.

    Broadway Bill is not up there with Capra's more populistic films nor is it as good as Riding High, but it still is a wonderful heartwarming story of a horse who showed us in the higher species, the meaning of courage and heart.
  • "Broadway Bill" is one of Frank Capra's lesser known gems. Made in 1934 and starring Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy, it is the story of a man who is willing to walk away from a life of wealth to follow his dream. In many ways it is the typical Capra film.

    Adapted from a story by Mark Hellinger, "Broadway Bill" has all of the feel and characters one might expect from a Damon Runyon tale.

    Baxter as the owner of Broadway Bill and Loy as his sister-in-law, who is also in love with him are first rate. As are Walter Connolly, Clarence Muse, and especially Raymond Walburn, who walks off with the best role.

    Dated and a little sappy, but full of good cheer from start to finish.

    "Broadway Bill" is a good bet.

    8 out of 10
  • Dan Brooks is tired of his dull life as the manager of a paper box manufacturing company, given to by his father in law, J.L. Higgins, a man obsessed with acquiring as many businesses and properties as he can. The only thing Dan seems to enjoy is racing his horse, Broadway Bill. When Higgins forces Dan to choose between his work or the horse, Dan continues the movie by choosing the latter, which causes his wife, Margaret, to stay behind and be disowned by the family. Dan, along with his stablehand Whitey, plans to race Broadway Bill in the $25,000 sweepstakes (and show Higgins that he wasn't wasting his time working on Broadway Bill), but needs to come across $500 for the entry fee. Dan, Whitey, Margaret's sister Alice (who really has a crush on Dan) and one of Dan's old friend's from his racetrack days, Col. Pettigrew, come up with every trick they know to get the money, while still dealing with a gambling syndicate trying to clean up on a rival horse by driving up the odds, Broadway Bill suffering from a cold, and Dan locked up for failing to pay the stable & feed bill. Very good film, but lacks the magic Capra had with his other films (It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, etc.) Baxter is good as Dan, but just doesn't seem right for the hopeful characteristics needed. Loy is a delight as Alice/Princess, Connelly repeats the same role he played in It Happened One Night, & Muse, Walburn, & Overman lend fine support as Whitey, the Colonel, and Happy respectively. Good script, using nice humorous touches, and a touching ending. Rating, 8.
  • mmallon49 April 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    Broadway Bill is Frank Capra's forgotten follow up to It Happened One Night, likely due to the film being out of circulation until the 1990's and what a shame too. Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy are not romantic leads as she is his sister in law but both of them have great admiration for each other with Dan Brooks (Baxter) referring to her affectionately as The Princess and Loy clearly in love with the man and holding the same ideals as him but unable to go any further due to family ties; I find this dynamic is more interesting than a standard romance. Capra originally wanted Clark Gable in the lead role but had to settle with Warner Baxter who at least seems to be the next best thing as he holds much of the same rugged, footloose appeal of Gable.

    Broadway Bill features many of the same Capra-isms as seen in his other films. The small town of Higginsvillie being run by business mogul J.L Higggins played by Walter Connolly is a much more light-hearted version of Mr Potter from It's a Wonderful Life. He is in control of his entire family who run his individual enterprises and even their own national bank as visualised in a gag in which the entire Higgin's family proceed to eat dinner in perfect unison. They're not the Rothschilds but they're wealthy and powerful ("Higgins, that's not a family, that's a disease"). Yet at the end of the film J.L. gets rid of his businesses or as he puts it, gives back institutions to the people who founded them. Like the Sycamore family in You Can't Take It With You, Dan Brooks want to leave behind his life of work in favour of leisure and enjoyment, ideals comparable to the counter-cultures of the 1960's. After all what could be duller than running a paper box company? Unless you're Seymour Skinner.

    One of the most pivotal scenes in Broadway Bill involves one of the richest men in the world, J.P. Chase putting a $2 bet on Broadway Bill at 100/1 as a means to pass time will in hospital. When word gets out it spreads like wild-fire and the claims of what the amount of money he placed on the best become exaggerated from $2 to $20,000 to $50,000 all the way up to a quarter million. Simple message - don't believe everything you hear.

