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A nightclub waiter, who's in love with a selfish showgirl, gets to prove his love when she's injured.
On the corner of Broadway and 50th Street in New York City, an eating contest is about to begin, pitting Nicely Nicely Johnson against Joe Duffle, when Nicely Nicely comes down with an upset stomach. Racketeer and nightclub owner Case Ables has bet $20,000 on Nicely Nicely, and to save Ables' investment, busboy Augustus Pinkerton II, known as "Little Pinks," suggests substituting his friend, Violette Shumberg, for the ailing Nicely Nicely. In the midst of the contest, Ables' girl friend, nightclub singer Gloria Lyons, enters the club with her little dog Baby. When Baby runs away, Pinks chases it, causing Violette to lose the contest and Pinks to lose his job. Feeling guilty over Pinks's loss of employment, Gloria arranges a job for him at the club in which she works. Pinks, who idolizes the self-centered Gloria, begins to address her as "her highness." When he begins to send her flowers with unsigned cards, Gloria, whose motto is "a girl's best friend is a dollar," thinks that her secret admirer is millionaire playboy Decatur Reed. One night, as Gloria is leaving the club with Decatur, Ables slaps her down the stairs and sends her to the hospital. Gloria's fall leaves her crippled, and through her long months of convalescence, only Pinks and Ruby, her maid, remain by her side. Ruby pawns Gloria's jewels to pay the hospital bills, and when that money is exhausted, Pinks invites her to stay at his apartment. Pinks' friends, Violette, Nicely Nicely, Horsethief and Professor B, stage a homecoming party for the ungrateful Gloria, who orders them out of the apartment. Soon after Gloria moves in with Pinks, Violette and Nicely Nicely marry and move to Florida. When Pinks tries to offer encouragement to the self-pitying Gloria, she proposes to make him her butler once she has married Decatur. After Gloria demands that Pinks take her to Florida to recuperate, the devoted busboy pushes her wheelchair down the "big street" to Miami, where they stay with Violette and Nicely Nicely. There Gloria orders Pinks to buy her some fancy pajamas so that she can go to the beach in style. Instructing Pinks to pose as her houseboy, Gloria suns herself on the beach and meets Decatur, who is unaware of her condition. Upon seeing Gloria in a wheelchair, Decatur loses interest in her, and she blames Pinks for her misfortune. Disgusted, Pinks walks out on her and finds a job as a busboy. When he learns that Ables is managing the club in which he is employed, Pinks slugs the racketeer for his treatment of Gloria. At that moment, Violette appears with news that Gloria is sick, and Pinks rushes to her side. The despairing Gloria confides to Pinks that she dreams of spending one last night attired in a bejewled gown. When the doctor warns that Gloria's only chance for survival is the restoration of her hope, Pinks sets out to find the dress. Seeing it worn by socialite Mimi Venus, Pinks sneaks into the Venus house, where he overhears Mimi being blackmailed by one of Ables' gang. The man threatens to expose Mimi's infidelity unless she allows their syndicate to steal her jewels. After snatching the gown from Mimi's closet, Pinks dons a mask and demands the thief's stolen jewels. Pinks then visits Ables and threatens to expose him to the police unless he agrees to hold a private party at his club in honor of Gloria. Following Pinks's instruction, Ables issues invitations to Decatur and the other socialites. Horsethief, Professor B and Pinks's other friends who have migrated to Florida make sure that they attend. On the night of the party, just as Gloria is introduced to her guests, the police, who have found Pinks's social security card in Mimi's closet, come to arrest the busboy. Explaining Gloria's situation to the police and Mimi's husband, Colonel Venus, Pinks begs for one last night of freedom. When the colonel learns of his wife's infidelity and Pinks's devotion, he insists upon dropping the charges and gives Pinks a set of tails to wear. As Pinks speaks to the police, Nicely Nicely tells Gloria of the busboy's predicament, and she finally comes to recognize his sacrifice. Pinks then appears at Gloria's table, and after he lifts her up, the two "dance" and she confides that she is finally happy, voicing one last desire to climb the stairs and gaze at the ocean. Gloria then collapses and dies in Pinks's arms, and he carries her up the stairs to fulfill her final wish.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 13 Aug 1942|
|Release Date:||1942||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (RCA Sound System)||Production Co:||RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.|
|Duration(mins):||88 or 92||Country:||United States|
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Sunset Street Big Blvd.
The story is well taken & well acted: countless people are birthed, then live & die in physical/emotional misery. The movie inspires no hope ,but...
Strange reviews here!
I don't know why there are so many bad reviews here but I suspect it's because people aren't used to somber endings, as well as Lucille Ball...
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Kathryn Lawyer 2014-09-29
The Big Street was the first movie I remembered seeing Lucille Ball, play in a dramatic role. I must say she did a surperb job. I hope soon it will be...