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Wonder Bar

(1934 b 84')

En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on the Herczeg-Farkas-Katscher play, in a Paris nightclub a good-looking dance couple attracts various romantic attentions and intrigues.

In Paris the banker Renaud (Henry Kolker) calls his wife Liane Renaud (Kay Francis) about a missing necklace. Al Wonder (Al Jolson) in bed fantasizes kissing Ynez (Dolores del Rio). At the Wonder Bar Mrs. Simpson (Ruth Donnelly) and Mrs. Pratt (Louise Fazenda) try to keep their husbands Henry Simpson (Guy Kibbee) and Corey Pratt (Hugh Herbert) away from other women. Al sings "Vive la France." Dancer Harry is late, and Al asks Ynez where he is. Harry (Ricardo Cortez) tries to sell Al a necklace he got from Liane for a dancing lesson. Ynez and Harry dance while Tommy (Dick Powell) sings "Don't Say Goodnight" with extravagant Busby Berkeley dancers. Captain Hugo von Ferring (Robert Barrat) plans his suicide because of a market loss. Liane tells Harry that she needs the necklace back because of an investigation. He says he sold it, and he is going to America. Liane insists on going with him. Harry asks Al for money.

Al chats with a Russian count about Russia. Harry tells Ynez that he is leaving, and she wants to go with him. Tommy sings "Don't You Remember." Richard (Henry O'Neill) tells Al that Harry needs money to leave town. Tommy tells Ynez that he has a new tune for her and sings "Why Do I Dream Those Dreams?" Ynez tells Tommy that she's crazy in love with Harry. Al gives Harry 100,000 francs for the necklace. Liane blackmails Harry that she'll tell the police if he doesn't take her. Ynez cries to Al, and they learn that Harry left with Liane. Al tries to stop Liane by giving her the necklace to show her that Harry is dishonest. Von Ferring gives the rest of his money to chorus girls.

Harry does a Gaucho dance with a whip as Ynez asks if he is going that night. At the end of the dance Ynez stabs Harry in the chest. In the dressing-room Al sees Harry die after Ynez fainted. Al tells Pete to stop von Ferring. Al and Richard carry Harry out as though he were drunk to von Ferring's car. Al sees von Ferring get in his car. Liane shows her husband the necklace. Ynez wakes up, and Al tells her that Harry is okay and left with von Ferring. In black face Al sings "Missouri Mule" and goes to heaven with blatant racial stereotypes. Mrs. Pratt calls a man while Simpson and Pratt pay the bar bill for two women. Al learns that Ynez is going out with Tommy. Police call Al to tell him that von Ferring and Harry were killed in an automobile accident. Al whistles as he goes home.

This combination melodrama and nightclub act has some clever chatter by Al Wonder and two dance numbers that could hardly fit into a nightclub; but after all, this is a Hollywood fantasy about the racy life in Paris.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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