    I love Broadway Bill for its simple cheerful Innocence. This is one of several films which has managed to tug my heartstrings over the fate of a horse. One plot element even involves the horse Broadway Bill refusing to race because he doesn't have his pet chicken called Skeeter. You wouldn't find this kind of innocence today in a film which is supposedly made for adults.
  • sol-kay30 September 2004
    Extremely heart-warming depression era movie by director Frank Capra about a big-hearted race-horse who ran his heart out to the point that it burst leaving those who believed and loved him, in the audience as well as those in the movie, in tears: Broadway Bill.

    Marrying into money Dan Brooks, Warren Baxter, just couldn't take being big business tycoon J.L Higgins' son-in-law anymore and left him as well as his wife Margaret, Helen Vinson, to go back to his life on the racetrack with his horse Broadway Bill and his horses groom Whitey, Clarence Muse. Dan got Broadway Bill into a number of low purse money races at the local Imperial Racetrack to get the horse, if he won them, into the big race at the track The Imperial Derby against Kentucky Derby favorite Gallant Lady.

    With that wonderful Frank Capra spirit the movie is about the little man standing up to the powerful establishment and with both his hopes and dreams prevail against the establishments money and power in the end. Warren Baxter and Myrna Loy were both wonderful as Broadway Bill's owner trainer and Dan's sister-in-law Alice who, unlike her older sister Margaret, saw the good that Dan had inside of him. A goodness that was reflected on Dan's caring and feeling for the horse and for the people who, unlike Alice's father, had to live day by day with no hope for the future but for their next meal and a place with a roof over their heads to sleep overnight.

    Everything was stacked against Broadway Bill in the movie but like the champ that he was he overcame all of them and ended the film with a heart-stopping as well as heart-breaking finish on the racetrack. Re-made 16 years later in 1950 with Bing Crosby in the movie "Riding High" which even has a number of scenes from the movie " Broadway Bill" inserted into it but the original is still by far the best of the two and the one to watch.

    Noble and uplifting with Frank Capra using the betting at the racetrack to make a point about the conditions in the country at that time, 1934. With most of those betting on Broadway Bill being down on their luck and looking for the gallant and courageous equine to give them back the hopes and dreams that they lost because of the Great depression that hit America as well as the world after the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929. Tremendous final race sequence with a both heart-lifting as well as heart-breaking stretch run that will leave you totally speechless as well as reaching for your handkerchief.

    Incredibly up-lifting ending that only Frank Capra could have dreamed up with Dan's hopes and dreams as well as Broadway Bill's courage and determination making even Dan's father-in-law the greedy and unfeeling J.L Higgins finally see the light in that being a kind and giving human being was worth more that all the wealth that he had."Broadway Bill" has everything going for it: a great story with great acting and directing and last but not least a great star Broadway Bill.
  • Broadway Bill (1934)

    *** (out of 4)

    Wonderfully charming film about Dan Brooks (Warner Baxter), a man who walks away from his wife's family business so that he can enter his horse, Broadway Bill, in the Derby where the hopes to become a winner. The only one who believes in Dan is his wife's sister (Myrna Loy) and the not-all-there Colonel Pettigrew (Raymond Walburn). This film followed IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT so that's probably the main reason this here isn't as well remembered but apparently not even the director himself liked it as he would never speak about it an only discussed it in his book when talking about its remake RIDING HIGH. With that said, I personally found the film to be quite charming due in large part to the wonderful cast with Baxter and Loy leading the way with some very strong supporting performances. Baxter gets to play the fast-talking, go getter and he's wonderful in the part. He brings to so much energy and good charm to the role that you can't help but want to see him succeed. Loy is at her very best as she has no problems getting smiles and making for a good love interest even though the film keeps their relationship rather watered-down considering you really couldn't have a married man wrapped up with his sister in law. The supporting cast features Walburn getting plenty of laughs playing a lovable moron, Walter Connolly, Douglas Dumbrille, Margaret Hamilton and Raymond Walburn. Clarence Muse plays the servant in the film but he nearly steals the film as he's given plenty of a very good scenes and works extremely well with the entire cast. I was a little surprised to see how the movie ends but it's quite touching as only Capra could do. This isn't one of the director's greatest films but it's a pleasant little "B" movie that has a terrific cast, some nice laughs and a winning story so recommending it is easy.
  • boblipton6 March 2002
    This movie is a pleasure, from start to finish. The supporting cast is a pleasure, Warner Baxter gives a fine performance and Myrna Loy made this movie just before she played Nora Charles in THE THIN MAN -- Capra figured out how to direct her and MGM reaped the benefit.
  • A failed racehorse fancier, desperate to emerge from the shadow of his dictatorial father-in-law, pins all his hopes on his magnificent new steed, BROADWAY BILL.

