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Comet Over Broadway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Comet Over Broadway
Directed byBusby Berkeley
John Farrow (uncredited)
Screenplay byMark Hellinger
Robert Buckner
Based onComet Over Broadway
1937 story in Cosmopolitan
by Faith Baldwin
Produced byBryan Foy
Hal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner
StarringKay Francis
Ian Hunter
Donald Crisp
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Edited byJames Gibbon
Music byHeinz Roemheld
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December 3, 1938 (1938-12-03)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States

Comet over Broadway is a 1938 American drama film starring Kay Francis, Ian Hunter and Donald Crisp. It was produced and released by Warner Brothers. John Farrow stepped in as director when Busby Berkeley became ill, but Farrow was uncredited on the film.[1]

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Eve Appleton (Francis), wife of small-town garage owner Bill Appleton (Litel), has theatrical ambitions. Bill gets into an argument with a visiting actor over her, kills him accidentally, and is sent to prison. Eve, realizing her part in Bill's fate, vows to right matters, and taking her baby daughter, goes away to make her way in the theatre.

Later, Eve is forced to leave her baby girl with her friend Mrs. "Tim" Adams (Gombell). Bert Ballin (Hunter) befriends her and they fall in love, but she moves abroad and becomes a star. Back in America, as the "Toast of Broadway", she is brought back to a realization of her former vows by Joe Grant (Crisp), her hometown lawyer.



Warners originally announced the project in May 1937 as a vehicle for Kay Francis based on a story by Faith Baldwin.[2]

In February 1938, the role was assigned to Bette Davis, who had just been in Jezebel. She was pulled off All Right's Reserved (which became Four's a Crowd) so she could take six weeks of a holiday.[3] William Keighley as assigned to direct.[4] George Brent and Donald Crisp who had both been in Jezebel were assigned to the cast. Kay Francis went into My Bill (1938), directed by John Farrow.[5][6]

Ian Keith, Walter Abel (borrowed from RKO), and Ronald Reagan were set to costar, and the film was meant to start shooting in early April 1938.[7]

Davis was unhappy with the film. "This was the first nothing script I was given since my court battle in England", Davis later recalled, referring to the lawsuit in which she tried to win her freedom from Warner Bros. after being forced to appear in a series of mediocre films. "It was heartbreaking to me. After winning a second Academy Award...I was asked to appear again in junk."[8]

Conferences were held to see if the script could be altered to her satisfaction. On March 30, with the film to start on Monday, Davis refused to make the movie claiming it was not up to the standard set by Jezebel.[9]

Warners sent the script to Irene Dunne to see if she would do it.[10] Warners pulled Davis out of her new project We Are Not Alone.[11]

On April 1, Warners put Davis on suspension. She claimed she was ill but would have made the effort to appear in a film if it had been more than a "routine Cinderella yarn...Had it been The Life of Sarah Bernhardt or Maximillian and Carlotta, both of which have been scheduled for me, I would have attempted to go to the studio, but I did not feel justified in jeopardizing my health on behalf of such an atrocious script."[12] Keighley was assigned to another movie.[13]

The same week, Dick Powell was suspended by Warners for refusing a part in Garden of the Moon.[14]

Warners lodged a complaint against Davis with the Screen Actors Guild, which stated it needed time to investigate the matter.[15]

Davis opted to go on suspension and remained on suspension when the studio offered her Garden of the Moon, a Busby Berkeley musical. "I was on suspension for a good part of the year following Jezebel. So much wasted time at a time when I felt my career could from then on become a truly successful one...It took a lot of courage to go on suspension. One received no salary...I couldn't afford it, nor could I afford, career-wise, to make films such as Comet Over Broadway and Garden of the Moon!" [8]

By the end of April, Davis and Hal Wallis, head of production at Warners, agreed on a truce, and Davis' next film for Warners was The Sisters (1938).[16]

Miriam Hopkins was cast in the lead.[17] A week later she withdrew to do another film, and the lead role was given to Kay Francis, the original star. Busby Berkeley was assigned to direct.[18]

Filming started July 1938.[19]

The film's title was changed during production to Curtain Call, then was changed back to Comet Over Broadway.[20]


  1. ^ "Comet Over Broadway".
  2. ^ "WARNERS TO MAKE 60 FEATURE FILMS". New York Times. May 12, 1937. ProQuest 102323069.
  3. ^ "COLMAN TO STAR IN 'IF I WERE KING'". New York Times. February 2, 1938. ProQuest 102652280.
  4. ^ Schallert, E. (March 18, 1938). "Variety of stories lined up for muni". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 164824975.
  5. ^ Schallert, E. (March 23, 1938). "McLaglen will star in "hell's kitchen"". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 164827613.
  6. ^ Schallert, E. (March 29, 1938). "Nina koshetz engaged for "algiers" role". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 164791345.
  7. ^ Schallert, E. (March 30, 1938). "Directors may film controversial themes". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 164800544.
  8. ^ a b Stine, Whitney, and Davis, Bette, Mother Goddam: The Story of the Career of Bette Davis. New York: Hawthorn Books 1974. ISBN 0-8015-5184-6, pp.101-104
  9. ^ "NEWS OF THE SCREEN". New York Times. March 31, 1938. ProQuest 102591273.
  10. ^ Schallert, E. (April 1, 1938). "Hull considered for "northwest passage"". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 164837874.
  11. ^ "NEWS OF THE SCREEN". New York Times. April 1, 1938. ProQuest 102601513.
  12. ^ "NEWS OF THE SCREEN". New York Times. April 2, 1938. ProQuest 102673962.
  13. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. April 8, 1938. ProQuest 102652916.
  14. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. April 4, 1938. ProQuest 102655196.
  15. ^ "HIGHLIGHTS IN THE STUDIO NEWS". New York Times. April 10, 1938. ProQuest 102593564.
  16. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. April 30, 1938. ProQuest 102594729.
  17. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. July 5, 1938. ProQuest 102375946.
  18. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. July 12, 1938. ProQuest 102538062.
  19. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. July 14, 1938. ProQuest 102375648.
  20. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. September 22, 1938. ProQuest 102542408.

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This page was last edited on 17 August 2023, at 04:37
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