Manhattan Melodrama 1934

Manhattan Melodrama

Critics Consensus

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81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 865

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Movie Info

Jim Wade and Blackie Gallagher are two boys orphaned by the sinking of a ship. Upon the death of their guardian, also a survivor of the sinking, the boys go their separate ways. Jim (William Powell) grows up to have a prominent political career, while Blackie (Clark Gable) becomes a casino owner and killer. Despite Blackie's lifestyle, the two men remain bonded through thick and thin. But when Jim runs for governor, his association with Blackie threatens his chances.

Cast & Crew

Clark Gable
Edward J. `'Blackie'` Gallagher
Myrna Loy
Eleanor Packer
Leo Carrillo
Father Joe
Mickey Rooney
Blackie as a Boy
W. S. Van Dyke II
Director
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Critic Reviews for Manhattan Melodrama

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Manhattan Melodrama

  • Nov 04, 2019
    A modern day morality take as two brothers grow to be on opposite sides of the law. It's an easy guess to see where this one is going from the very beginning, but in this case its the journey that's important, skillfully handled by W. S. van Dyck (who's becoming one of my fav directors) who keeps things fluid and moving. Highlights include a young Mickey Rooney. In an interesting plot point, the bad guy gets a bit of the hero treatment, is justified, making this a more resonant work. Good stuff.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 01, 2013
    Manhattan Melodrama is famous for being the last movie that infamous bank robber John Dillinger saw before being gunned down outside the Biograph Theatre on July 22nd 1934. Obviously I was interested in seeing the film due to its history surrounding that legendary showing. This is a brilliant gangster film that is a defining classic of the genre. Brilliantly acted by Clark Gable, this is a must see for cinema buffs who enjoy classic films that helped defined the genre. Before there was The Godfather, there was this film. Clark Gable is impressive here and the story is quite good and highly engaging. This is also a must see for people that are fascinated with John Dillinger because I feel that in some way, this movie is part of his legacy. Nonetheless, the plot is engaging and like I said is a classic gangster picture that would pave the way for all to follow. I really enjoyed the film, and felt it was very different from other films in the genre. In that respect, it is a film that helped shape the crime genre. Manhattan Melodrama is filled with action, drama, a good cast and effective pacing to really make this stand out. I really enjoyed the film and thought it was an entertaining gangster film, definitely among the finest in the genre. There are of course better genre films, but Manhattan Melodrama is a worthwhile viewing experience that should definitely thrill the diehard cinema buff. W.s Van Dyke has crafted a memorable and historically significant picture that stands out even by today's standards.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Sep 04, 2011
    "Manhattan Melodrama," which won an Oscar for Best Screenplay, is yet another 1930s gem that I've found lately. First was "Dancing Lady," then "Hell's Angels," and now "Manhattan Melodrama." The 1930s were a golden age of American cinema, and I've barely scratched the surface of it. How exciting it must have been in that era to work in the movies. Clark Gable (who was also in "Dancing Lady") and William Powell play men who've had a life-long bond. They were orphaned together on the same day in a terrible boating accident. One is studious and upstanding (Powell); the other (Gable) is a drop-out who got into bootlegging and gambling. When the studious one becomes Manhattan District Attorney, his close friendship with a gangster becomes a problem. When their lives begin to intersect more, including sharing a woman (played wonderfully by Myrna Loy), the complications multiply. It's a fascinating, pretty serious drama that I can't imagine would disappoint anyone. It's also briskly paced, brilliantly edited, and perfectly directed (by W.S. Van Dyke). Highly recommended. Incidental note: Gangster John Dillinger saw this movie the night he died. He was shot by FBI agents as he exited the theater. I can certainly see why he would have been attracted to this movie. It's a complex portrait of a boy born on the wrong side of the tracks.
    William D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2010
    I'm not sure why this film is talked about so much, it isn't very different from other gangster movies of the time. There are some good actors in the movie, though, the best thing about this movie was the actors.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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