    This rather obscure Frank Capra film - made after IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT - has a lot going for it, including fine performances, a well-written story, good production values & a hilarious example of an expertly crafted film montage.

    Warner Baxter deserves some credit in being willing to play a flawed and somewhat unlikable fellow. Besides being an alcoholic shyster, he's also physically abusive to those he feels are beneath him. And he's a racist. Despite these major disqualifications, Baxter still displays enough enthusiasm to make the viewer actually care what happens to the lout.

    Although it's difficult to fathom why her character adores Baxter so much, it's actually quite easy to see why audiences love Myrna Loy. Beautiful, vivacious, classy, this lady exuded charm for decades. As Baxter's infatuated sister-in-law, she is a pleasure to watch, even though we don't really feel Baxter deserves her.

    Playing his role with great dignity, Clarence Muse stands out as Broadway Bill's groom. An actor of enormous competence, Muse perhaps brought more of a well-rounded characterization to his performance than was originally expected. That he could play a role subject to racial slights and still make it something memorable, speaks very well of the actor.

    The supporting cast contains a fine collection of character actors: blustery Walter Connolly as Loy's tyrannical, yet tenderhearted, father; Raymond Walburn as a pompous confidence trickster; Lynne Overman as his laconic assistant; Douglass Dumbrille as a race-fixing mobster; and vinegar-faced Margaret Hamilton as Connolly's stern boardinghouse landlady.

    Movie mavens should have fun picking out the uncredited appearances of several performers: Clara Blandick as Connolly's overworked secretary; former OUR GANGer Mickey Daniels as a messenger for Connolly; Ward Bond & Charles Lane as a couple of racing touts working for Dumbrille; Herman Bing as a most unfortunate waiter in a fancy restaurant; Irving Bacon as the owner of a sandwich stand; Charles Middleton as a veterinarian; elderly Claude Gillingwater as the ‘richest man in the world' whose impetuous purchase of $2 worth of tickets on Broadway Bill precipitates merry mayhem; and pretty Lucille Ball as a telephone operator.

    After filming began Capra discovered that Baxter, although he loved horses, was afraid of them. Some imagination on the part of the director was needed to realistically put Baxter & Bill into the same scenes.
  • edwagreen27 December 2016
    10/10
    ****
    Warning: Spoilers
    A heartwarming, wonderful film detailing about Warner Baxter marrying the wrong sister, whose father runs the town by owning everything and being tyrannical to the bargain.

    Not being able to tolerate his father-in-law's ways and dissatisfied with his life, Baxter walks out and begins to train a horse he has been working with. Myrna Loy is just wonderful as the sister he should have married, the only one still unmarried and we all know why.

    She goes with him when his high class wife refuses to do so and by film's end, the two divorce.

    The film deals with their trials and tribulations in getting the horse entered, paying off creditors, paying entrance fees, combating bad weather and a whole host of things while seeing that they were meant for each other.

    There is comic relief showing how tips and widespread rumors lead to massive horse betting by the common folk.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Frank Capra is a great favourite of mine and I thoroughly appreciate his system of values. However, I find the message of "Broadway Bill" questionable at least. Flogging a horse to death rather than accepting your parent's money doesn't sound like a clever rationale to me. The only sense I can make of it is to take the horse's name "Broadway Bill" literally. This way it's cynical, on all other levels it's just stupid. Now that I've got that out of my chest, there are several great Capra moments ("Dough Boy!") to be found throughout the film. But the whole doesn't add up to anything worth keeping in mind. What a shame.
  • My main reason for seeing 'Broadway Bill', what the film is called in my country, was Frank Capra, who was responsible for many great films ('It's a Wonderful Life' is an all-time favourite for instance and 'It Happened One Night' and 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington' are also classics). He was one of the kings when it came to the feel good, sentimental films and his style was easy to recognise. The cast is also a talented one, the most familiar name to me being Myrna Loy.

    'Broadway Bill', 'Strictly Confidential' is another title the film is known under, is not one of Capra's best and falls short of being a classic. Did find myself thoroughly enjoying it with that being said, with there being a lot to admire, and it is easy to see why Capra's films connect with many from seeing 'Broadway Bill'. Even if other films of his do that even better. Not one of my favourite films centered around horse racing, but more than worthy all the same.

