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  • If you're looking for any kind of tell all story about the legendary Twenties gambler and racketeer Arnold Rothstein, Now I'll Tell isn't the film for you. The book it was based on by his widow who was obviously wanting her late husband to be seen in the best possible light. Fox Films further obliged the widow by even changing the name of the protagonist to Murray Golden.

    But as for the story of Murray Golden, his character is excellently essayed by Spencer Tracy who got few enough times at Fox to show his acting chops. Usually he was in B adventure films as a rugged hero. Here he is as amoral character as you might find in a Warner Brothers classic gangster film. In fact had the film been made at Warner Brothers the lead would have been perfect for James Cagney.

    There are two women in Tracy's life, his loyal wife Helen Twelvetrees and his sexy mistress Alice Faye. Twelvetrees sticks by Spence until the affair is really tossed in her face. As her character wrote the book on which the film is based we see the film through her eyes.

    As for Alice Faye this was her second film, her first George White's Scandals had not yet been released when she was shooting this one. Faye is in her platinum blond Jean Harlow period and she's given a really outstanding song in this film which both reflects her personal life and character in the film, Fooling With The Other Woman's Man by Harry Akst and Lew Brown. Alice even got to record it, she did some records of her early film songs before Darryl Zanuck put the Kibosh on his musical stars doing records.

    At the time of the film Faye was gaining more notoriety for being named as a co-respondent in a divorce proceeding of Rudy Vallee and one of his wives. Alice was a female vocalist for Vallee's Connecticut Yankees Orchestra and when Rudy was signed to appear in the aforementioned George White Scandals film version, Alice got to appear as well. Fox executives liked what they saw and Vallee who was usually not one to let a chance to make a nickel go by, let Faye out of her contract with him to sign with Fox. Maybe it was for old times or past good times sake, but the rest is history.

    In a biography of Alice Faye she mentions that she was awed by Spencer Tracy's acting ability, but put off by his drinking and the crude passes he made at her. Tracy was going through a bad time of it in his marriage, but it didn't effect his performance on screen an iota.

    Up to this point I haven't seen too many of Spencer Tracy's Fox films, but of the few I have seen this is one of the best, could be ranked in with some of his best work at MGM.
  • Just saw this film at a private screening - based on the life of a real gangster - featuring a young "Spence" who is absolutely dynamite. He plays a charming scoundrel who works his way up financially within the underworld via running a gambling joint - fixing fights helping wealthy businessmen out of fixes, etc. And Alice Faye is "Harlowlike" in her second screen role. If you like or love Spencer Tracy - this is a must see film. Sadly, the film survives from a pieced together reconstruction - based on a work print - and thus is a little rough around the edges - with numerous splices which mars some of the dialogue. Nonetheless - a real treat.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Critics called "Now I'll Tell" Helen Twelvetree's "comeback" movie but she hadn't been away! In 1932 she decided to enter the uncertain world of freelancing but apart from her first film, a glossy MGM production called "Unashamed", the others didn't set the film world on fire. With a new auburn toned hairstyle she was finally given a role in a movie that proved a big success - "Now I'll Tell". Based on a sensational book by Mrs. Arnold Rothstein, it supposedly told the story of her marriage to her famous gambler husband and his career and loves.

    Initially, Virginia (Helen Twelvetrees) sees gambler Murray Golden (Spencer Tracy) as a vibrant risk taker, someone who wants to live life, but after several years of married life she has had enough. He has always promised that once he made $200,000 he would quit but the lure of more money is irresistible. Golden is an unscrupulous crook whose one constant in his life is his wife. Along the way he acquires a mistress (only for fun he says!!!), Peggy, a platinum blonde songstress, who as the years go by yearns for marriage. At a fixed fight, Virginia goes, hoping to surprise Murray but hears talk of his mistress. With the possibility of losing his wife he takes her to Paris and when they return, forsakes gambling for the insurance business. But the fixed fight comes back to haunt him. Traylor, the fighter who was originally paid to throw the fight accidentally knocks his opponent out in the second round (Golden has played a double cross) and later on is found dead. Mossiter is convinced that Golden had a part in the fix and Joe, the other fighter, confesses after being plied with drinks. Mossiter kidnaps Virginia in retaliation and as Murray rushes to save his wife his car is involved in a head on crash. Peggy, who he has not discarded, is killed and when Virginia finds out she makes the final break.

