Big Street

Big Street

Director: Irving G. Reis

Cast: Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball, Agnes Moorehead

     
 

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Lucille Ball delivers the finest dramatic performance of her career in this satisfying adaptation of Damon Runyon's The Big Street. Ball is cast as Gloria, aka "Your Highness," the vain and thoroughly selfish star attraction of gangster Case Ables' (Barton MacLaine) New York nightclub. Henry Fonda costars as busboy Little Pinks, who worships Gloria from afar.See more details below

Overview

Lucille Ball delivers the finest dramatic performance of her career in this satisfying adaptation of Damon Runyon's The Big Street. Ball is cast as Gloria, aka "Your Highness," the vain and thoroughly selfish star attraction of gangster Case Ables' (Barton MacLaine) New York nightclub. Henry Fonda costars as busboy Little Pinks, who worships Gloria from afar. When Gloria is crippled by a fall downstairs-caused by a blow across the face by the sadistic Ables-Little Pinks selflessly waits upon the invalided and doggedly ungrateful songstress hand and foot. So devoted to Gloria is Pinks that he's willing to pilot her wheelchair from Manhattan to Florida so that she can renew her romance with callow playboy Decatur Reed (William Orr). Touched by Pinks' loyalty, his Runyonesque friends-Professor B (Ray Collins), Horsethief (Sam Levene), Mr. and Mrs. Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Eugene Pallette, Agnes Moorehead) and all the rest-raise enough money to open a Florida nightclub so that Gloria can put up a brave front. The ending is at once the most lachrymose and most effectively moving scene in the film, one that can only be spoiled if detailed here. Produced by Damon Runyon himself, The Big Street is one of the few completely successful filmed Runyon adaptations-as well as Lucille Ball's finest hour (and a half) on-screen.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Damon Runyon specialized in "parables of Broadway," and although sometimes those parables transferred very effectively to other media -- e.g., Guys and Dolls -- other times they did not. The Big Street is not bad, but it is marred by some excessive sentimentality and plot contrivances that strain credulity. While the figure of a man willing to give up everything for the woman he loves is a familiar one, as presented here it comes across as slightly ludicrous (through no fault of Henry Fonda's), and the whole idea of the trip to Florida comes across as unbelievable. (Interestingly, despite the fact that the sappy ending is equally unbelievable and manipulative, it somehow works.) What saves Street and makes its excesses tolerable is the cast. Lucille Ball pulls no punches in delineating a vain, selfish and exasperating character, and is clearly not afraid to risk alienating audience sympathies when required. It's a brave change-of-pace for Ball and works beautifully. Fonda projects an innocence and commitment that are invaluable and almost convince the viewer that a person really could be so self-sacrificing for such an unworthy person. And Agnes Moorehead and Eugene Pallette are an unexpected delight. Fonda and Ball would team up again many years later in Yours, Mine and Ours.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/02/2014
UPC:
0888574113117
Original Release:
1942
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
30,965

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henry Fonda Little Pinks
Lucille Ball Gloria
Agnes Moorehead Violette
Barton MacLane Case Ables
Eugene Pallette Nicely Nicely Johnson
Sam Levene Horsethief
Ray Collins Professor B
Marion Martin Mrs. Venus
William Orr Decatur Reed
George Cleveland Col. Venus
Vera Gordon Mrs. Lefkowitz
Louise Beavers Maid
Millard Mitchell Gentleman George
Juan Varro Lou Adolia
Hans Conried Lonie, the Headwaiter
John Miljan McWhirter
Don Barclay M.C.
Julius Tannen Judge Bamberger
Charles Cane Cop
Mimi Doyle Nurse at Hospital
Eddie Dunn Mulvaney
Mary Halsey Bit part
Bert Hanlon Philip, the Weeper
John Indrisano Mug at Mindy's
Warren Jackson Mug at Mindy's
Donald Kirke Surgeon
George Magrill Mug at Mindy's
Richard Martin Bit part
Tony Merlo Mug at Mindy's
John Miller Truck Driver
Frank Moran Mug
Ozzie Nelson Himself
Bob Perry Toupee
Ralph Peters Florist
Addison Richards Dr. Mitchell
Dewey Robinson Truck Driver
Pedro de Cordoba Doctor
Sammy Stein Mug at Mindy's
Mary Stuart Bit part
Elliott Sullivan Tramp
Ann Summers Cashier
Russell Wade Bit part
Marie Windsor Girl

Technical Credits
Irving G. Reis Director
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
Clem Beauchamp Asst. Director
Mel Berns Makeup
Claude E. Carpenter Set Decoration/Design
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director
Chester Hale Choreography
Willaim Hamilton Editor
Alfred Herman Art Director
Russell Metty Cinematographer
Mort Greene Songwriter
Renie Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry Revel Songwriter
Damon Runyon Producer
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
Leonard Spigelgass Screenwriter
Richard VanHessen Sound/Sound Designer
Vernon Walker Special Effects
Roy Webb Score Composer
Perc Westmore Makeup

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