    There is very little wrong here with 'Broadway Bill'. The very ending is a bit on the too neat side, though admittedly very postively uplifting in the lead up to it.

    It was not easy at first to like Dan and took a while to warm to him, with the character having a lot to him to make one hate him outright. Luckily, this didn't stay for the whole film.

    Conversely, 'Broadway Bill' is well made visually. Especially in some very beautifully framed shots and some quite thrilling editing in the climax. Capra takes things seriously while not being too heavy, and he avoids making the film get corny or sickly sweet while maintaining the feel good factor present in many of his films. There is a nice whimsy in the scoring, while the script brings a smile to the face with some charming humour and a big heart.

    Found the story, while not always surprising, very heart-warming and easy to be uplifted by. Also got a good deal of emotion out of it, especially in the beautifully staged climax. A climax that was exciting and tear-inducing where one really roots for the right outcome. While it took me time to warm to Dan, Warner Baxter infuses a lot of enthusiasm and energetic charisma when he gets into the role. Loy is alluring and very charming and amusing Clarence Muse and particularly the joy that is Raymond Walburn are great fun. Broadway Bill himself is adorable and easy to root for.

    Summing up, very well done. 8/10
  • Once upon a time, horse racing was considered the sport of kings. In the first half of the 20th century, it was the most popular sport in America - believe it or not. Baseball may have been America's favorite pastime then, but more people followed the horses than any other sport.

    Of course, well into the second half of the 20th century, horse racing had come to lose its moniker as a sport. And, the public's interests had then grown to include more organized and competitive sports such as football, soccer, basketball, tennis and golf. Horse racing in America has itself continued to decline in all aspects - the numbers of tracks, horse farms and animals, trainers and followers.

    But, with that background, one can understand why a considerable number of movies were made about horse racing during Hollywood's Golden Era. The plots of many were built around the race track or the horses, while others had days at the races. Some were crime and mystery films, some were comedies and romances, others were dramas. "Broadway Bill" is a combination drama, comedy and romance.

    Many of these dramas had similar plots. This is a fairly good story with a top cast of the period. Warner Baxter is Dan Brooks and Myrna Loy is Alice Higgins. Behind those leads are some top supporting actors of the day. Walter Connolly is J.L. Higgins, Alice's father. Raymond Walburn plays Col. Pettigrew and Douglas Dumbrille is Eddie Morgan.

    Brooks is one of three men married to daughters of J.L., each of whom has been installed as president of one of the self-made millionaire's companies. All seem happy with their lot, and Dan did for a while because he loved his wife, Helen Vinton plays Margaret, who basks in the comfort of her hierarchically demanding father, J.L., played by Connolly. But, Dan's yen for race horses begins to sway his heart away from giving his all to the box company he has headed since marrying Helen.

    Myrna Loy is the youngest, as yet unmarried of the Higgins daughters. While J.L. has one last company presidency to install on whomever Alice marries, she has her heart set more on Dan. There's no hanky panky going on here, but she shares Dan's enthusiasm for racing and his prize colt, Broadway Bill. Dan hopes to start racing his horse, and is aiming for the big derby. When he finally leaves his job and the family to put everything into racing his horse, wife Margaret doesn't go after him. Her thinking is that he will either come back to her or they are through. So, it's not hard to imagine how the film ends.

    Columbia Pictures had been a Poverty Row studio in the 1920s, and was a second-tier studio by the early 1930s. But director and writer Frank Capra's work for Harry Cohn was gaining the studio wide recognition. After a 1933 Oscar nomination for "Lady for a Day," Cohn and Capra made "It Happened One Night" in February 1934. It would win the studio its first Academy Awards, and be the first movie to win the top four Oscars - for best picture, director, actor and actress. But after that, and before the next major story that Capra would work on ("Mr. Deeds Goes to Town"), he made "Broadway Bill" for Columbia.

    A number of things about this production show that Columbia (and Capra, perhaps?) were still in that second tier of studios. The opening scene of "Broadway Bill" is an example. Dan Brooks is driving alongside a racing horse. It had to seem phony even way back then - it was a stage setting with a stationary car filmed with a video of a horse running behind - to the side of the car. The film shows some other deficiencies as well. Its scenes are choppy in places, and some seem to have poor direction or editing. And the screenplay itself is weak. There are some scenes when one waits for Baxter to say his next line, while he stands there tearing hay apart in his hands.

