Belle Le Grand


1h 30m 1951

Film Details

Also Known As
The Story of Belle Le Grand
Release Date
Jan 27, 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

In 1850 New Orleans, Sally LaFarge is convicted of a murder that her gambling husband committed before deserting her, and then is disowned by her father. After serving a prison sentence, she learns that her parents have died and her baby sister Nan Henshaw has been placed in an orphanage. Not wanting to bring further shame to Nan, Sally heads West to start a new life with a new name, Belle Le Grand. She prospers by gambling, and fifteen years later, owns the fanciest casino on the Barbary Coast. One day at the stock exchange, she observes Lucky John Kilton and his partner, Bill Shanks, and invests heavily in their Coronet Mine, which has not produced in months. Minutes later, news breaks out of a Coronet bonanza and Belle makes a fortune. Meanwhile, her estranged husband, who is now going by the name Montgomery Crane, loses heavily, as he has been selling his Coronet stock short to manipulate the market as part of a long-range scheme to acquire the mine for himself. Crane learns that John owes a man $800,000, and buys the note for one million dollars, putting John in his debt without his knowledge. Soon, John and Belle meet, and despite the mutual attraction, Belle holds back. Then, Nan, now a sweet, young soprano, arrives on tour, unaware that Belle is her sister and her anonymous sponsor. Both John and Crane pursue Nan, but Belle protectively orders Crane away. John convinces Nan to do one performance in Virginia City, and arranges for her to stay at the ostentatious home of his other partners, gun-toting Emma McGee and her diminutive husband, Corky. To watch over Nan, Belle also goes to Virginia City, but is unable to get a hotel room, so John gives her use of his suite. She warns him about Crane, and tries to rekindle his previous interest in her, but now John is distracted by Nan. Nan, however, feels compelled to focus on her career, even as her attraction to John grows. Emma notices and advises her to stick to her singing, pointing out that she is unprepared for the unstable mining life. Meanwhile, Crane hires a miner, Abel Stone, to start a fire in John's mine, and just before Nan's performance, fire bells ring. Several miners are trapped and John risks his life to dig them out, saving all but five. His heroics win Nan's admiration and she postpones leaving. The fire has brought John and his partners to the brink of financial ruin, especially with the $800,000 payment that is shortly due, so Emma sells Belle her home to use as a casino. However, when Belle learns that Nan is forsaking her career to be with John, she returns to San Francisco and arranges for Nan to be offered a concert tour, which she will anonymously sponsor, and also pays off John's debt. When Belle returns to Virginia City, she finds the rags-to-riches McGees happily unburdened by wealth, but is pained to see John and Nan kiss goodbye as Nan prepares to leave for the tour. After Nan overhears that a Mary Kitteredge paid off John's loan, she tells him that the same woman paid for her education, though they have never met. On the opening day of her new casino, John confronts Belle with her handwriting, which matches the handwriting of Mary Kitteredge. Belle admits that she is in love with him and that she is Nan's sister, but when she also admits that she arranged Nan's tour to separate them, John becomes angry that she "played God." Before John goes to New York to be with Nan, he, Bill and Corky discover that the fire caused a rich, new vein in the mine to be exposed. Meanwhile, Crane tries again to manipulate the market and finds that John's anonymous protector has bought the stock that he sold short, so next he starts a rumor that the mine owners purposely set the fire that killed the five miners. When John returns from New York, Crane tries to abduct him for a lynching, but Belle intervenes again and Crane is shot with his own gun. Before he dies, Crane admits to Belle that he hired Stone to set the fire in the mine, so John and Belle proceed to the bar where the miners are holding Bill and the McGees, and Belle tells them about Crane's confession. Stone reveals his guilt by running out of the room, and the mob turns its attention on him. Later, Belle prepares to bring Nan back to Virginia City, but John tells her that he now realizes that she is the one he really loves.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Story of Belle Le Grand
Release Date
Jan 27, 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was The Story of Belle Le Grand. Although a July 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item added Roy Barcroft to the cast, he was not identifiable in the viewed print. The operatic sequences were shot on the Phantom of the Opera set of Universal Studios, according to an August 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item. As noted in a July 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item, this film marked 21-year-old coloratura soprano Muriel Lawrence's motion picture debut.