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Puttin' on the Ritz

(1930 b 71')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Irving Berlin songs highlight this story of an entertainer who finds a woman and success but then starts drinking in high society.

Harry Raymond (Harry Richman) and Jimmy Tierney (James Gleason) are struggling song-writers. Boss Bob Wagner (Eddie Kane) doesn't listen to Harry's song. Dolores Fenton (Joan Bennett) asks Harry for help on her song. Harry combines her verses with his chorus and sings "With You;" but he gets fired for pushing it too hard, and Jimmy quits too. In a show Harry sings "I'll Travel Along." The audience taunts him, and he challenges them to fight. He and Jimmy are fired by George Barnes (Purnell Pratt). A telegram indicates that Harry and Dolores are wanted for a show but not Jimmy and Goldie Devere (Lilyan Tashman). They agree to split up. Dolores tells Harry that he is too conceited in his act, and he kisses her for putting him straight. Dolores agrees to marry Harry.

On stage Harry and Dolores sing "With You." Then Harry sings "Puttin' on the Ritz," and two choruses (the second with African-Americans) dance. The show is a success, and Barnes congratulates them. Harry opens the Club Raymond and sings "There's Danger In Your Eyes." Barnes tells Harry to slow down on the drinking and playing around; but Dolores defends Harry. Then Harry goes out with Mrs. Teddy Von Rennsler (Aileen Pringle). Harry drinks, and Jimmy and Goldie arrive during a formal dinner. Harry welcomes his married friends but gives them dinner alone in the guest room. Harry carouses. Mrs. Von Rennsler tells Barnes that Harry is just a clown to her. Dolores tells this to Harry and walks out, leaving with Goldie. Harry calls for help, because he can't see. The doctor says he drank bad medicine.

Jimmy tells blind Harry that Dolores is opening in a new show. Harry won't let him tell her about him, because he says she is too good for him. Dolores performs in "Alice In Wonderland." The audience demands that she sing "With You." Dolores stops in the middle, crying; but in the audience Harry sings and then leaves with Jimmy. Dolores runs after him and embraces him, crying. Harry tells Dolores that he can see her for the first time.

Harry and Dolores find success even though their friends are still struggling. Yet prosperity is ruined by Harry's character when he drinks with the upper crust. Blindness helps him to learn humility, and the love of Dolores promises to save him.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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