    Capra himself didn't think too much of this film in later years. He wanted to remake it, which he did in 1950 as "Riding High." While the plot stayed the same, it was a musical comedy with Bing Crosby in the lead.

    This isn't a rollicking comedy, but it is a somewhat interesting, if jumbled story. Those who enjoy old films may like this one. Others might find it too slow or boring. Here are some favorite lines.

    Col. Pettigrew, played by Raymond Walburn, "Milked by my own chicanery."

    Oscar 'Happy' McGuire, played by Lynne Overman, "First time I ever saw a guy sucked in by his own gag."

    Col. Pettigrew, "Well, I guess I'm just a child of impulse."
  • Frank Capra, who gave us so many well known films, such as "It Happened One Night," "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," and "It's a Wonderful Life," also gave us the lesser known "Broadway Bill" in 1934. The movie was remade later as "Riding High" with Bing Crosby, though it is not a favorite of Frank Capra.

    The story concerns Dan Brooks (Warner Baxter), married to a wealthy woman and working for her father (Walter Connelly). Dan is miserable. He walks away from the job and his wife, who refuses to accompany him, to pursue his dream of working in the racing industry. He gets behind a horse named "Broadway Bill." Bill is super-fast, but even with everything stacked against the horse, Dan knows he can win.

    Myrna Loy costars as Dan's sister-in-law, who believes in what he's doing and is secretly in love with him.

    "Broadway Bill" is a sentimental film, with some satisfying moments. However, I have to admit I'm not crazy about the racing footage - I believe wire was used to trip the horses, which is disturbing.

    Not Capra's best, but not bad either if you can stomach accidents with horses.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With the buzz out on "Seabiscuit " being an Oscar shoe-in for best picture of 2003 and the Sport of Kings once again grabbing the spotlight and the invaluable boost the film is giving the sport of horse-racing, most of us may have forgotten what makes this particular formula the odds on favorite at the boxoffice. That a horse, blinded in one eye and too small to compete with other thoroughbreds, is not enough to sustain any film on the subject alone but rather the grit and determination of those who believe enough, have faith enough, to turn a 'dark horse' into a champion. For if you take on consensus that the horse, with the possible exception of man's best friend-(and there have been enough films on that subject as well), is one of the noblest creatures God ever placed on this green earth than the formula worked equally as well for the 'Pi' in "National Velvet" (1945) and a dozen more films on that order such as "Saratoga" (1937), e.g., to name only a few. "Broadway Bill" is a classic of this tried oft-tested formula with a decidedly down beat ending. It was meant to be for after all it is a tear-jerker. But "Bill" like "Seabiscuit" have much in common. Both horses are regarded as past their prime and ready for stud. Both films have a people who believe enough in the 'underdog' (Bill or Seabiscuit in this case) to commit one final act of atonement on the animals behalf, "one for the Gipper" so to speak. Where the two films diverge is in the finale. Bill gives his all on the racetrack to prove his mettle where his heart bursts literally a winner in a dead heat to the finish. We're touched by Bill's determination in justifying his trainer's faith in him that it's almost impossible not to grab a handy box of Kleenex to daub away all those unbridled tears. "Broadway Bill" was actually made a total of three times, the formula was that successful. Once with Bing Crosby in the Warner Baxter role and, naturally, it is der Bingle after all, with a few musical numbers added. 'Bill" has been inducted into the classics. "Seabiscuit" as yet to stand the test of time but somehow I've an instinct that it will, for, you see, both films and their striking similarities have become a wake-up call to Hollywood. In an age of CGI generated Neo's and the dark demented young minds who try to emulate his violently aggressive behavior, "Broadway Bill' and this new film on the life and times of "Seabiscuit" is like a day at the races where you can be sure both will emerge a champion because, as you may have already guessed, it's the kind of movie they just don't make anymore.
  • xerses1328 December 2009
    Frank Capra spotted Broadway BILL (1934) between IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) and MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936). The Director did not think much of the film at the time nor in his memoirs. Critics remarks mainly praised the cast and little else. They were right, there are better Race-Track films out there, from CHARLIE CHAN AT THE RACE TRACK (1936) too SEABISCUIT (2003). This film has a first rate cast starting with Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy, the leads. The rest, competent character actors from Capra's stock company at COLUMBIA the producing studio. So what went wrong?