    Spencer Tracy is excellent. It doesn't matter what type of role and in what type of movie - he didn't know how to be bad. In only her second film singer Alice Faye got very good notices. She was still in her Harlow period but managed to look like a blonde dream and definitely beautiful enough to turn Tracy's head. She also gets to sing the sultry "Foolin' With the Other Woman's Man". Faye had to wait a few years for stardom because of a little girl called Shirley Temple. She also had a small part in this movie but seeing she had just made "Little Miss Marker" she was on a fast train to stardom. Leon Ames, who was father to Judy Garland in "Meet Me in St. Louis" and Elizabeth Taylor in "A Date With Judy" played a small role as Virginia's friend. Tragic James Murray played almost less than a bit as a crook in one of his last films.

    Highly Recommended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Three decades in the life of a gambling racketeer (Spencer Tracy) is covered, from his days as a street punk to his rise to the head of a syndicate which he ruthlessly runs. Married to the long-suffering Helen Twelvetrees, he keeps a mistress (Alice Faye) on the side, and manages to lead a successful double life until tragedy strikes and his wife walks out on him. Of course, the reign of every great criminal (whether corporate or crime) must come to an end, and this film traces his rise and fall with great detail.

    Probably one of Tracy's best Fox films, it is a well written and extremely well acted drama, Tracy giving multiple dimensions to his character who can deal with his enemies ruthlessly at one minute then become extremely compassionate the next. Twelvetrees, one of the most underrated and forgotten leading ladies of the 1930's, gets to rise above the shady dame roles she played a few years later at RKO, and makes her ladylike character extremely interesting. Alice Faye gets to sing one song as the likable mistress, and this is extremely interesting to follow her rise from the Harlow like platinum blonds she played in eras like this to her great musical star that exploded just the next year as Fox was making its transition with 20th Century Pictures.

    This lacks the violence of Warner Brothers' gangster sagas and parallels some real life gangsters of the time, much like Universal's "Scarface", yet without the exploitation method of that stark and shocking drama.
  • AlsExGal30 December 2018
    This is supposed to be the story of the life of Arnold Rothstein, gangster and gambler, who was killed over a gambling debt in 1928, with the name changed to "Murray Golden", and played by Spencer Tracy. Except it plays fast and very loose with the truth. There were several versions of this story told during the early era of talking film besides this one, the best known being "Street of Chance" starring William Powell and "The Czar of Broadway" with John Wray in the title role.

    Spencer Tracy played tough guys in the precode era before he ever got to MGM, but he always brought quite a bit of empathy to even the hardest guy he played, and this role is no exception. The film has Murray Golden starting out small with small cons at a racetrack, eventually opening a high class gambling house where he starts to make the big dough, and then he gets into fixing sporting events, with one particularly tragic event being portrayed on screen.

    All the while he considers his wife, Virginia (Helen Twelvetrees), to be his good luck piece. But she is just a bird in a gilded cage. She has no friends because Murray doesn't want her mixing with the kind of people he deals with and nice people stay at arms length, they have no children, and Virginia just sits home alone night after night.

    The main struggle running through the film is the antagonistic relationship Murray Golden has with Al Mossiter (Robert Gleckler), a fellow gambler. This feud starts when Mossiter claims he has been cheated in Golden's gambling house. The end result is Golden making Mossitor look like a fool and a coward even though Golden pays Mossiter his gambling losses.

