10 September 2015 | bkoganbing
Raft as Raft
Film star George Raft on a trip to New York takes a nostalgic visit to a nightclub where back in those wonderful days of Prohibition he was a hoofer in the same nightclub. On one night he almost got pinched for a murder.
In fact there were two murders that night. Gangster Broderick Crawford who supplied the booze to the club that was owned by S.Z. Sakall and Marjorie Rambeau bumps off a rival in the club. Crawford was also putting moves on Janet Blair who is Raft's dancing partner. So when homicide cop Pat O'Brien starts nosing around, Raft gets nicely set up for a fall guy.
Well we know it didn't stick because this film is all in flashback with Raft telling the tale to Arthur Shields. But justice is done all around in this film.
With three leads like George Raft, Pat O'Brien and Broderick Crawford, that in itself is reason enough to watch Broadway. But a whole host of familiar character players who really make Broadway something to highly recommend. Besides those mentioned when you have Marie Wilson, Iris Adrian, Anne Gwynne, Edward Brophy, Abner Biberman, Nestor Paiva, etc. etc. you know you are in for a treat.
It was nice to see Raft doing some dancing. He started out that way and his debut was in a New York based film Queen Of The Nightclubs where he was a featured player in a movie showcasing the fabulous Texas Guinan. Marjorie Rambeau's character is based on Guinan in fact. You can see Raft dance in such films as Bolero, Rumba and a very few others. Raft hanging around the nightclub scene and growing up in poverty in New York's Hells Kitchen he started rubbing shoulders with some really prominent criminals. So much so it saturated the man's whole screen image. But in this urban milieu there was no one who could touch Raft, including Warner Brothers gangster stable of stars. He really lived on the periphery of this life.
Broadway is a semi-autobiographical tale of George Raft's early days in show business. Highly recommended for his fans.