    The screenplay has 'whiskers' on it even for a mid 1930s' programmer. There is every corny and trite cliché that can be imagined in the script. They even have Franky Darro as BILL's Jockey, TED WILLIAMS! Darro made a Hollywood career out of playing Jockey's. The worse portrayal is Baxter's DAN BROOKS. Maybe in the 1930's being a irresponsible and obnoxious jerk was somewhat enduring, it certainly is not in the 21st Century. This film should be viewed solely as a curiosity piece or for the real Frank Capra fanatics.

    For some reason Capra felt the need to remake this film with Bing Crosby as DAN BROOKS. RIDING HIGH (1950) though longer is no better and we also rate it IMDb Four****Stars. Capra, post WWII seemed to have lost his 'touch'. He would also remake LADY FOR A DAY (1933) as POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES (1961) his last film. His time had run out.
  • Successful businessman Warner Baxter quits his job to return to the life of horse racing. Broadway Bill is a horse that Baxter thinks can take him to the big time. The problem is that he is practically broke and must scrimp and scheme to somehow get the money needed to get Bill in 'the big race'.

    This is an amazing film because it was nothing like I would have expected. Even though it appeared right after director Capra's masterpiece IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, it must have been in the planning stages long before hand. That's because IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT cleaned up at the Oscars and was a huge hit. You'd expect, therefore, that Capra's next film would have been a top-notch film--not some crappy old B-movie. Yet, aside from having a good cast, Broadway BILL is, at heart, just a clichéd B-movie--and certainly far from the director's best.

    Part of the problem is that it's hard to have a horse racing film that is fresh and exciting. In the 1930s, Hollywood made quite a few racing films--and they all seem very similar. In fact, as I watched Broadway BILL, I kept thinking "wow, this reminds me of another racing film I saw"--and this happened again and again. While I cannot remember every title, it's clearly a lot like SERGEANT MURPHY and especially LONG SHOT. In fact, you could say that LONG SHOT was a re-working of Broadway BILL--not exactly a remake, but using major chunks of the original story. It's a case of 'been there, done that'.

    In some ways, this sort of clichéd bilge is a surprise--not just because Capra was at the helm. You'd think it would be a better film with Warner Baxter, as he was a big name in 1934 as he'd already won an Oscar for IN OLD ARIZONA and had a starring performance the year before in 42ND STREET. Additionally, Myrna Loy had starred in the hugely successful THIN MAN earlier that year--and it catapulted her to stardom. You'd have thought she could have merited something better than this! Perhaps someone was holding family members of Capra, Baxter and Loy hostage--otherwise, there's no explaining this film!

    In addition to a clichéd B-movie plot, the picture also betrayed a cheapness you just wouldn't have expected from a Capra picture. In the very beginning of the movie, there is one of the very, very worst examples of rotten rear-projected camera work. It's obvious that Warner Baxter is clearly riding in a car that is stationary and the 'horse' running along side of his very, very clearly is being projected on a screen.

    The most amazing thing about this silly film is that in 1950, Capra would remake this movie as RIDING HIGH!! Remakes are a decent idea if the original story is flawed or the acting particularly bad and you somehow correct these flaws---but when the story idea is a clichéd and dusty old plot, a remake can't help but fail as well.

    My advice is to skip this one or DON'T expect it to be an A-picture. If you just pretend it's a cheap B-movie, then it's very pleasant experience, as it's reasonably entertaining...in a very modest way.
  • Box Company CEO Dan Brooks (Warner Baxter) has always been a horse trainer at heart and he begins to chafe under the dictatorial rule of a father in law captain of industry JL Higgins (Walter Connoly) who all but owns the town named after his family. Brooks latest equestrian project "Broadway Bill" entails neglecting the company and when JL puts his foot down, Brooks bolts with youngest daughter (Myrna Loy) in pursuit.

    In a film that aches for staliion Gable we are given nag Baxter, looking haggard and worn. Warner is just not up to the energy and enthusiasm and minus the youth the role calls for, his scenes with the spry and vivacious Loy more paternal than romantic. When trying to wrangle or con others we get an abrasive condescending curmudgeon instead of a confident immature smart Alec who thinks he can enter his first race against the finest horse in the land and win.

    DP Joe Walker contributes his usual array of outstanding soft focus compositions and close-ups, featuring many of director Frank Capra's stock supporting company at their best. The editing is up to screwball pace and features an outstandingly cut race scene but Warren's old gray mare performance along with an insipid "Capra Corn" ending leaves Broadway Bill out of the money back in the pack.