Angels Over Broadway
|Angels Over Broadway|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ben Hecht
Lee Garmes (co-director)
|Produced by||Ben Hecht
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (assoc. producer)
|Written by||Ben Hecht|
|Starring||Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
|Music by||George Antheil|
|Edited by||Gene Havlick|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release dates||October 2, 1940|
|Running time||79 minutes|
Angels Over Broadway (aka Before I Die) is a 1940 American drama film starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Rita Hayworth and Thomas Mitchell. Ben Hecht, who co-directed, produced and wrote the screenplay, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Bill O'Brien is a New York con man in search of a suitable gullible person to make some money on. In a fancy nightclub he finds Charles Engle, a man ridden by guilt and on the brink of committing suicide after embezzling a large sum of money that he has spent on his high maintenance wife.
Charles has the appearance of a common hillbilly from out of town visiting the city and Bill decides to scam him for his money. Bill is unaware that the desperate Charles only has until 6 am to pay back the money he has embezzled before the crime is discovered.
One of the showgirls at the club, Nina Barona, is persuaded by Bill to help trick Charles into entering a poker game to win back the money. The game is arranged by a gangster named Dutch Enright.
Another disillusioned man at the club, playwright Gene Gibbons, learns about Charles' misfortune from the suicide note he discovers in his coat, and wants to write the man a story with a happier ending.
He tries to get a valuable broach from his ex-girlfriend, to give to Charles so that he can get the money, but his plan fails when the broach is a cheap copy. Instead he overhears Bill telling of his poker scam against Charles, and persuades Bill to change the plan so that Charles wins the first rounds and is allowed to escape from the game after that. A deal is made, that Bill gets whatever Charles wins over the $3,000 he needs to pay the money back.
However, Gene passes out while waiting for the game to start, and when he wakes up again he does not remember the deal he made with Bill, but goes home to his wife. Bill discovers that Gene is gone, and Dutch finds out about Charles' planned escape, and tries to stop him. Nina convinces Bill to do the right thing and help fend off Dutch's men when they try to get Charles and the money back.
Finding that behaving honorably has a positive effect on him, changes Bill and he falls in love with Nina, who returns his feelings. Thus they get a happy ending of their own.
- Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as Bill O'Brien
- Rita Hayworth as Nina Barona
- Thomas Mitchell as Gene Gibbons
- John Qualen as Charles Engle
- George Watts as Joseph Hopper
- Ralph Theodore as Dutch Enright
- Eddie Foster as Louie Artino
- Jack Roper as Eddie Burns
- Constance Worth as Sylvia Marbe
- Angels Over Broadway at the TCM Movie Database
- Angels Over Broadway at the Internet Movie Database
- Angels Over Broadway at AllMovie
- Angels Over Broadway at Rotten Tomatoes