Roy Erskine is aiming for songwriting stardom. And if he has to use and abuse a lineup of Broadway babies to do it, so be it. This smoky-hearted tale of a heel on the rise shows the dark side of the plots at the center of most early musicals.
Few movie "heroes" are as despicable as Roy (Charles Kaley), the leading character in the MGM musical LORD BYRON OF BROADWAY. A seedy pianist in a seedier dive, Roy aspires for the big time, getting his chance when he transforms a bunch of old love letters written to his casual sweetheart into a hit song. Once he's made a name for himself, he dumps his "inspiration" in favor of Nancy (Marion Shilling), who becomes his vaudeville partner. As he climbs further up the show-biz ladder, Roy neglects Nancy in favor of singing star Ardis (Ethelind Terry) then throws her over when someone younger comes along. If there's any doubt by now that Roy is a thorough heel, that doubt will be erased by the scene in which he exploits the death of his best friend Joe (Cliff Edwards) by penning a maudlin "buddy" song. Only in the last few moments does Roy change his ways and become a "right guy," but even then, one has one's doubts.
Hit Men |
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