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A turn-of-the-century playboy courts a Salvation Army girl.
In turn of the century New York, pretty temperance worker Angela Collins, who is a member of the Daughters of Right, is hailed as the "Belle of New York" by her Bowery clientele, who admire her singing and her beauty. Wealthy patroness Mrs. Phineas Hill likes Angela, but frowns on the distraction she creates. Mrs. Hill's playboy nephew, Charlie Hill, who has never been near the charity, prefers the joys of café society and the company of beautiful women. On the night Mrs. Hill returns from Washington, Charlie is hosting a bachelor party prior to his wedding to sharpshooter Dixie McCoy. All of the guests are women, aside from Charlie's friend and lawyer, Max Ferris. When Mrs. Hill arrives, she disapproves of the revelry and sends the guests away, not realizing that they are celebrating Charlie's forthcoming wedding. Later, Charlie goes out with one of his friends, Frenchie, and admits that he does not want to get married. While they are driving in an open carriage, Charlie spots Angela singing with the Daughters' band and falls immediately in love. Leaving the understanding Frenchie in the carriage, Charlie approaches Angela, who is also attracted to him, but fears that he is not really in love, which she contends should make someone walk on air. After Angela leaves Charlie, he begins to walk on air and realizes for the first time he is in love. The next morning, after Charlie has failed to show up for their wedding, Dixie storms over to his house, prompting Mrs. Hill to write a $10,000 check to keep her quiet. Although Mrs. Hill is fond of Charlie, she angrily tells Max that she will cut him off without a cent unless he changes. Meanwhile, Charlie has gone to see Angela and shows her his sincerity by walking on air in her office and asking to join the Daughters. Still skeptical, Angela tells him that he must do an honest day's work before she will let him join them. Charlie makes several attempts to get a job, but each time is fired when he is distracted by Angela passing by. Charlie finally becomes a streetcar driver and at the end of the day offers Angela a ride back to the garage. As he then tries to convince her of his love, the couple dances and both start walking on air. Charlie then takes Angela home to see his aunt, who is pleasantly shocked to learn the identity of his new girl. Happy that Charlie has finally found a nice girl, Mrs. Hill offers to pay for their wedding. The night before their wedding, workers and friends decorate the Daughters' meeting house, while a now temperate Charlie refuses all of Max's offers at a bachelor party. Friends of Angela's, though, decide to pay Charlie a visit and wish him well. Starting with police officer Clancy and some of the loyal Bowery bums, Charlie is forced into drinking a polite toast to Angela. After more toasts, everyone gets drunk and Charlie and Max wake up 1:30 the next afternoon. Although the wedding was supposed to be at noon, Max tries to convince Charlie that it is not too late, but Charlie is convinced that he is no good and it is better for Angela that they not get married. At home, Angela is waiting, still in her wedding dress, and says that it is not too late, but Charlie tells her that he is no good. Angela insists that she stills wants to marry a man who can walk on air and kisses him, but when neither starts to levitate, she quickly runs away. Some later later, Charlie goes looking for Angela, who has been avoiding him. Her friend, Elsie Wilkins, who also works with the Daughters, tells him that Angela has left, because she no longer wants to be "too good." When Charlie leaves, the hiding Angela scolds Elsie for making Charlie think she is no longer a good girl, but Elsie hits upon an idea to bring the two back together. She and Angela go shopping for stylish evening clothes and make a reservation at Webber's Casino, where Charlie now works as a singing waiter. Charlie is shocked when he sees them there and tries to make them leave, but they refuse and order champagne. He only brings them soda water, but they think it is champagne. After Charlie performs onstage, he is asked by one of the male diners to deliver a note to Angela. When she reads the note, she is shocked and decides to leave, but when Charlie reads the note, he angrily punches the diner in the nose. A brawl ensues throughout the café, and even envelopes Max and Mrs. Hill, who arrive at the café just before the police. As they all try to sneak out during the melée, Angela and Charlie start to argue and do not notice that they are beginning to levitate until they are outside and are cheered on by the gathering crowd. Finally, Charlie and Angela are married and dance on air in their wedding clothes.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1952||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
|Duration(mins):||80 or 82||Country:||United States|
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A Memorable Musical!
Raymond Banacki 2016-05-10
"The Belle of New York" is a thoroughly enchanted musical. It has a first-rate Warren/Mercer score. It's blessed with a whimsical...