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The Big Street

(1942 b 88')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Produced by Damon Runyon from his story, a busboy loves and helps a singer, who only wants to catch a rich man.

Gamblers Horse-thief (Sam Levine) and Professor B (Ray Collins) bet on an eating contest; but Nicely Nicely (Eugene Pallette) is in pain. Busboy Little Pinks (Henry Fonda) suggests that Case Ables (Barton MacLane) bet on thin Violette (Agnes Moorhead), who eats slowly, is distracted by the dog of Gloria (Lucille Ball), and loses. Pinks is fired. Violette invites Nicely to her kitchen. Gloria sings "Who Knows?" and gets a job for Pinks. He sends her flowers anonymously. Gloria breaks off with Ables, who slaps her down the stairs. She is in the hospital, and her maid (Louise Beavers) pawns her jewelry so that Pinks can pay her bills. The doctor tells Pinks he needs to get $500. Pinks visits Gloria, who thinks that rich Decatur Reed (William T. Orr) is sending the flowers. Pinks invites her to stay with him, but she tells him to get out.

Pinks carries Gloria down to his place, and she tells his gambling friends to leave. Violette tells Pinks she is marrying Nicely and moving to Miami. Gloria cries and asks Pinks to be her butler. He takes her left-over champagne and caviar. She says she is cold and wants to go to Miami. Professor B and Horsethief raise money and bet it but lose. Pinks pushes Gloria in a wheelchair. At the bridge they are stopped but get a ride to Washington.

In Miami they find the eating place of Violette and Nicely. Pinks carries Gloria to the beach, and she sends him away. She tries to lure Decatur. Ables hires Pinks as a busboy. Gloria tells Horsethief and Professor B to stay away; but Decatur sees her in the wheelchair and goes. Gloria tells Pinks to get out. Violette tells Pinks that Gloria is sick. Pinks learns that Ables hired him and socks him. Pinks goes to Gloria, who cries in despair. A doctor gives Pinks little hope. Pinks steals a dress and overhears a jewelry scam involving Ables. Pinks covers his face and robs them. He goes to Ables and asks to use his club for one night in exchange for the jewels. Nicely says that Decatur won't come, but he and Horsethief abduct him.

At the club Professor B has four men to keep high society pliant. Decatur joins Mimi. Police detectives come for Pinks, and Nicely warns him. Gloria is introduced and sees Decatur. Pinks asks the police not to arrest Gloria with the jewels, and Professor B explains that Pinks captured the stolen jewels. They make Decatur give his suit to Pinks, and the colonel makes Mimi and others praise Gloria. Pinks appears in the tuxedo. Gloria learns that he stole her gown and the jewels, and she thanks him. Pinks dances with Gloria, who says she is happy. She tries to walk up stairs but collapses, and he carries her.

This drama is based on the contrast between the selfish meanness of Gloria and the sacrificing love of Pinks, which somehow balance each other out. People think Pinks is a fool, but Professor B explains at the end that what he has in his heart is never lost.

Copyright © 2004 by Sanderson Beck

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