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King of Burlesque

King of Burlesque(1936)

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King of Burlesque Former burlesque producer... MORE > $14.91 Regularly $19.98 Buy Now


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DVDs from TCM Shop

King of Burlesque Former burlesque producer... MORE > $14.91
Regularly $19.98
buy now

After a successful year of producing burlesque shows on Fourteenth Street in New York, Kerry Bolton wants to move uptown and do big musical revues, as does his singer and choreographer Pat Doran, who loves him. Kerry's partner, Joe Cooney, however, is cynical about the idea and refuses to join them. Four years later, Kerry's nickname has changed from "King of Burlesque" to "Broadway Czar," as he has produced hit after hit. Kerry, Pat, Joe, now Kerry's general manager, and Joe's girl friend Connie, who wants to marry him, go to an auction at the Park Avenue home of the Cleves, who have recently lost all their money. When Rosalind Cleve sees Kerry poking fun at the plight of her family, she refuses to sell a model ship in which he is interested. In response, Kerry, to insult her, buys much of the remaining merchandise at prices far below their worth. However, when he finally meets her and realizes that she is the type of woman he has dreamed of, he tries to make up by offering to pay a good price for the model, but she refuses. Kerry has Joe investigate Rosalind, and he learns that she is a widow of twenty-six and is engaged to an opera student named Stanley Drake. In need of money, Rosalind visits Kerry during a rehearsal and offers to sell the model ship for $1,500. He agrees, but when he reveals that he has learned that its value is only $400, she pridefully tears up his check. When Kerry suggests that he could help Drake get a start at the Metropolitan, she accepts his dinner invitation. At dinner, Kerry tells her that she has everything he wants in a woman--beauty, brains and class--and predicts that she will be his wife one day. After Kerry and Joe surreptitiously arrange for an institute of music to sponsor Drake to study in Italy, Rosalind, because of her desperate financial situation, agrees to marry Kerry on a business basis with a written contract stipulating that Kerry send her sister to a good school and provide Rosalind with $100,000 in securities in case the marriage fails. Hurt by the news, Pat accepts an offer to work in London. After the honeymoon, Kerry cancels the show under preparation and announces that his next show will have class and style. Rosalind convinces him to put Drake, who has returned, in the lead, and the new "modernistic revue," entitled "Rhythm in Color," becomes Kerry's first flop. When Joe calls Kerry a "chump," for putting Rosalind's "boyfriend" in the show, Kerry slaps him. Although Kerry tries to apologize, Joe leaves him. In London, Pat becomes a big hit as a performer. When she learns that Kerry has had three flops in succession and that Rosalind has left him, she returns and formulates a plan with Joe to get Kerry, who is now down-and-out, to start up a new show. Joe pays an out-of-work Russian immigrant named Kolpolpeck to pose as a millionaire backer, but Kerry is unable to come up with an idea until he sees Rosalind and Drake, who is wearing his coat, come out of a car together. Kerry socks Drake, recovers his coat and tells Joe that he now has his idea. With Kolpolpeck secretly fronting for Pat, Kerry purchases an old theater on Fourteenth Street and has most of the seats in the center removed. He then hires Pat to choreograph all the people who wanted a chance to show their talents when he was too busy for them, including his old telephone operator, elevator operator, doorman, office boy and a seemingly washed-up actor. Cynical about the show's prospects, Joe agrees to marry Connie if the show is a hit. The show, which combines burlesque and Broadway, includes a revolving stage and girls swinging on trapezes above an upper-class audience seated in tables below. After Joe deems it a hit, he and Connie embrace, as do Kerry and Pat.