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Blessed Event

(1932 b 80')

En: 6 Ed: 7

This fast-paced comedy about a Winchell-like gossip columnist is based on the play by Manuel Seff and Forrest Wilson.

People are complaining about a column gossiping about "blessed events" expected by certain women being written by Alvin Roberts (Lee Tracy). Alvin's column while filling in for Moxley has increased circulation so much that the newspaper owner gives it to him permanently with the tabloid heading "Spilling the Dirt." Women are writing in, because Alvin is constantly making fun of crooner Bunny Harmon (Dick Powell), whom Alvin calls "megaphony." The offended gangster Sam Goebel (Edwin Maxwell) sends Chicago gangster Frankie (Allen Jenkins); but Alvin records him talking about a murder and then vividly describes the electric chair in order to get him working for him.

Alvin wants to marry Gladys (Mary Brian), but she won't accept because of his printing secrets for money. Bunny announces on the radio he is opening a new nightclub and that Alvin Roberts will not be admitted. After doing his radio broadcast, Alvin listens to Dorothy (Isabel Jewell) desperately pleading with him not to write about her expected child. He reassures her and then calls in the story of her "blessed event" without a wedding. Alvin gets a job offer from the Star, and his own paper's owner has to match the $1000 per week salary offer. Dorothy tells Alvin how she lost her job, was evicted from her apartment, and that her mother found out; she threatens to have the father's name printed. Alvin gives her $100 and promises $50 per week; but she refuses the money. Gladys asks Alvin to give up the column; when he won't, she walks out.

Sam tells Alvin he has a family on Long Island who think he is respectable; but Alvin controls him by saying he knows about Sam and Dorothy. Gladys invites Alvin's mother and Alvin to a movie to keep him from going to the nightclub opening. He promises to give up the column but goes to the nightclub. Frankie warns Gladys that Sam is going to have Alvin killed. Bunny says he is protecting his customers from Alvin, but Alvin sneaks in and climbs on a table to speak. Sam's man shoots at him; but at the hospital Alvin is okay. Now Alvin won't give up the column so that he can get Sam. Dorothy comes in, saying she has killed Sam; she is arrested. Alvin says he is going to use his column to defend Dorothy by spilling the dirt on Sam. This is enough to get Gladys to marry him.

The unscrupulous behavior of Alvin in using Dorothy's story, which he did not have until she told him, led her to commit murder. The audience tends to forgive this, because the victim happens to be a gangster, who tried to have Alvin killed. Nonetheless the ruthless ambition and reckless gossiping of the columnist is seen to be destructive by Gladys and others.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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