    Mossiter loses his mistress to Golden (Alice Faye in a very early role), and loses every gambling encounter with Golden until Golden's luck runs out, specifically, his wife runs out. The film really sentimentalizes Golden's end in a way that is pure fiction, but it IS some clever Hollywood writing.

    With Hobart Cavanaugh as Golden's long time superstitious associate who looks like he would be more at home running a country store, Henry O'Neill as Golden's childhood friend who grew up to be a cop and is the only one who can tell it to Golden straight, and Shirley Temple in a bit part as O'Neill's daughter.
  • Regardless of the antecedents of plot to actual persons living or dead, this film exudes power from the performances, especially those of Spencer Tracy and his wife in film, Helen Twelvetrees, the latter rather a forgotten star for a brief period in the early 1930's; the famous Tracy intensity glows off his performance as a incorrigible gambler, whose charge comes from the challenge, not the win, and who neglects his wife in so many ways--among them an almost public fling with Alice Faye; the latter home-town blonde of the late 1930's here as a blowsy, blonde-out-of-a-bottle good time girl who creates a permanent rift in Tracy's marriage. For film fans, there is a delightful cast of vintage character actors, Hobart Cavanaugh being a particular standout, and little Miss Shirley Temple making a brief appearance kissing her Daddy The Honest Judge goodnight. Twelvetrees is handed the heavy melodrama, but handles most of it well, particularly as the plot develops, exuding a sort of Lillian Gish quality of loving forgiveness. Yes, it's pre-code melodrama, and most of the plot can be predicted, but I found the honesty of the performances and the interaction of the characters, mixed with a good deal of local color (street performers, brassy night club singers, boxers on the take) made the film fascinating, if not a classic. One hopes that the Fox archives will get ahold of it and make a decent print--and release it in a box of early Spencer Tracy at Fox films.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Director: EDWIN BURKE. Based on the 1934 book by Mrs Arnold Rothstein. Screenplay: Edwin Burke. Camera: Ernest Palmer. Art director: Jack Otterson. Musical score: Hugo Friedhofer, Arthur Lange, David Buttolph. Music director: Arthur Lange. Songs: "Foolin' With the Other Woman's Man" (Faye) by Lew Brown and Harry Akst; "Harlem Versus the Jungle" by Lew Brown and Harry Akst. Costumes: Rita Kaufman. Sound recording: William D. Flick. Producer: Winfield Sheehan.

    Copyright 7 May 1934 by Fox Film Corp. New York opening at the Roxy, 25 May 1934. U.S. release: 8 June 1934. Australian release: 13 June 1934. 7,889 feet. 87½ minutes.

    U.K.and Australian release title: WHEN NEW YORK SLEEPS.

    SYNOPSIS: The true story of Arnold Rothstein, gambler, as told by his widow. The story had previously been told in Paramount's Street of Chance (1930), starring William Powell as the gambling man and Kay Francis as his wife. Re-made in 1961 as King of the Roaring 20's with David Janssen.

    NOTES: Academy Award for Shirley Temple "in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934". (Despite her prominence in the film's original advertising, Shirley's role is small.)

    COMMENT: It's Spencer Tracy's film, but his portrait is somewhat hampered by one of those insistent scripts that continuously hammers home the message, "Crime does not pay!" Mrs Rothstein herself is played by the immaculate Helen Twelvetrees, while Alice Faye (in her second film) has a terrific role as the singer who has a yen for Mr A.

