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Broadway Bill

Broadway Bill(1934)

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According to the Screen Achievements Bulletin, Mark Hellinger's story was entitled "On the Nose." A Hollywood Reporter news item, however, gives the name of the story as "Strictly Confidential." No publication information for Hellinger's story has been found. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, Louis Calhern was briefly assigned to the part played by Douglas Dumbrille, Sidney Skolsky was set to play a jockey, and Frank Capra sought to borrow Lewis Stone from M-G-M for an unspecified role. Contemporary sources also state that Osgood Perkins, Sterling Holloway, Samuel S. Hinds, Barbara Read and Mary McGrath were included in the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been verified. Location shooting was done at Tanforan Racetrack, which was located in San Mateo County, the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA and Pacific Coast Steel Mills. According to contemporary sources, the film was 125 minutes long when it was previewed on October 24, 1934. Film Daily states that another preview was held on November 21, 1934. In his autobiography, photographer Joseph Walker states that Capra originally tried to get Clark Gable for the part of Dan Brooks, but he was not available. On April 24, 1939, Robert Taylor performed in a radio verson of Broadway Bill for Lux Radio Theater.
       Modern sources list the following additional crew members: Microphone operator Irving Libbott; Electrial Bob Charlesworth; Props George Rhein; Gaffer George Hager; Best Boy Al Later; and Head grip Jimmy Lloyd. Modern sources also include Harry Semels (Conductor) in the cast, and complete the character identifications for Harry C. Bradley (Bookkeeper) and Eddy Chandler (Onlooker). This film is not a remake of a 1918 Yorke film, also entitled Broadway Bill. Broadway Bill was remade by Capra as Riding High, a 1950 release starring Bing Crosby and Colleen Grey. Capra states in his autobiography that he traded the script for A Woman of Distinction for the rights to Broadway Bill and its negative. He made the film for Paramount, and in order to save money, cut in approximately twenty minutes of racing and dialogue footage from the original film. Among the actors reprising their original roles were Clarence Muse, Douglas Dumbrille, Margaret Hamilton, Frankie Darro, Ward Bond, Raymond Walburn, and Irving Bacon.