Monday, December 23, 2013

Two Girls on Broadway (1940)



“You all want to be Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell don’t you”

            There is no denying that MGM was the master at making musicals. Name three classic musicals and they are sure to be from MGM. I am also surer that mixed in with all their well known and well made musicals there are some duds. When sound came about there was a rush for all the studios to get every one of their actors into singing and dancing roles. Even poor James Stewart got thrown into a musical and had to sing and dance in Born to Dance in 1936. MGM put Lana Turner, Joan Blondell, and George Murphy together in a musical called Two Girls On Broadway. This was not one of MGM’s best musicals and it was not a very film for either Turner or Blondell.
            Molly Mahoney (Blondell) and her younger sister Pat (Turner) are dance instructors in a small Midwestern town of Rome, Nebraska. Molly’s boyfriend Eddie (Murphy) is a song writer. Eddie is invited to perform on a radio program. He was supposed to have birds singing in different keys but that was a ploy for him to perform one of his songs. Eddie performs his song much to the dismay of the radio hosts. He sang the song to get the attention of a music publisher but the publisher who said he would be listening was not. A man named Bartell gives him a place in his show. Eddie calls Molly to tell her to come. He asks Bartell if Molly can audition. She tells Eddie she can only come if she can bring Pat who has been helping while he was away.
            Molly and Pat audition for Bartell. He just wants Pat as Eddie’s partner but he is willing to hire Molly as a cigarette girl. Pat does not get to tell Molly the deal before her sister is agreeing to the deal. Molly is surprised but she makes it seem like she is gung ho and tells Pat to take it. Eddie does not want her to be a cigarette girl he says he would rather go home. Molly says no they will stay. When Eddie walks away Molly breaks down and cries.
            Chat, the radio program sponsor likes Pat. He wants her to go to a party he is throwing. Molly cannot go she is working. While working she sees an old friend from home who is a popular newspaper writer. He asks Molly to bring Pat around not knowing Pat is her sister. Molly asks him what Chat is like and he tells her that Chat has been married five times and gets a new girl all the time. Eddie and Molly manage to get Chat away from Pat. Eddie takes Pat home and he kisses her before he leaves. Chat comes by the apartment early the next morning to pick Pat up to bring her to the club to rehearse. Molly is not too happy and neither is Eddie. Chat is trying his hardest to get with Pat but Molly and Eddie are making it too hard for him.
            Eddie rehearses a new dance with Pat in the apartment. He spins her into his arms. Molly’s old friend from the paper walks in looking for her. Eddie confesses to the friend that he loves Pat and does not want Molly to know it. After Eddie’s confession Pat tries to leave to head back home to Nebraska. Molly finds her sister at the bus station and stops her from leaving.
            After rehearsal that night Chat brings Pat out ice skating and asks her to marry him. She is not sure and does not get back to him right away. Molly stays awake all that night waiting for her sister to come back. She is upset with Pat for being out with Chat all night.
            Eddie comes over the following morning. He wants to tell Molly he loves Pat. Molly figures it out and tells him to go after Pat. Pat tells Chat that she wants to marry him. Eddie gets to her just in time before they can get married.
            Molly plans to head back home. She tells her sister she really did not love Eddie like she used to so she is not upset with them.
            I had some issues with the casting. Lana Turner, Joan Blondell, and George Murphy were great I will start off with that but I really hated seeing Blondell as this weak woman. I am so used to seeing her be this tough cookie who gets by with her quick wit. In this film her character just got walked all over and took it. I would have liked to see the three of them in another film something with a better story. Lana Turner was so damn adorable I could not take it. In one scene Pat comes home drunk and she was hilarious. Her dancing with George Murphy was very good.

            Two Girls on Broadway was not very good. As I said I liked the cast I just wish they had been placed in something better together. But I understand that MGM was trying to figure out what to do with Lana Turner since this was one of her early films. The story was boring and it made me mad to see Joan Blondell kind of get shoved off to the side. She deserved a better part than this. Also I found myself unable to sympathize with any of the characters. They all seemed to be pushing each other around and barely did anything for themselves. I can only suggest seeing Two Girls on Broadway if you are a fan of any of the three leads and that is it.