    Although the movie has a great deal of curiosity appeal, it doesn't repay the viewer in entertainment value anything like Tracy's next film for Fox, Marie Galante (1934) which is so zestfully directed on a spare-no-expense budget by the great Henry King at his most accomplished.
  • boblipton1 January 2007
    As I write these comments, the repercussions from the O.J. Simpson book/TV show/media blitz over his "If I Did It" book are still rumbling through the news. This movie is based on a 'work of fiction' by the widow of Arnold Rothstein, the notorious gambler who may have fixed the 1919 World Series -- the infamous 'Black Sox Scandal.' Of course, the wife of the gambler is portrayed as open, loving and entirely unaware of the slimy side of her husband's dealings. Watching this movie, thoughts of self-serving bits of keyhole fictions kept popping up, making me generally disgusted with it, its chipper moron of a heroine and annoyed at Spencer Tracy's, as usual, straightforward and excellent portrayal of a bad guy. While it can work, here, with the general sense of disingenuity that beclouds the entire proceedings, the effect is disgusting.

    This is a shame, because Tracy is surrounded by actors and actresses who actually can get in a scene with him and inhabit the same universe -- all too often in this period, Tracy seemed to be the only genuine human being in these productions. Henry O'Neill is fine as the old friend of Tracy's who is now an honest cop and is intent on putting him in jail, and who will not even accept a toy for his daughter, played by Shirley Temple. It's also fun to watch Alice Faye, who is in her platinum blonde phase, playing a voracious gold digger. After the Code began to be enforced, she would turn into a sweet-tempered lady on the screen. But they can't save this smarmy whitewash job.
  • Rise and fall of a gambler based on the life of Arnold Rothstein from a book by his former wife. Episodic and not particularly interesting. Some nice women's costumes and Alice Faye as the girlfriend (definitely not the wife) can shake it when she gets a chance. Spencer Tracy is on screen most of the picture but can't get past the thick layer of 'crime does no pay' in the script.
  • Nowadays, Now I'll Tell is promoted as an early Shirley Temple movie, but if you're watching it for her, you'll be severely disappointed. She's got sixty seconds of screen time. This is a Spencer Tracy movie, and not a good one. This is a movie that should have cemented his career as unlikable jerks and relegated him to B-pictures forever after. Instead, he went on to play leading men for decades.

    In this drama, Spencer is married to Helen Twelvetrees and rises in the ranks of the seedy gambling world to own his own casino. Winning fortunes isn't enough for him, he insists on taking bigger and bigger risks, dabbling in horse racing, boxing rigging, and getting involved with dangerous mobsters. Helen doesn't want any part of that lifestyle, and since they don't even have children, she has no comforts in her lonely life. Spence, in the meantime, does anything he pleases, including keeping mistresses. His latest cutie-pie is Alice Faye, a nightclub singer, and he puts her up in an apartment, covers her in furs, and gives her a hundred-thousand-dollar trust fund. Alice completely lives up to her promoted image of "the singing Jean Harlow" in this movie. She looks so much like her, it sure served 20th Century Fox well for ten years! Her black feathered costume while vamping "Foolin' with the Other Woman's Man" looks very similar to Jean's negligee in The Girl from Missouri.

    I didn't like this movie for the plain reason that I don't like Spencer Tracy. He's so unlikable and so conceited, I could hardly stand to watch his scenes. If Edward G. Robinson were in the lead, it would have been an infinitely better movie.
  • Spencer Tracy stars as Murray Golden, a compulsive gambler who is very good at his craft. Virginia (Helen Twelvetrees) is inexplicably in love with him and agrees to marry him. However, most of their marriage, Murray is gambling or running around with his floozy, Peggy (Alice Faye)...yet still Virginia loves him and listens to his many promises he never keeps. At one point, he promises to stop gambling when he makes $200,000...and doesn't. Then, he amasses nearly $650,000 during the 1910s...and yet he doesn't quit. It's obvious Murray is hooked and can't stop and this will end up being the case until he falls flat on his face...which, ultimately, has to happen. You just can't winning or cheating on your wife forever, can you?

    There is a major problem with this film that keeps it from being a really good film. Despite good acting (after all, it stars Spencer Tracy), the main character is despicable...no two ways about it. He is an amoral liar...and how can they expect the audience to care about him in the least?! To make things worse, the ending drags on WAY too long.